WILL OILERS MAKE A DEAL?

Jason Gregor
April 03 2013 07:26AM

The trade deadline is 1 p.m. Edmonton time, and many are wondering if the Oilers will make a move?

I get the sense the Oilers are a year away from being a player at the deadline, but that's not to say they won't make a minor tweak.

Even though Eric Belanger is currently on the IR, the Oilers are confident he'll be playing before the playoffs, and if a team is interested they will trade him. The return would be a late round pick, but at this point the Oilers won't hesitate to deal him. I don't see him being a part of the future in Edmonton. They will try to find an upgrade for Belanger.

If a deal can be made the Oilers would move one of Mark Fistric or Theo Peckham. They are both 3rd pairing, physical D-men and the Oilers would need two injuries for both of them to play. Again the return would be a mid-round pick.

It is rare to see a hockey trade, proven player for proven player, made at the deadline, especially involving a team that has playoff aspirations, so I doubt we see a deal similar to Tom Gilbert/Nick Schultz. I firmly believe the Oilers will make some moves in the summer, to improve their backend and skilled-size in their top-nine, but I doubt that happens today.

I'm sure we will see a lot of debate over whether the Oilers should trade Ryan Whitney.

One argument is that he won't return next year, so get something for him. Don't let him walk for nothing.

The other side of the debate will argue that moving your 8th leading scorer in the midst of a four-game winning streak, and while you are only one point out of the playoffs wouldn't be prudent.

Basically it comes down to what the organization feels is more important. Allowing your young core to play meaningful games down the stretch, or adding another 2nd round pick. I'd lean towards the former.

The issue for the Oilers is that if they move Whitney, the guys left to replace him aren't nearly as good offensively or moving the puck. Mike Babcock had a quote that makes me believe the Oilers will not move Whitney, mainly because the players know who is better. 

They want you to know what’s going on at the game. They want you to have the right people on the ice in the right situations, and they know before you do. Players get the information first, the coach gets it second.  

Whitney likely won't return next season, but management doesn't want the young kids to think management sabotaged their chances at the playoffs by moving Whitney and replacing him with Fistric or Peckham.

I've also heard they would add a veteran D-man or forward as long as the price isn't too high, essentially a low-end prospect of mid-round pick. I don't expect a significant move, but it is the deadline, so you never know.

REMAINING SCHEDULE

Jonathan Willis outlined the Oilers remaining schedule in detail here, and on Monday I broke down the remaining schedule of Detroit, St.Louis, Nashville, Dallas, Phoenix, Columbus and the Oilers here.

As we both pointed out the Oilers remaining schedule isn't easy, especially the final week when the Oilers play five games in seven days vs. the top-four teams in the west: Ducks, Ducks, Blackhawks, Wild and Canucks. I believe the Oilers need to be in a situation where they can go 2-3 or 3-2 in those five games and still make the playoffs. If they do that, they will have a decent shot of making the playoffs.

So that means they need to go 6-2 or 5-3 in their next 8 games. A tall task for sure, but that is their reality.

The good news for the Oilers is that the Blues have a tough schedule as well. The Blues play 14 games in the final 24 days of the season, including 3 vs. the Blackhawks. The Blues do get a break when they play a stretch of  five games against non-playoff teams. At home vs. the Coyotes (Apr 18th), Stars (Apr 19th), @ Colorado on the 21st, then vs. Avs on 23rd and the Flames on the 25th.

If the Oilers make the playoffs they will have to earn it, and starting tonight we will see how they handle the pressure of playing meaningful games. It should be exciting.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 Oilcruzer
April 03 2013, 07:39AM
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In the past, using ratios of at least 1.15 X number games, you would find what the minimum was to get in.

That might mean you need 55 pts this year. That's too much to expect from the Oil. The win rate is not there.

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#2 Citizen David
April 03 2013, 07:40AM
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You forgot about the haul we'll get for moving Omark.

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#3 TayLordBalls
April 03 2013, 07:45AM
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'that is their reality' - great line Gregor!

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#4 Walter Sobchak
April 03 2013, 08:00AM
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There should be zero debate whether Whitney move's or not.

