Trade Winds

Lowetide
February 19 2011 08:22AM

This is Sarah Jessica Parker. All of North America was swept up with NHL trades yesterday and there's a "tell" about possible Oiler trades. Once again, the deadline is all about the blue.
 

Injuries to defensemen are going to happen during the long run to the Stanley. The best recent example were the 2006 Buffalo Sabres. The club started the playoffs with the following players on D:

  • Teppo Numminen (later lost to hip flexor)
  • Henrik Tallinder (later lost to broken left arm)
  • Dmitri Kalinin (later lost to broken ankle)
  • Toni Lydman
  • Brian Campbell
  • Jay McKee (later lost to infected shin)


You know, that's a nice group of defensemen. No Pronger in the 6, but veterans with the ability to make plays in big games and a couple of puck movers too. Here's what they looked like in G7 of the conference final later that spring:

  • Brian Campbell
  • Toni Lydman 
  • Rory Fitzpatrick 
  • Doug Janik
  • Jeff Jillson 
  • Nathan Paetsch
     

Buffalo has horrible luck as an organization, but that's a devastating change in what was about 7 weeks of playoff hockey. For that reason, NHL teams stock up on defensemen at the blueline. Who can blame them?

Yesterday, the NHL exploded with deadline deals. I can't imagine the actual deadline being as busy, and the talent that was exchanged is breathtaking. Here's a quick rundown:

  1. Colorado acquired goalie Brian Elliott from Ottawa for G Craig Anderson. Avs clearly had no interest in keeping Anderson around and get an inexpensive option with some NHL experience. Sens will see what Anderson can do over the rest of the season and may re-sign him. Looks like a blah trade, but you never know.
  2. San Jose acquired D Ian White from Carolina for a 2012 2nd rd pick. A couple of things about this trade: I don't think SJS gave up much when you consider that pick will likely be in the 50's. Also, the fact that the Hurricanes wanted a pick in 2012 is a tell in terms of the quality and depth of this year's draft. Good deal for the Sharks.
  3. Tampa Bay acquires D Eric Brewer from St. Louis for D Brock Beukeboom and a 3rd rd pick in 2011. Brewer hadn't been in the black plus minus since 2000-01; he's healthy and can help a defense. Beukeboom is a hitter and he can skate, and that combination added to size (he's 6.02, 200) make him an attractive prospect. I suspect he's from the Matt Greene tree, although I haven't seen him play. The pick is another bullet. I think Yzerman did very well, but the Blues did too. Helps both teams.
  4. Atlanta acquired F Blake Wheeler and  D Mark Stuart from Boston for F Rich Peverley and D Boris Valabik. This was a salary dump for the Bruins, but the did well in getting a skill player like Peverley. Wheeler gives the Thrashers more size and Stuart is an NHL defenseman--a very valuable item at this time of year. Thrashers win the trade, and could win it by a nice margin if they can sign Stuart to a reasonable deal before July 1.
  5. Boston acquired D Tomas Kaberle from Toronto for C Joe Colborne, Boston's 1st rd pick in 2011 and a conditonal 2nd rd pick in 2012. I think Boston got a fine player and gave up less than what one might believe at first blush. Colborne has stalled in the AHL (but he's a rookie pro, so there's time) and that first round pick is likely to be 25-30. Burke did okay, but I do believe he could have gotten more one year ago.
  6. St. Louis acquired F Chris Stewart, D Kevin Shattenkirk and a conditional 2011 or 2012 2nd rd pick from Colorado for D Erik Johnson, F Jay McClement and a condtional 1st rd pick in 2011 or 2012. This is the kind of trade that will probably cost someone their job. When you deal a first overall pick (Johnson) you better be right. Doug Armstrong is rather new to the job and this could cost him the rest of the honeymoon. Shattenkirk looks like a really good young puck mover and Stewart is a big man with skill, but that first overall pick still has time to turn into Rod Langway. If injuries don't end a career here, I think Colorado wins the trade because Johnson could be an absolute killer for a decade rolling forward.

What does this mean? I suspect the Oilers have calls coming in about Penner, Hemsky, Cogliano and other forwards, but even the Oilers will have some teams knocking and asking about defense. Vandermeer, Smid, Gilbert?

You never know. Silly season is even sillier this year.

