RUMOUR MILL IS GETTING HOT...

Jason Gregor
June 19 2013 11:34AM

The next three weeks will be extremely exciting for hockey fans. Compliance buyouts could start as early as Monday, June 24th, or as last as Friday, June 28th, the 2013 NHL entry draft happens Sunday, June 30th and the free agent signings occur July 5th.

Between now and then we will hear some juicy rumours, witness some interesting trades, debatable draft selections and some horrendous UFA signings.

I can't wait, and thankfully we won't have to with copious speculation already circulating around the hockey world.

Here's some of the big stories already floating around.

Beat writer for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Josh Yohe, had a strong piece on why the Penguins will trade Kris Letang. 

Shero is fairly confident Letang has become a must-move player. 

That is true because Letang is not the consensus best defenseman on the Penguins, at least in the eyes of management and coaches.

That is true because the Penguins are deepest on defense among top prospects, including a couple of first-round picks from last summer (Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maatta).

That is true even though terms of Malkin's new contract will provide the Penguins with more cap room to keep good players around him and Crosby — if the cap increases annually under this labor contract, as it did during the last one.

The Penguins are set up for Letang to count around $6 million against the cap and to continue paying Crosby ($8.7 million), Malkin ($9.5 million), right winger James Neal, Martin and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury ($5 million apiece). Evidence of that was their offer to Staal, who would have counted about $5.75 million annually against the cap had he stayed — and that was with Letang taking up $3.5 million in space.

Letang, 26, a first-time Norris Trophy (top defenseman) finalist, aims to at least double his current salary on any new deal. He was the only NHL defenseman to average a point per game during the regular season. He is in his prime. 

According to Yohe the Pens are prepared to pay Letang $6 mill/year, but nothing more. Letang is very good offensively, more physical than some think, but some question his defensive zone play. The Penguins have the luxury of having the best offensive one-two punch (Crosby and Malkin) in the NHL, so they can risk moving a proven puck moving D-man.

I suspect playing with Crosby and Malkin might hurt Letang, because some wonder if they make his stats (points and advanced) look better than he is. I'd guess they do to an extent, but I still believe many teams would be interested, and I'd put the San Jose Sharks near the top of that list. Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle have one year remaining on their contracts, ( a combined $20.56 million), and Doug Wilson loves puck movers and he isn't afraid to make major trades.

Before you scream Letang doesn't deserve to be paid like Shea Weber, keep in mind Brian Campbell makes $7.14 million.

LETANG IN EDMONTON

Letang would be the #1 pairing D-man the Oilers desperately need, but what is the asking price?

Would the #7 pick in this year's draft, Jeff Petry (#4 D-man) and a young forward get it done?

The Canes gave up the #8 and Brandon Sutter (3rd line C) to get Jordan Staal last year. Letang is worth more, but how much? Pens might ask for Paajarvi, but would they settle for something less? I don't know, but I'm curious to see if the Pens and Letang can't reach a new deal what is asking price would be.

AVS PASSING ON JONES?

"If we do pick first, we're leaning more toward one of those three forwards," Avalanche executive vice president of hockey operations Joe Sakic said in Adrian Dater's article yesterday.

Is this a bluff by Joe Sakic, or is Colorado seriously looking at one of Nathan Mackinnon, Jonathon Drouin or Alexander Barkov? In 2009 there was talk the Islanders might take Matt Duchene instead of John Tavares, in 2010 it was Taylor vs. Tyler, in 2011 there were rumours the Oilers would trade down and last year it was Nail Yakupov or Ryan Murray.

In every case the projected #1 pick went first overall, but I don't recall Garth Snow or Steve Tambellini/Kevin Lowe suggesting they wouldn't pick the consensus #1. Seems like an odd approach from the team holding the #1 selection.

While Sakic isn't the GM, in title, it is clear he is the main decision maker. His comments just made the final 10 days leading up to the draft more interesting.

Do you think the Avs will pass on Jones and take a forward, trade down or that this is a bluff and they will stick with Jones?

THE HOCKEY NEWS...SAY WHAT?

Dater tweeted this yesterday:

The Hockey News will name Detroit-Colorado biggest rivalry of all time in NHL history.

You could make an argument that the Wings/Avs was the best rivalry of the past 20 years, but to suggest it was the best of all-time tells me the Hockey News is trying to appeal to the younger demographic, or an All-American one.

Between 1996 and 2002 the Avs/Wings combined to win five Stanley Cups, met five times in the playoffs and in three of those meetings the winner went on to win the Cup. It was a great rivalry but it isn't the best of all-time.

The Oilers and Flames combined to make eight consecutive Stanley Cup appearances between 1983-1990, winning six of them. It was an epic battle during the playoff and the regular season.

The Leafs and Habs have met 15 times in the playoffs, but none since 1979, and only twice since the 1967 expansion. You can say it was easier to meet in the playoffs during the original six era, but these two combined for 10 straight Cup appearances from 1951-1960, and they won 7 championships.

