PLEASANT VALLEY SUNDAY

Lowetide
March 24 2013 12:05PM

Long, tall forward Antoine Laganiere is one of the top college free agents available during the spring signing season. In recent years, Edmonton has stepped up their signing of college free agents, with Justin Schultz, Taylor Fedun and Tanner House current Oilers/prospects in the house via this route. Will Edmonton sign Laganiere or another graduating college player?

As I mentioned in the first installment of this series, there are reasons to believe Edmonton is placing a stronger emphasis on college free agency:

  • Edmonton's success in signing Justin Schultz suggests young college free agents have noticed the outstanding talent base in the NHL's northern city. It's a good group with a strong future.
  • The Oilers are putting more emphasis on this area, as shown by signings of Taylor Fedun, Tanner House, Bryan Lerg and others (plus Schultz, of course) in recent seasons.
  • Craig MacTavish is one of the men checking on the NCAA free agents. MacT to Terry Jones:“My day-to-day stuff has been to keep a handle on the top 60 draft eligible players, tracking the kids we’ve drafted and seeing what their development is and where they fit in, as well as keeping an eye on free agents in the CHL and NCAA."
  • One of Scott Howson's assignments this spring is college free agency.

SIGNED, SEALED AND DELIVERED

There are a few free agents who have already signed with NHL teams. They include giant defenseman Andrej Sustr (Tampa Bay), C Kyle Flanagan (Philadelphia), 6.06, 220 C Kellan Lain (Vancouver), G Jared Coreau (Detroit) and G Andrew Hammond (Ottawa).

WHAT'S LEFT?

The cream of the crop. Here are 10:

  1. D Danny DeKeyser, Western Michigan: He's been on the radar for over a year now and is still eligible to return for one more college season. DeKeyser has been linked to Detroit Red Wings for some time, and he is a 'plug and play' option (meaning he is likely able to step right into the NHL).
  2. R Antoine Laganiere, Yale: 6.04, 215 and he can score goals. Laganiere has attended pro camps with Vancouver and Edmonton, one would think both clubs are extremely interested in his services. Yale made it to the tournament so there will be a delay in signing this player.
  3. R Eriah Hayes, Minnesota State: Power forward had a strong season (19 goals) on the strength of a terrific wrist shot and a willingness to drive to the net. Oilers are no doubt interested. 6.04, 210.
  4. L Ryan Walters, Nebraska-Omaha: Impressive season (22-30-52) from junior forward has NHL teams very interested in him. Very good skater.
  5. D Nate Schmidt, Minnesota: Puck moving defender with decent size (6.00, 199), he has another year of eligibility but there will be plenty of interest if he decides to turn pro. 
  6. C Drew Leblanc, St. Cloud State. Leads NCAA with 37 assists this season, playmaking center has a nice range of skills and as an older player (24 this summer) may be able to step right in and play for some teams.
  7. G Eric Hartzell, Quinnipiac: Hobey top 10 finalist and a .935SP have scouts taking notice. 6.04 G was also named the ECAC Hockey Player of the Year and Goalie of the Year on the eve of the ECAC Hockey Championship weekend.
  8. D Mike Boivin, Colorado College: Another puck mover, he's tough and has decent size for the NHL game. Unlike some of the men on this list, Boivin should be able to sign this week.
  9. F Rylan Schwartz: Brother of St. Louis forward Jaden Schwartz, an offensive player of some ability, he is considered more of a playmaker than scorer.
  10. F Alex Krushelnyski, Colorado College: He isn't big (5.11, 173) and he doesn't fight but he's an even strength dynamo, is part of the penalty kill and at age 22 is probably ready to step right into AHL level pro hockey. He's a winger, goes to Colorado College and majors in Economics. Mike's boy.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Someday soon we'll drag our briquets out and have a barbeque all our own; we'll talk about the Oilers and the 2013-14 season, and argue over how much they've improved. My guess is we'll have at least one college free agent signing to discuss.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
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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#1 Bak04
March 24 2013, 12:28PM
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But before the BBQ's are out, we will have to discuss the record 4th fist overall pick. Clearly after one home loss, the Oilers are boo worthy and last (even if they are not for both).

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#2 Gret99zky
March 24 2013, 12:37PM
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No way they pick first this year. right? right?