--

It's the second edition of Nation Radio today at noon on Team 1260. I'd love your emails (nationradio@theteam1260.com) and hope you can tune in.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#51 Brodie
February 19 2011, 11:31AM
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There may be another reason Tambellini hasn't made a trade. It takes two parties to make a trade. Maybe the other 29 GM's are not interested in anything we have other than our young players. When you are the last place team in any league your veteran players are most culpable. The other GM's may not value these veterans as highly as the Oilers management does.

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#52 Ben Dover
February 19 2011, 11:46AM
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With numerous teams already making waves before the trade deadline, Steve Tambellini is once again M.I.A. I simply don’t understand the misguided optimism some people have in Tambellini as a G.M. What is their wishful thinking based on? Does the word “rebuild” really excuse how the Oilers got to this point in the first place? The reality is, wishful thinking won’t make a bum’s nut sack smell like a rose, nor will it slow the downward momentum the Oilers franchise has gathered while Tambellini watches and waits...and waits...

Prior to the lockout, subpar results were typically attributed to an uneven playing field that was, for the most part, rectified by the current CBA and subsequent parity in the CDN and U.S. dollar. With a billionaire owner, who’s also a long-time fan, and 226 straight sellouts at RX1, money is no longer an issue.

Today, the root cause of the Oilers performance problems can be traced back to the arrival of Tambellini and, to a lesser extent, the previous actions of his immediate boss, Kevin Lowe. Not the ever-changing carousel of players and coaches, the scouts or the owner; but an oblivious G.M. who continues to assess an obviously imbalanced and inferior line-up, yet somehow expects different results (at least publicly). Some might define that as insanity. I think it’s just plain ignorance and ‘analysis paralysis’ on the part of Tambellini.

It can be argued that Lowe started the downfall, handcuffing Tambellini with boat anchor contracts and a bloated cap when he came on board; but Steve certainly finished the job by doing as little as possible, while watching almost 2 full seasons swirl around the bowl before the rebuild HAD to be announced.

Last season, Oilers fans were treated to some of the most pathetic, uninspired hockey ever witnessed in this town. A year later, despite flashes of the future from several rookies, we’ve actually gone from bad to worse on the NHL leader board. Those on-ice results affect not only the morale of an already sadsack team, but the mood and outside perception of an entire metropolitan region. City of Champions? Not quite.

Throughout all this, some delusional fans would have us believe we’re bearing witness to the early stages of a carefully crafted rebuild, and that Tambellini (the puppet) and Lowe (his master) are the ideal tandem to engineer, execute and fine tune “the plan” for optimal results down the road. Remain calm, be patient, it’s still early in “the process” they insist. Like this was somehow the intent all along. I strongly disagree.

I believe it was a simple PR spin strategy. To keep their jobs, and with no other options, the concept of a rebuild is what Tambellini and Lowe force-fed the masses to deflect attention away from their ineptness. While a good part of what’s happened also falls on the players and coaches, they’ve been a team constructed to lose, intentionally or not. In fact, this team has been a TOTAL loser two years running with only Taylor Hall and another upcoming lottery pick to show for it. While there’s value in that, they could easily be a loser again next year unless Tambellini learns to make honey out of dog sh*t real soon.

Well, as former U.S. president and unwitting quote machine George W. Bush famously observed several years back “… fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again."

Just because they formally admitted they’re rebuilding doesn’t mean they know what they’re doing. Even a casual fan can observe the glaring roster holes that go unaddressed year after year. Prolonged assessment and replacing spare parts from other teams' scrap heaps is not a viable, long-term solution. Nor is sitting on your hands and repeatedly picking first at the draft podium an actual strategy. Any idiot can do that. Even the promise of the ELC rookies and other young RFA players can’t be wholly attributed to Tambellini or Lowe, but rather a scouting staff that has vastly improved since the arrival of the Magnificent Bastard.

To return this franchise back to contention mode, I’m sure the Oilers brain trust probably has some idea of WHAT” (“the plan”) they intend to do. Unfortunately, like many failed ventures, HOW (“the process”) they will do it seems to be the stumbling block and source of fan angst. It doesn’t matter how early we are into the rebuild, intentions and actual results are very easy to evaluate in the NHL. You either win or you don’t. So far, the statistics are less than promising. At some point there has to be progress or you’re back to firing coaches and/or swapping proven players for picks and prospects at the annual trade deadline and draft.