Basically, if the Oiler's don't move Whitney or sign him to an extension, then the Oiler's gave up Stoll, Green and Visnovsky for a broken player and nothing to show for it.

Great job! Brilliant GM work.

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#5 106 and 106
April 03 2013, 08:07AM
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Hey Gregor,

Whitney does have offensive upside, absolutely, but at this stage, doesn't his defensive liability outweigh his offensive potential (Corsi being the black hole that it is with him)?

Wouldn't you get addition by subtraction?

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#6 Walter Sobchak
April 03 2013, 08:13AM
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I have to say that the summer makes the most sense to add a top pairing defensemen.

If the Oilers could pull a Sean Couturier out of Philly for Paajarvi,plus Whitney and a low level prospect, I do this trade in a second.

I think tambellini would be wise to part with one of the seconds and Tuebert for Ben Bishop.

I would also have no issue with dealing Hemsky for a first and a prospect.

I also would look at dealing Jones.

The rest I think gets left to the summer.

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#7 vetinari
April 03 2013, 08:19AM
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I doubt anything major will go down today for the Oilers... They are not sellers because they are drifting around a possible playoff spot and they are not buyers because outside of the kids, there's little on the roster that other team's want. I see Tambi tinkering with the farm team and maybe moving some guys like Hordichuk and Eager for mid to late round picks.

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#8 Where's Your Towel
April 03 2013, 08:20AM
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I really only care about the team getting better moving forward. Making deals because they make old bad deals look better is probably not a great strategy.

Whatever they do with Whitney, it should be with an eye to the future. Who cares how he got here? He's here and something needs to be done.

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#9 Eddie Shore
April 03 2013, 08:22AM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

I have to say that the summer makes the most sense to add a top pairing defensemen.

If the Oilers could pull a Sean Couturier out of Philly for Paajarvi,plus Whitney and a low level prospect, I do this trade in a second.

I think tambellini would be wise to part with one of the seconds and Tuebert for Ben Bishop.

I would also have no issue with dealing Hemsky for a first and a prospect.

I also would look at dealing Jones.

The rest I think gets left to the summer.

So you've traded Hemsky, Jones, Whitney & MPS. Who fills those spots to finish this year? How do you think the players in the room react to this trade sitting 1 pt back of the playoff cutline?

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#10 Walter Sobchak
April 03 2013, 08:34AM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

So you've traded Hemsky, Jones, Whitney & MPS. Who fills those spots to finish this year? How do you think the players in the room react to this trade sitting 1 pt back of the playoff cutline?

Did you notice that Hemsky never played the third period against Calgary?

I never did ether.

Did you not see the added pieces I mentioned? Jones wont be missed as much as you think he will be, and there are players that can fill the void in return, players like Hartikainen would do just fine, did you really miss Jones at the start of the season?

Couturier would be an added bonus.

This is a business, if I was a player in that dressing room if these guys got traded it wouldn't be a huge distraction.

The Oilers are still building for the future, as much as you don't want them to it's enviable that these players will be gone, this trade deadline or summer.

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#11 Eddie Shore
April 03 2013, 08:47AM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Did you notice that Hemsky never played the third period against Calgary?

I never did ether.

Did you not see the added pieces I mentioned? Jones wont be missed as much as you think he will be, and there are players that can fill the void in return, players like Hartikainen would do just fine, did you really miss Jones at the start of the season?

Couturier would be an added bonus.

This is a business, if I was a player in that dressing room if these guys got traded it wouldn't be a huge distraction.

The Oilers are still building for the future, as much as you don't want them to it's enviable that these players will be gone, this trade deadline or summer.

Hemsky didn't play in the final 10 mins... After we were up 4-0.

The only pieces you added were Bishop and Couturier. So now Peckham/Fistric are in every game and we're asking Gagner, in his best season, to move to the wing.

Also, the message this would send to the room, whether you want to acknowledge it or not, is that this year doesn't matter. I don't think that this would be a positive move at this point in the "rebuild". At some point, it has to be about NOW and this would be a great time to turn that corner.