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#4 Jay
March 24 2013, 12:46PM
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Ya, they're 5 pts up on last place Florida. Lets all marvel at the progress.

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#5 steelymac
March 24 2013, 12:47PM
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Until the dead weight is removed there is no room for these players.

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#6 DSF
March 24 2013, 12:51PM
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@Lowetide

I would think they'll be picking in the 4-6 range.

The TB Lightning should get a bit of a dead cat bounce after firing their coach and they're only two points behind the Oilers.

You'd also have to think that the Flyers can't stay as bad as they've been while both the Islanders and Caps have been playing better lately.

So, something like this seems likely:

1) Florida

2) Calgary

3) Colorado

4) Edmonton

5) Tampa Bay

6) Columbus

7) Buffalo

8) Phoenix

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#7 DSF
March 24 2013, 12:55PM
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The most interesting thing about this draft is how it could be dominated by a couple of teams.

Columbus already has 3 first round picks and word this morning seems to indicate the Flames have decided to start selling.

If they can move Ignila, Jaybo, Kiprusoff and other spare parts, they might also end up with 3 first round picks.

Could be a case where there is a lot of trading done on draft day.

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#8 Greg The Hammer Valentine
March 24 2013, 12:58PM
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@DSF

Great, we get Sasha Barkov! We have all learned to appreciate the entry draft more than the playoffs...

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#10 wiseguy
March 24 2013, 01:00PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Oilers won't pick 1st this year. If the season ended today, the club would choose 8th. They are in fact better than more teams this year than they have been since 2008-09.

Except that every non playoff team has a chance at number 1. We didn't think we were getting it last year either and look what happened. We'll get it just to spite Bettman and his anti oiler rule to stop us from getting 4 in a row.

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#12 DSF
March 24 2013, 01:20PM
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As the April 3 NHL trade deadline approaches, speculation continues to swirl around Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla.

Sources have told TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger that Iginla submitted a list of four teams he would approve a trade to; the Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings.

The Flames have taken the position of not commenting on the speculation.

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#13 dougtheslug
March 24 2013, 01:22PM
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wiseguy wrote:

Except that every non playoff team has a chance at number 1. We didn't think we were getting it last year either and look what happened. We'll get it just to spite Bettman and his anti oiler rule to stop us from getting 4 in a row.

Yeah I remember the days when the NHL changed the four on four rule because for the Oilers of the day it was as advantageous as a power play. The days when the Oilers had almost as many short handed goals as New Jersey had powerplay goals. And now they change the rules so Oilers can't draft first overall every year. Doesn't this embarrass people like Lowe and Tambo? Apparently not.

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#15 Quicksilver ballet
March 24 2013, 01:24PM
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@DSF

With the exodus of a few bodies next week. we can't fudge that 4-6 a little?

*From the committee "Top 3 pick or Bust"

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#16 Bank Shot
March 24 2013, 01:31PM
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I kind of hope the Oilers don't get DeKeyser. If they do it'll be Dekeyser, and Klefbom patrolling the blue next season and a lot of losses.

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#17 Citizen David
March 24 2013, 01:34PM
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Laganiere and Hayes both sound like people we should target. Awesome if we could get DeKeyser. If by chance we got DeKeyser with the expectation of Klefbom coming would that be the end of Smid?

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#18 DigDeepNBleedBlue
March 24 2013, 01:39PM
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Mr. Katz makes a phone call to the top College UFA. This owner sure goes out of his way to try and make OUR team better. Good on you, sir. If I was wearing a hat I would tip it.

It would be pretty cool to sign DeKeyser. Big, sought after defenceman. Can't hurt the cupboards. Laganiere wouldn't hurt either. I hope we can convince one of these prospects to join the fold.

If they can land DeKeyser it would continue the trend of good prospects wanting to come here and hopefully that rubs off on some key vets (UFAs) in the off-season.

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#19 Dog Train
March 24 2013, 01:41PM
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The college route is a good way to acquire talent on the cheap. I especially like college dmen because they tend to be solid skaters and puck movers.

Regardless of if they can sign any of these men, I believe that they should begin in the AHL. No more putting the cart before the horse. These guys need to learn the ropes and management needs to acquire real proven NHL talent.

