June 09 2011 10:10PM
Rumors tonight have Craig MacTavish in the final group under consideration for the Ottawa Senators coaching job. Should MacT win the day, could that impact the 2011 draft board and inspire a trade or two between Ottawa and Edmonton?
Craig MacTavish has been loyal to most of his players since leaving the Oiler organization, to the point of a painful television moment this past winter where he defended Shawn Horcoff as a capable option in many circumstances. I've long felt that Craig MacTavish was an excellent coach who stayed too long at the fair in Edmonton and lost the veterans on the club. Much of that likely came from his very public rips of Dustin Penner, which continue unabated by others on the left coast.
MacT left some fine players in Edmonton, men he'd come to count on. Many of his foot soldiers have been sent down the line (Moreau, Staios, etc), but there are a few still living in Edmonton.
Among the 2006 Oilers, center Shawn Horcoff (always a MacT favorite) and winger Ales Hemsky remain. Both would be helpful additions to the Ottawa Senators, but that team is also in building mode so would be unlikely to add either player.
From fall 2000 through the day MacT stepped down as coach, a lot of kids graduated to the show under his watch. Some, like Daniel Cleary and Raffi Torres, came from other organizations. Others were Oilers draft picks and through his years on the job MacTavish displayed an admirable quality: pedigree didn't count for much.
MacT's list of rookies is a long one and they displayed a wide variety of skills. He played Sam Gagner the most among rookie forwards, Steve MacIntyre the least. The 07-08 group was probably the best (Gagner, Cogliano, Brodziak, Gilbert, etc) and 05-06 didn't have much to offer as the veteran team tracked destiny.
Here are 5 current Oilers I can see coach MacT asking his GM to acquire:
- Tom Gilbert: Still an effective defenseman but may have outstayed his welcome in Edmonton. The Senators could use an effective finesse defender and Gilbert could be available.
- Andrew Cogliano: The double whammy here, as GM Murray tried to grab Cogs in the Dany Heatley deal. Cogliano no doubt pleased coach Renney so it might be a no-go from Edmonton, but one imagines he'll ask.
- Ladislav Smid: As with Cogliano, Murray attempted to acquire Smid in the Heatley trade a couple of whiskey sour's ago. Ottawa is building a tight blue line, perhaps Smid would be an effective role player.
- Zack Stortini: Stortini played his best NHL hockey under MacT and could be a solid 13-14F for the veteran coach. Added value: with Stortini on the roster, there's one guy who'll always have your back.
- JF Jacques: Laugh at your peril. MacT gave him a job and then give him chance after chance to establish himself in the National Hockey League.
What's coming back?
Ottawa has a few things that Edmonton would find attractive. Along with draft picks (Sens want to trade up btw), Edmonton might like the looks of men like Chris Neil, prospect Jared Cowen, Bobby Butler and Colin Greening.
I don't think much will come of this, maybe a Stortini trade for a depth pick. Still, should MacT get the job it makes sense that the Senators might come knocking and ask after some of his former players.