Thanks to Lowe, we now know the internal timeline for “the plan”, but I don’t think he, Tambellini or anyone else in the Oilers front office really understands what “the process” entails or what the interim milestones are supposed to be. If it’s systematically losing - often in horrific, heartless fashion - and further demoralizing the team and a city in the process, then maybe they have a handle on things. But I doubt it. I also doubt other Katz Group managers get the same leeway Tambellini's received since arriving on the job. "Plan, um, what plan? I, uh, thought first pick was the plan. Was I supposed to put that on paper, Daryl?" Ugh.

The worst thing that could happen over the next 2-3 years is that (gasp!) “the plan” doesn’t work. What then? How many years will fans continue tuning in to second string TV commentators, buying the hats and jerseys, or bucking up top ticket dollars to watch a bottom feeder that has already missed the playoffs for the 5th year in a row and, outside of the ’06 Cup run, hasn’t actually won anything in 21 years? In my opinion, the players, coaches, team bureaucrats, sponsors and, above all, the loyal / paying fanbase deserve better. A once proud and venerable team like the Oilers should be held to a higher standard than expected failure.

Tambellini already set the low-water mark for incompetence last season, and (surprise!) he’s on pace to do it again. I doubt Katz plans to step in and tell Lowe to fire his G.M. before the trade deadline, or anytime in 2011; so like it or not we’re inevitably stuck waiting to see if Tambellini can pick up the phone and work some monotone magic over the coming months. The next 10 days will be the litmus test to see if he actually has some skill as a G.M., or if he’s as incompetent as I believe he might be, and the NHL standings say he is.

IF he finally takes off his thinking cap, stops scratching his junk and makes some moves before the trade deadline that either improve the team now or in the very near future - without overpaying or trading away key pieces and fan favourites for magic beans - then I’m more than prepared to cut him some slack.

IF he amazes everyone this summer by signing or trading for cost-effective role players with character and one or more sorely needed skill sets (e.g. PK specialists, 50%+ FO men, a regular-shift enforcer, D-men that can actually hit the net on the PP and/or block shots and clear the front of the net, at least 1 forward willing to stand anywhere near the blue paint, etc.) to properly balance the skill and youth already here and win at least as many games as they lose next season, then maybe he really is the man for the job.

Until then, the G.M. and his boss are, once again, the primary reason the Oilers are where they are...LAST PLACE in a 30-team league. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. Or doesn’t. I mean, there are some pretty big IF’s and they’ve still got another 6 years to figure things out, right? ~Right.~

For those who study the evidence and still believe Tambellini and Lowe can be trusted to fix their own mess in a timely manner, I suggest you wish in one hand and sh*t in the other. See which one fills up first.

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#53 @NateInVegas
February 19 2011, 12:00PM
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@Ben Dover

Thanks for wasting my bandwidth with that short story.

You should give twitter a go... Any other thoughts?

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#54 BarryS
February 19 2011, 12:06PM
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So what's the back story on all these traded players? Players don't get traded just to make trades. Sure some are salary dumps, but first rounders traded within three or four years says problem child.

Envy runs thick on this site of late.

If nobody picks up Souray means he has no value at all.

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#55 Ben Dover
February 19 2011, 12:09PM
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@@NateInVegas

LOL. Nope, all done. Didn't realize how much scrolling was involved until I posted it. Lucky for you I only comment once every 6 months.

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#56 Chris.
February 19 2011, 12:18PM
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@Ben Dover

Sounds like its almost time for you to add the Fire Steve Tambellini Now F#€kers moniker to your handle. I'm through assessing this management team.

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#57 NastyNate
February 19 2011, 01:06PM
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Interested to see what Bogo looks like this afternoon, i have a feeling many people on here are overvaluing him.

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#58 stevezie
February 19 2011, 01:13PM
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Am I the only one here who has heard of Chris Stewart? I've read that he is nowhere near Dustin Penner, is comparable to Gilbert Brule, and will never score fifty points. HE HAS ALREADY SCORED 64! As a 22 year old sophmore! He was the Ave's best player by a mile before he got hurt, and he's been decent since coming back. He's a former 1st round pick with size and skill and truculence. I'm not saying it makes the deal fair, but I get the impression some of you don't know who he is. He is not a throw in, he is the key to the deal.