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#20 r
March 24 2013, 01:41PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Bob McKenzie ‏@TSNBobMcKenzie 54s

NHL teams will be full-court press trying to sign Western Michigan's DeKeyser. EDM owner Daryl Katz has already phoned the UFA defenceman.

With all the Oilers owners charisma it should be a slam dunk that he signs with Edmonton. In all seriousness the college free agent route could be an excellent option for defense men, they are both physically and mentally more mature than 18 year old draft picks.

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#21 Jerod
March 24 2013, 01:59PM
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If I was Danny DeKeyser the last place I would want to go is Detroit, great organization but the highest crime rate in the USA.

If I'm making millions why would I live in a dangerous city.

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#22 GVBlackhawk
March 24 2013, 02:03PM
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DigDeepNBleedBlue wrote:

Mr. Katz makes a phone call to the top College UFA. This owner sure goes out of his way to try and make OUR team better. Good on you, sir. If I was wearing a hat I would tip it.

It would be pretty cool to sign DeKeyser. Big, sought after defenceman. Can't hurt the cupboards. Laganiere wouldn't hurt either. I hope we can convince one of these prospects to join the fold.

If they can land DeKeyser it would continue the trend of good prospects wanting to come here and hopefully that rubs off on some key vets (UFAs) in the off-season.

Katz has stood by idly while HIS management group has made the team a laughing stock.

Katz is the worst owner in the league (by record and no playoff appearances).

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#23 Fred
March 24 2013, 02:07PM
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What could Katz say except look at the potential and youth of his team which has been said for years. This team has been the same for a decade. I wouldn't be buying it . Stay away from the Oiler they will ruin you. Until Lowe is gone this team will be deja vu all over again.

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#24 DSF
March 24 2013, 02:09PM
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Bank Shot wrote:

I kind of hope the Oilers don't get DeKeyser. If they do it'll be Dekeyser, and Klefbom patrolling the blue next season and a lot of losses.

mc79hockey ‏@mc79hockey 51m

I wonder if Oilers' pitch to DeKeyser was "Want to be a top 4 NHL defenceman on Monday night?"

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#25 DigDeepNBleedBlue
March 24 2013, 02:19PM
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GVBlackhawk wrote:

Katz has stood by idly while HIS management group has made the team a laughing stock.

Katz is the worst owner in the league (by record and no playoff appearances).

Sounds like he's standing idle...

I'm not laughing...

Worst owner? By record and playoff appearances? I guess we shouldn't have tried a rebuild scenario.

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#26 DigDeepNBleedBlue
March 24 2013, 02:24PM
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Fred wrote:

What could Katz say except look at the potential and youth of his team which has been said for years. This team has been the same for a decade. I wouldn't be buying it . Stay away from the Oiler they will ruin you. Until Lowe is gone this team will be deja vu all over again.

Maybe Katz can say something along the lines of "how much money do you want?"

Just a thought...

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#27 Oiler Al
March 24 2013, 02:26PM
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GVBlackhawk wrote:

Katz has stood by idly while HIS management group has made the team a laughing stock.

Katz is the worst owner in the league (by record and no playoff appearances).

The next phone call Katz should make is to Lowe, telling him to get Old Dithers out the door.

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#28 Hammers
March 24 2013, 02:32PM
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They need to concentrate on who there getting rid of . Should start with Tambellini . As for players there are about 10 . Plante Tuebert Hordichuck Eager Belanger Potter Whitney Jones Smith And (sorry )Smyth . In that batch you will be lucky to get 3 thirds and 2 fourth's . As for Hemsky Gags & Smid we better get players back if there to be moved .NCAA players won't get us back to the playoffs next year .

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#29 Jacob
March 24 2013, 02:36PM
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How many bad years will it take Daryl Katz to fire Lowe and Tambo?

It like the guy who goes on a diet when he is 500 lbs what happened at 300 400lbs.

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#30 Serious Gord
March 24 2013, 02:56PM
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Jerod wrote:

If I was Danny DeKeyser the last place I would want to go is Detroit, great organization but the highest crime rate in the USA.

If I'm making millions why would I live in a dangerous city.

Obviously you have never been to Michigan. Several of the suburbs outside of Detroit are very nice and safe - much nicer and safer than Edmonton. And the weather in winter is nicer and the travel now that Detroit is in the east will be far less.