I don't disagree that the team still needs work, but that work can be done at the draft and in the summer, and not at the cost of a battle for a playoff spot.

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#12 Sox and Oil
April 03 2013, 09:11AM
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I like to play pretend trades too...

I like Peckham (or Fistric) and Belanger to Carolina for Jokinen and a 2nd.

I also like a 2nd and Tuebs (maybe something extra too) for Bishop.

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#13 Clyde Frog
April 03 2013, 09:12AM
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So Philly is struggling mightily this season...

Sitting 6 points out of the playoffs...

Why would they trade their young prospect again?

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#14 15w40
April 03 2013, 09:16AM
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Trade Khabi and a 2nd for Bishop. Need somebody to push Dubnyk. Denis and Khabi aren't the answer going forward and Roy and Bunz aren't close to moving up.

If Whitney will extend for a couple years at a good # relative to a 3rd pairing guy I would look at it. Not a lot of 5x5 minutes and still good on the PP.

If he still looking for 1st or 2nd pairing $$ then I would trade him for what I could get. He is a better option than Marc-Andre Bergeron. If he would do 5.5 to 6.2 over 3 years that would be OK.

The days of him making 5 mil a year are gone. I would say a hair over 2 is the absolute max.

That would leave

Smid - Petry Schultz - Schultz

3rd pairing would be from the group of Whitney Klefbom Potter Fistric Peckham

One of the last 3 should be gone today.

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#15 Walter Sobchak
April 03 2013, 09:18AM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

Hemsky didn't play in the final 10 mins... After we were up 4-0.

The only pieces you added were Bishop and Couturier. So now Peckham/Fistric are in every game and we're asking Gagner, in his best season, to move to the wing.

Also, the message this would send to the room, whether you want to acknowledge it or not, is that this year doesn't matter. I don't think that this would be a positive move at this point in the "rebuild". At some point, it has to be about NOW and this would be a great time to turn that corner.

I don't disagree that the team still needs work, but that work can be done at the draft and in the summer, and not at the cost of a battle for a playoff spot.

Who said Gagner has to move to the wing? where you got that I have know idea!

So you are willing to let Whitney leave this summer for nothing?

Even though 95% of the people here (myself included) would have let him go through the waiver wire a month ago, now all of a sudden he has value.......C'mon, its still Whitney, he's brutal.

If your adding a much needed talent, how exactly is that sending a message of this season doesn't matter?

A month ago, including yourself, posters on this site were talking about getting rid of the same people I mentioned, now that there in a race everyone switches to the keep everyone.....confusing.

so IF the Oilers don't make the playoffs, then you and I can come on here and say what an imbecile Tambellini was for not getting rid of the dead meat on this team

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#16 Walter Sobchak
April 03 2013, 09:20AM
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Clyde Frog wrote:

So Philly is struggling mightily this season...

Sitting 6 points out of the playoffs...

Why would they trade their young prospect again?

Because they are looking for immediate help.

I don't make the rumors up, but according to the experts he's available for the right price.

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#17 They're $hittie
April 03 2013, 09:22AM
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Couturier is like Eberle to the Flyers. Not saying they wouldnt trade him but the value of him to the Flyers is what we would expect for Eberle.

This is a player they drafted that they expected to be gone by number 4, and a player that in his rookie year shut down the two best players in the playoff.

Paajarvi and spare parts does not get Couturier.

If you trade Gagner for Couturier both teams would want a plus. So it doesnt Happen. Also If the flyers are open to trading him it would be for a winger. So now you look at Eberle. The only problem here is cap hit. Simmonds was mentioned as being traded because of his future salary. Seeing how there production is similar this year and simmonds is a bigger player on a less cap hit next season (presumably) this trade (eberle for couturier, with oilers wanting plus) does not happen either.

Hemsky plus paajarvi and Musil for Couturier is an overpay but would work for Philly. However we wont do this either.

COUTURIER IS NOT GOING TO BE AN OILER

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#18 Will
April 03 2013, 09:35AM
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The argument to trade Whitney is that the return on him is high right now, especially since veteran D men are in short supply at the deadline.

So, if there's a deal there where we get back an overpay for a rental player, I think for Whitney they should take it.