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#59 godot10
February 19 2011, 01:34PM
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Vandermeer and/or Foster are draft pick deals that will only happen on deadline day.

Hemsky and Penner are too valuable for Tambellini to rush to pull the trigger. He has to wait till the pressure is really on LA or Atlanta or Pittsburgh. Remember, the Oilers don't have to trade Hemsky or Penner. If the Oilers trade one or both, they have to be good deals. The best thing in the deal cannot be a draft pick. It has to be a top prospect ready to play next year or a young player already in the NHL. If it is a forward, it has to be a top six forward, not Simmonds, or a sure top 4 D, like Bogosian, not Golgoski (sp?).

Patience in the case of Hemsky and Penner is a virtue, NOT a vice.

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#60 Boomer97
February 19 2011, 02:04PM
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That Boston/Atlanta trade kinda made me mad. That looks like two players that could help the Oilers. Why couldn't Tambo have been proactive and tried to pick up Boston's salary dumb. Do people think that Wheeler and Stuart would be good additions for the Oilers who are need some help in the centre position in the bottom 6. Well in the top 6 as well. And they need a couple more actual defencemen.

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#61 Boomer97
February 19 2011, 02:09PM
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Another question. How could trading Penner and Hemsky help the Oilers. We have a lot of young players. When a team starts to rebuild. Shouldn't they have some veterans on the the team to help out the youth. You can't really call Cogs and Gags verterans. I know that Penner and Hemsky could be FAs after next season but why not try to extend their contracts right now. If they are traded for prospects or picks then we will be spending another couple of years on the bottom looking up.

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#62 trueblue
February 19 2011, 04:56PM
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Not in agreement Colorado walked away with this one. Chris Stewart is a game changer and this season is almost a point per game player. Johnson was a 3/4 Dman on a crappy team, while Chris is a top 3 forward. Chris Stewart is a younger and way better version of Penner. Also the rise of Alex P. makes this possible for St Louis to pull off.

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#63 michael
February 19 2011, 06:40PM
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Penner is playing like a man already out the door. Or a man who wants out the door. Hemsky has done what I thought he would. Respond with some his best hockey of the season. Hemsky is feeling it. When he see's Hall pot three, like he did today, Hemsky has to think that the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and brighter. His point totals have been decent and will only get better as the kids adapt to the NHL game. The addition of RNH or Courtier will make this team look even more appealing to Hemsky as he goes into the final year of his contract. Penner. Do it Tambo. Pull the trigger. A late first and a couple of 3rd rounders will give Stu more bullets to put into the coffins of the other 29 NHL teams.

Go Oilers Go!

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#64 Reach Advantage
February 19 2011, 07:55PM
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If you trade Smid this year you are selling low

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#65 Dave
February 19 2011, 08:25PM
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stevezie wrote:

Am I the only one here who has heard of Chris Stewart? I've read that he is nowhere near Dustin Penner, is comparable to Gilbert Brule, and will never score fifty points. HE HAS ALREADY SCORED 64! As a 22 year old sophmore! He was the Ave's best player by a mile before he got hurt, and he's been decent since coming back. He's a former 1st round pick with size and skill and truculence. I'm not saying it makes the deal fair, but I get the impression some of you don't know who he is. He is not a throw in, he is the key to the deal.

Couldn't agree more regarding Stewart. In fact I hink he has been one of the most underrated players in the league the last two years. When he fought Konopka I became an huge fan. I can not believe he was available and would have been perfect for the Oil.

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#66 Peterborough
February 20 2011, 02:23PM
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Boomer97 wrote:

That Boston/Atlanta trade kinda made me mad. That looks like two players that could help the Oilers. Why couldn't Tambo have been proactive and tried to pick up Boston's salary dumb. Do people think that Wheeler and Stuart would be good additions for the Oilers who are need some help in the centre position in the bottom 6. Well in the top 6 as well. And they need a couple more actual defencemen.

stop with that talk we didn't have what Boston needed in that trade and that offence. Who would we give them??? Their is no comparable low cost veteran scoring presence on this team. To make a trade you need to have the peices teams want and we didn't.

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