Dekeyser is attending western mi so i suspect he is aware of all of the above.

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#31 Chris
March 24 2013, 02:58PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Oilers won't pick 1st this year. If the season ended today, the club would choose 8th. They are in fact better than more teams this year than they have been since 2008-09.

If the season ended today we would have a 6.2% chance of picking first overall. That would be nuts to win the lottery again.

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#32 RSD
March 24 2013, 03:05PM
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DSF wrote:

I would think they'll be picking in the 4-6 range.

The TB Lightning should get a bit of a dead cat bounce after firing their coach and they're only two points behind the Oilers.

You'd also have to think that the Flyers can't stay as bad as they've been while both the Islanders and Caps have been playing better lately.

So, something like this seems likely:

1) Florida

2) Calgary

3) Colorado

4) Edmonton

5) Tampa Bay

6) Columbus

7) Buffalo

8) Phoenix

I can only hope that Edmonton ends the season ahead of Calgary and Colorado but it is going to tight; at this rate they will probably pick second overall and even though that is bad it is good. That's the only spin that can be put on it. Until they change management we really have nothing to look forward to; other than criticize.

You never know the oil could smarten up and start winning and possibly get in the playoffs. LOL = )

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#33 Quicksilver ballet
March 24 2013, 03:09PM
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These kids are another reason the Oilers shouldn't be so quick to re-sign Smid. Alot could happen between now and July 5th. Sit tight, let him explore his options and see what happens. It's not as though Ladislav Smid is irreplaceable. Edmonton will be just fine without a d'man who you know where his ceiling is at. Smid won't get any better than he is now.

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#34 Chris
March 24 2013, 03:12PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Obviously you have never been to Michigan. Several of the suburbs outside of Detroit are very nice and safe - much nicer and safer than Edmonton. And the weather in winter is nicer and the travel now that Detroit is in the east will be far less.

Dekeyser is attending western mi so i suspect he is aware of all of the above.

You're lumping all of edmonton together in the same way he generalized Detroit. Safer and nicer than which part if edmonton? I'd rather not live in a city whose downtown inspired Robocop due to its extreme crime rate.

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#35 DSF
March 24 2013, 03:13PM
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Dallas has begun the fire sale:

Darren Dreger ✔ @DarrenDreger

Source say the Pens and Stars have a trade in place for Brendan Morrow. However, he has yet to waive no trade clause.

Apparently Joe Morrow going the other way.

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#36 DSF
March 24 2013, 03:25PM
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Mark Spector Sports ‏@SportsnetSpec 23m

Just told Flames GM Jay Feaster sent an email to 29 GMs informing Anton Babchuk and Cory Sarich are available. Both have NTCs. Expand

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#37 Smokey
March 24 2013, 03:44PM
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Can't believe Pitts is doing Morrow for Morrow...Thats.an aweful price to pay for a potentially washed up forward. Gotta wonder why Feasters not feeding Iginla for the young Jo Morrow and something something. Feaster must have been asking a King's ransom and Shero laughed and hung up the phone. I would not givd a second or B rated prospect for Brenden Morrow. Just brutal.

Can we trade Whitney there for a first please?

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#38 dougtheslug
March 24 2013, 03:45PM
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DSF wrote:

Mark Spector Sports ‏@SportsnetSpec 23m

Just told Flames GM Jay Feaster sent an email to 29 GMs informing Anton Babchuk and Cory Sarich are available. Both have NTCs. Expand

Wow!THE Anton Babchuk? And Cory Sarich too? NHL GM's couldn't be more excited if the Oilers announced Potter was available. That should fetch the building blocks for a Stanley Cup run.

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#39 DSF
March 24 2013, 03:52PM
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Smokey wrote:

Can't believe Pitts is doing Morrow for Morrow...Thats.an aweful price to pay for a potentially washed up forward. Gotta wonder why Feasters not feeding Iginla for the young Jo Morrow and something something. Feaster must have been asking a King's ransom and Shero laughed and hung up the phone. I would not givd a second or B rated prospect for Brenden Morrow. Just brutal.

Can we trade Whitney there for a first please?

Teams like Pittsburgh, Boston, Chicago and LA are in "win now" mode and have little need for players who are a year or two away like Joe Morrow.

