January 12 2012 08:15PM
Seeing as Steve Tambellini and Dean Lombardi have decided to let bygones be bygones, might moving on include sitting down and talking about a trade involving Ales Hemsky?
I don't know if Tambellini and Lombardi have planned to talk when the Los Angeles Kings come calling on the Edmonton Oilers Sunday, but I have a hunch they will and I most certainly think they should.
Having buried the proverbial hatchet on the mess that was the Ryan Smyth for Colin Fraser trade of last summer, I'm thinking there might be mutual benefit in Tambellini and Lombardi chatting about if Hemsky might fit into the needs of the Kings.
Further, what No. 83 might yield between now and Feb. 27 in terms of the defenseman the Oilers desperately need to bolster a blue line punched full of holes by injuries to Ryan Whitney, Tom Gilbert and Cam Barker.
I'm thinking Hemsky might be a fit alongside Anze Kopitar or Mike Richards -- I'm told by someone I trust Lombardi expressed interest in Hemsky last season -- and that somebody like Slava Voynov would certainly represent more than filler for an Edmonton defensive corps that us undermanned and overmatched right now.
Seeing as Tambellini and Lombardi are on speaking terms again . . .
WORTH A DISCUSSION
I listened with interest to Lombardi's interview with Mark Spector on the TEAM 1260 today, and it sounded like there is all kinds of potential for Lombardi and Tambellini to see if there's some business to be done.
"I think we were able to work that out. That's something that I have to apologize for," Lombardi said of the fuss that followed after Fraser arrived in Tinseltown as damaged goods.
"I was certainly frustrated, you know, having to lose a player like Ryan Smyth and then getting in a bind with trying to replace him and then, you know, there was a little grey area as far as what we go back.
"The bottom line, I should have never said what I said publicly. It was the wrong thing to do. I apologized to Edmonton as well as the NHL that that wasn't the way to handle it.
"Once we sat down we were able to come to some resolution, but the bottom line, I was wrong in the way that I handled that and we move on."
Could Hemsky be the missing piece to bump the under-achieving Kings up Western Conference standings where many people expected them to be? Would Lombardi, having already sent Tambellini Colten Teubert and a draft pick that turned into Oscar Klefbom in the Dustin Penner trade, be willing to part with the 21-year-old Voynov as part of a package?
THE RIGHT PLAYER
"You've still to put the horse before the cart here," Lombardi said of any potential trades. "It's got to be the right player.
"If it's the right player, there's enough ways to get creative to get that player in here, you know? Either create the space or, I do have players coming off the books next years, so I've got some flexibility there.
"Even though we're up against the cap a little this year, this is the other thing about this team – it's not locked in. We do have people coming off and we do have some pretty favorable contracts.
"So, I don't think I'm going to the marketplace and saying, 'I want a guy whose contract's up or so many other things . . . I think we've got to focus on the right player."
"I think it's critical that I get the right fit. I've got to be careful with our assets. I've already traded some draft picks here to try and help this team now.
"But, it's not like I'm under the gun where I have an old team that I have to take a run at it now. Not that I don't want to, don't get me wrong. I do think we have to be more selective and try to do a better job at finding the right fit.
"You look at our team defensively, we're one of the better teams in the league again. I think we're strong down the middle. But part of getting those wingers to go in there, they better fit or, you know, you're just spinning your wheels. So, I'm certainly going to try, but I am going to be very concerned about fit as well as price."
WHILE I'M AT . . .
I can't say for sure what Tambellini's approach will be between now and the trade deadline regarding his blue line. Might he make a minor move for a body to provide relief for what's left of his defense right away and then look for a bigger move, like Voynov, later?
No matter which approach, maybe both, Tambellini takes, I'm thinking he should also be getting on the phone to Phoenix GM Don Maloney, if he hasn't done so already.
The Coyotes have organization depth on the back and. If I'm Tambellini, I'm asking about 24-year-old Edmonton native David Schlemko for the longer term or maybe Rostislav Klesla as a quick fix.
-- Trade rumor-monger TreenasOil, made almost-famous by David Staples over at The Cult of Hockey, was throwing a lot of stuff up against the wall last week, including the suggestion there was a lot of interest in Hemsky by Nashville. She (he?) went as far as to say the Predators had asked to take a look at Hemsky's medical records.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Music City GM David Poile has some interest, but I don’t know it to be any greater than that of Lombardi or other potential suitors like San Jose and Pittsburgh, in a dogfight to make the playoffs.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.