That means Potter is running our second unit Powerplay, and he's our puck mover behind Petry and J schultz. Not ideal.

If however it's just like a second round pick, well then Whitney might as well ride it out here in Edmonton and see if he can help us get into the playoffs.

As for this business of needing to go on this crazy run, with one spot left, that assumes that the four teams fighting for that spot, all need to go on a run like that.

Personally, I don't think any of the four teams are going to be capable of that, which means we don't need a miracle, we just need the other teams to not get a miracle.

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#19 They're $hittie
April 03 2013, 09:35AM
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Why dont we swap a useless contract to toronto for Connolly. We need a center, his contract expires, he is better than Belanger, and Toronto saves money.

Hordichuk, Eager etc. Probably wont want eager as he has another year left.

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#20 madjam
April 03 2013, 09:38AM
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To late to make a trade of significance now . No surprise as it appears Oilers do not know which way to go to begin with for this season and probably next . Are we a playoff pretender , while not being a Stanley Cup contender ? Missed opportunity to start preparing for the latter ?

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#21 Walter Sobchak
April 03 2013, 09:39AM
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@They're $hittie

I'm only saying what TSN said about Couturier, that talk was around Paajarvi, a second, and a low level prospect.

Couturier is struggling this year as well, the Flyers need immediate help.

Simmons was mentioned by Gregor as an addition or complimentary player to the top six.

Couturier is a second year player with potential, Where the Hell you got Eberle from is the definition of insane.

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#22 Walter Sobchak
April 03 2013, 09:40AM
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Looks like PHX is in the mix for Bishop now too.

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#23 oilerjed
April 03 2013, 09:42AM
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Why is taht everyone has forgotten what Jones has done over the last two years before his eye injury 168g 36g 23a=59pts in 2 years with oil . He is a very capable 3\4 line winger who can kill penalties, slide up and down the line when injuries happen. This year is a blip and next year he is better. I like Harti but to be honest he is a none entity most nights he is out there. He is not ready to contribute the big club. Another MPS in the making(meaning he needs more time). For his price Jones is a great deal and the pick you get for him most likely will not give you the same return.

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#24 etownman
April 03 2013, 09:44AM
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I think the Oilers will try to add some toughness that can play (like Brown) if possible! They will probably give up a late draft pick or minor leaguer! Whitney could go if the offering is enough (high draft or a Caron & draft)!

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#25 shifty203
April 03 2013, 09:45AM
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Sounds like pretty much anyone is available from Buffalo. Oilers should be doing whatever it takes to get Ott out of there. Jones and our 4th round pick maybe? If the 4th round pick isn't enough, I would consider parting with one of our seconds. I think he's exactly what we need on this team.

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#26 K_Mart
April 03 2013, 09:47AM
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Without moving their first round pick...

I'd target

Bishop. Streit. (unlikely, NYI pushing for playoffs). Ehrhoff. Ott. Hartnell. Yandle (i'd package our first rounder here)

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#27 106 and 106
April 03 2013, 09:48AM
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@K_Mart

Ott was traded to VAN. Van isn't going to give him to a NW rival.

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#29 Walter Sobchak
April 03 2013, 09:49AM
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Looks like Kulikov is available, according to TSN Jones name is out there as well.

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#30 madjam
April 03 2013, 09:53AM
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Considering all the draft picks we have developing now , is our first round pick in play , or should it be ? Nemishnekov would be a longer term project for our first pick should we maintain it .

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#31 K_Mart
April 03 2013, 09:53AM
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106 and 106 wrote:

Ott was traded to VAN. Van isn't going to give him to a NW rival.

SNAP! I missed that one.

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#32 Walter Sobchak
April 03 2013, 09:54AM
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106 and 106 wrote:

Ott was traded to VAN. Van isn't going to give him to a NW rival.

You mean Roy? Ott still a Saber.

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#33 K_Mart
April 03 2013, 09:55AM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

You mean Roy? Ott still a Saber.

Can no one be trusted here. I'm checking the trade tracker. Y'all are unreliable.