Brendan Morrow is the kind of hard nosed SOB you need to win in the playoffs and Pittsburgh already has a few more promising young defensive prospects like Olli Matta, Derrick Pouliot and Brian Doumolin in the system.

I know it's hard for Oilers fans to grasp but more than a few teams are interested in winning NOW.

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#40 DSF
March 24 2013, 03:55PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Wow!THE Anton Babchuk? And Cory Sarich too? NHL GM's couldn't be more excited if the Oilers announced Potter was available. That should fetch the building blocks for a Stanley Cup run.

Depth defensemen are very valuable in the playoffs.

I bet both get picked up although the return won't knock your socks off.

More than anything, it signals that Calgary has gone into sell mode so you could see Iginla, Jaybo and Kiprusoff moved very soon.

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#41 justDOit
March 24 2013, 03:59PM
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Calgary in firesale mode: proof that a little Schadenfreude goes a long way.

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#42 DSF
March 24 2013, 04:22PM
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Pierre LeBrun ‏@Real_ESPNLeBrun 6m

Pitt gets B. Morrow and a 3rd-round pick 2013 in exchange Dallas gets prospects Joe Morrow and a 5th-round pick 2013

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#43 Jason
March 24 2013, 04:23PM
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Iggy just got more expensive

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#44 Serious Gord
March 24 2013, 04:24PM
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And the oil is going to announce its sales soon?

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#45 DSF
March 24 2013, 04:36PM
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Jason wrote:

Iggy just got more expensive

Yep.

Pittsburgh was one of the teams on his list.

Boston, LA and Chicago still left.

I would imagine a first round pick and a roster player will be required.

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#46 Newj
March 24 2013, 04:44PM
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DSF wrote:

Depth defensemen are very valuable in the playoffs.

I bet both get picked up although the return won't knock your socks off.

More than anything, it signals that Calgary has gone into sell mode so you could see Iginla, Jaybo and Kiprusoff moved very soon.

Jaybo could actually be in a playoff game before he finishes his NHL career.

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#47 Gerald R. Ford
March 24 2013, 04:58PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Obviously you have never been to Michigan. Several of the suburbs outside of Detroit are very nice and safe - much nicer and safer than Edmonton. And the weather in winter is nicer and the travel now that Detroit is in the east will be far less.

Dekeyser is attending western mi so i suspect he is aware of all of the above.

You're bang on about suburban Detroit. I've heard several Edmonton media guys (it's a mantra for certain radio types) say: "UFAs go to good teams, it's nothing personal against Edmonton. Look at DETROIT! What a hole!"

Well, no. Not even close.

The players and their families don't live in "Detroit" they live in places like Grosse Pointe, Bloomfield Hills, and Pontiac, which are heavily insulated from the conditions of Metro Detroit. Yes, we have nice areas in Edmonton, and it's a fine place to raise a family for the average person. But, when you're also competing against milder winters, much easier travel schedules, a healthcare system that caters to impatient millionaires, and the centrality of Detroit, it will never be as attractive a destination for players or their increasingly high maintenance trophy wives. Thankfully, we're bad enough right now that "instant lineup spot" is the most attractive fringe benefit...

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#48 dougtheslug
March 24 2013, 05:07PM
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Jason wrote:

Iggy just got more expensive

Really? Dallas gets an iffy prospect currently rated no higher than second pairing on a mediocre Wilkes Barre Scranton team. Pittsburgh gets a 34 year old clearly on the tail end of a decent blue collar career. Fifth and third picks exchanged.Not much for not much as far as I can see.

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#49 DSF
March 24 2013, 05:14PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Really? Dallas gets an iffy prospect currently rated no higher than second pairing on a mediocre Wilkes Barre Scranton team. Pittsburgh gets a 34 year old clearly on the tail end of a decent blue collar career. Fifth and third picks exchanged.Not much for not much as far as I can see.

Good grief.

Joe Morrow just turned 20.

What were Schultz, Petry and Smid doing at the age of 20?

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#50 John Chambers
March 24 2013, 05:27PM
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@dougtheslug

Morrow was drafted very soon after Klefbom. He's a good prospect.

If we had traded Hemsky and ANH's 2nd for Morrow and a first I would've been elated.

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