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#34 They're $hittie
April 03 2013, 09:55AM
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@Walter Sobchak

Im saying the Flyers value him as the oilers value Eberle.

Would you trade Eberle for Paajarvi a 2nd Pitlick?

Flyers wouldnt either.

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#36 K_Mart
April 03 2013, 09:58AM
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Ott is still a sabre.

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#37 Quicksilver ballet
April 03 2013, 10:00AM
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Have a sneaky suspicion the Oilers could be the big player of the day. An opportunity to do a bigger picture deal could come knocking today. Just a plain old fashion hockey trade. Hemsky,Gagner,Petry.....don't be sending out any drycleaning.

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#38 K_Mart
April 03 2013, 10:00AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

You call going 5-3 in first 8 and then 3-2 in last five a miracle run? That isn't to outlandish, especially if they win tonight...

Oilers need to go at least 8-5 to make playoff, I don't see that as crazy just reality.

St.Louis who sits in 8th, would need to go 7-6-1 to fend off the Oilers (If OIlers go 8-5). That isn't a miracle run either.

Oilers need to hope Blues goalies keep struggling and they have a shot.

I don't see any miracle runs needed, just a decent amount of wins...

Exactly right.

If our odds of making it are 30% than I'm as happy as I've been in 6 years.

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#39 Walter Sobchak
April 03 2013, 10:00AM
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They're $hittie wrote:

Im saying the Flyers value him as the oilers value Eberle.

Would you trade Eberle for Paajarvi a 2nd Pitlick?

Flyers wouldnt either.

Listen, I'm not the one who put his name out there! TSN did!

So I'm sure he is available for the likes of Paajarvi and whatever else, but he's out there so deal with it.

I do this deal, not sure if the Oilers want to add to the rest, but it's Philly who is shopping him.

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#40 Will
April 03 2013, 10:02AM
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K_Mart wrote:

Can no one be trusted here. I'm checking the trade tracker. Y'all are unreliable.

Ya, I think he means Roy, which is weird because Roy wasn't even a Saber. Ott used to be a star so I guess I could see where you get confused, but comon, lets try a little harder here guys.

Also, for the case of making the playoffs but not making it far. From an owners standpoint, if a team has a chance to even make the first round of the show, that mandate is pushed hard. The revenue generated from the playoffs is how teams become profitable.

That's why Toronto wouldn't let Burke do the rebuild. They need the money from the playoffs, even if it's only round one. So knowing that, I'm sure pressure is on management to make the moves that best suite making the playoffs. Knowing our management, my bet is that the 'moves' they make, is to not mess with the current winning formula.

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#41 Walter Sobchak
April 03 2013, 10:02AM
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K_Mart wrote:

Exactly right.

If our odds of making it are 30% than I'm as happy as I've been in 6 years.

I Agree, I had the Oilers as a lottery team, but this is a pleasant surprise.

I still don’t think they will make it, but it's been fun for the first time in a long time.

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#42 Ogie Oilthorpe
April 03 2013, 10:03AM
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15w40 wrote:

Trade Khabi and a 2nd for Bishop. Need somebody to push Dubnyk. Denis and Khabi aren't the answer going forward and Roy and Bunz aren't close to moving up.

If Whitney will extend for a couple years at a good # relative to a 3rd pairing guy I would look at it. Not a lot of 5x5 minutes and still good on the PP.

If he still looking for 1st or 2nd pairing $$ then I would trade him for what I could get. He is a better option than Marc-Andre Bergeron. If he would do 5.5 to 6.2 over 3 years that would be OK.

The days of him making 5 mil a year are gone. I would say a hair over 2 is the absolute max.

That would leave

Smid - Petry Schultz - Schultz

3rd pairing would be from the group of Whitney Klefbom Potter Fistric Peckham

One of the last 3 should be gone today.

I agree with you completely.

I have been a Whitney critic all year but am actually getting to the point where I would like to see him re-signed at about the $2 mil per year level.

I think getting rid of Potter today for a prospect and Peckham in the offseason is a good move, even though I have always quietly rooted for Teddy, I like Teddy like he like burgers and paintball.

But that does leave your aforementioned top 4 plus Whitney, Fistric and Kelfbom for a bottom 2 pairing. Plus there are a few D in OKC that could be brought up if there are a couple injuries.

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#43 K_Mart
April 03 2013, 10:05AM
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@Walter Sobchak

"You want a Couturier? I can get you a Couturier. Believe me. There are ways dude, you don't wanna know, but there are,believe me. Hell, I can get you Couturier by 3 oclock WITH nail polish."

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#44 They're $hittie
April 03 2013, 10:08AM
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@Walter Sobchak

not denying he is out there, denying that the oilers are willing to pay the asking price, which paajarvi may be involved in but TSN doesn't exactly know the other pieces. The other pieces could be gagner or hemsky and a 2nd.

Best just to see what happens.

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#45 Will
April 03 2013, 10:09AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

You call going 5-3 in first 8 and then 3-2 in last five a miracle run? That isn't to outlandish, especially if they win tonight...

Oilers need to go at least 8-5 to make playoff, I don't see that as crazy just reality.

St.Louis who sits in 8th, would need to go 7-6-1 to fend off the Oilers (If OIlers go 8-5). That isn't a miracle run either.

Oilers need to hope Blues goalies keep struggling and they have a shot.

I don't see any miracle runs needed, just a decent amount of wins...

No, I mean, that's kind of what I'm saying is that I think everyone is making the hill we need to climb bigger than it is, and everyone's forgetting that four other teams need to climb the same hill. So if people are saying it's impossible for us to make the playoffs, then why is it possible for other teams that need to accomplish the exact same thing?

I personally think the number to make the playoffs is actually a little less because all four teams fighting for that spot, likely won't be going on a huge win streak either.

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#46 bdiddy18
April 03 2013, 10:13AM
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It happened the last time there was a lockout so heck why can't it happen now.

It looks like the Canucks are clear and safe...but are they???

two games head to head by winning both you narow the gap to 3 pts.

They are injured badly, the defence is not what it once was and the goalie drama has created inconsistent play from both Schneider and Luongo.

They can't score.

so a Canuck Collapse aided an 8th place finish for the Oilers the last time we made the playoffs post lockout..

deja vu ???

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#47 Will
April 03 2013, 10:16AM
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On another note, does anyone know why teams that are really out of it, like Colorado, aren't selling off some pieces at the deadline? I mean, I know they're not really a rebuild team or anything, but wouldn't it stand that some of their guys would be valued by other teams for high draft picks. What about people like Stasny?

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#48 Will
April 03 2013, 10:19AM
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Will wrote:

On another note, does anyone know why teams that are really out of it, like Colorado, aren't selling off some pieces at the deadline? I mean, I know they're not really a rebuild team or anything, but wouldn't it stand that some of their guys would be valued by other teams for high draft picks. What about people like Stasny?

Or what about Tampa, Philly, or Florida. They've done hardly anything at the deadline, especially Philly.

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#49 DSF
April 03 2013, 10:19AM
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bdiddy18 wrote:

It happened the last time there was a lockout so heck why can't it happen now.

It looks like the Canucks are clear and safe...but are they???

two games head to head by winning both you narow the gap to 3 pts.

They are injured badly, the defence is not what it once was and the goalie drama has created inconsistent play from both Schneider and Luongo.

They can't score.

so a Canuck Collapse aided an 8th place finish for the Oilers the last time we made the playoffs post lockout..

deja vu ???

Despite being ravaged by injury, the Canucks are 6-4-0 in their last 10.

They're getting Kesler back within a week and have just added Derek Roy.

If the playoff cutoff is 55 points, the Canucks can go 5-6-1 and still make it while the Oilers would need to go 8-3-2 to hit 55 points.

Not impossible, but not very likely.

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#50 Walter Sobchak
April 03 2013, 10:23AM
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K_Mart wrote:

"You want a Couturier? I can get you a Couturier. Believe me. There are ways dude, you don't wanna know, but there are,believe me. Hell, I can get you Couturier by 3 oclock WITH nail polish."

I said he would be a good addition, never said I wanted his, just that his name is out there and the asking price.

S

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