The greatest rivalry is the Habs/Bruins. They've met 33 times in the playoffs, and while the Habs dominated the series for a 45 year stretch, the Bruins have won 7 of the last 11 series. No rivalry has lasted longer, and while Detroit/Colorado was good for seven years, it isn't even in the top-three of all-time.

PARTING SHOT...

Took this pic in Vegas. I'm guessing most of you feel this way, yet you still eat there. Convenience store owner must have a good sense of humour.

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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#101 DSF
June 19 2013, 07:15PM
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cdnmadcow wrote:

I'm diggin where DSF is going with this one. Pull the trigger for a solid d-man who slots right in to the top four.

Yep.

Toronto has too many defensemen.

The Oilers don't have enough.

If Toronto wants to move up in the draft and take a centre...giddyup.

While the Oilers also need centres, patching all the holes on the blue line has to be Job One ®.

Good teams are built from the back end out.

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#102 Gerald
June 19 2013, 07:29PM
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@DSF

You got me, they were talking about Kulemin

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#103 Gerald
June 19 2013, 07:34PM
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Actually from what I hear Nonis reputation is stellar . A honest GM.

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#104 DSF
June 19 2013, 07:38PM
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Gerald wrote:

You got me, they were talking about Kulemin

Who was?

If I was MacT...this is what I would do.

Trade the 7th and Hemsky for the 21st, Franson and Grabovski.

If the Leafs want Gagner instead of Hemsky...see ya kid.

The Oilers end up with a solid top 4 D, a tough minutes centre and pretty decent pick at 21.

The Leafs, who have Gardiner, Rielly and Finn bubbling up, rid themselves of a player that Carlyle doesn't like and get to pick another centre who may take a year or two to have an impact.

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#105 MKE
June 19 2013, 07:41PM
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DSF wrote:

Who was?

If I was MacT...this is what I would do.

Trade the 7th and Hemsky for the 21st, Franson and Grabovski.

If the Leafs want Gagner instead of Hemsky...see ya kid.

The Oilers end up with a solid top 4 D, a tough minutes centre and pretty decent pick at 21.

The Leafs, who have Gardiner, Rielly and Finn bubbling up, rid themselves of a player that Carlyle doesn't like and get to pick another centre who may take a year or two to have an impact.

edit

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#106 Jerod
June 19 2013, 07:42PM
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Would Oilers be interested in Clarke MacArthur ?

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#107 DSF
June 19 2013, 07:55PM
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MKE wrote:

edit

Fold under pressure?

Gagner scored 2 points in the last 10 games of the season (you know, the stretch drive) and both of them were second assists.

Franson scored 6 points in 7 PLAYOFF games.

And during the Leafs stretch drive, Franson scored 8 points in the last 10 games.

I'll tell you who folds under pressure and it rhymes with Bagner.

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#108 The Soup Fascist
June 19 2013, 07:59PM
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Jerod wrote:

Would Oilers be interested in Clarke MacArthur ?

That would be awesome! If you got him and Max Lapierre the Oilers could finish first in the league ..... in undisciplined, unnecessary and untimely penalties.

I actually like MacArthur, he just needs to learn some gamesmanship.

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#109 The Soup Fascist
June 19 2013, 08:00PM
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DSF wrote:

Fold under pressure?

Gagner scored 2 points in the last 10 games of the season (you know, the stretch drive) and both of them were second assists.

Franson scored 6 points in 7 PLAYOFF games.

And during the Leafs stretch drive, Franson scored 8 points in the last 10 games.

I'll tell you who folds under pressure and it rhymes with Bagner.

Pretty sure you mean Bagne

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#110 MKE
June 19 2013, 08:00PM
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MacT knows that he needs to have guys who excel in the transition game. Gardner fits that.

Letang does too, but he doesn't excel at anything else. At 7 million for a cap hit you need to have someone like Chara who can dominate.

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#111 Eddie Shore
June 19 2013, 08:02PM
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@DSF

Grabovski at $5.5 with a 16 point season and you're ragging on Gagner?

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#112 MKE
June 19 2013, 08:04PM
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DSF wrote:

Fold under pressure?

Gagner scored 2 points in the last 10 games of the season (you know, the stretch drive) and both of them were second assists.

Franson scored 6 points in 7 PLAYOFF games.

And during the Leafs stretch drive, Franson scored 8 points in the last 10 games.

I'll tell you who folds under pressure and it rhymes with Bagner.

I know you don't like Ganger :).

Franson will at best be a number 4. He doesn't play big enough and he does not excel at the transition game.

And Grabovski is going to be really brutal value on a 5.5 cap hit.

And to give up the number 7 and Ganger, you need to get better players back in that deal.

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#113 DSF
June 19 2013, 08:14PM
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MKE wrote:

I know you don't like Ganger :).

Franson will at best be a number 4. He doesn't play big enough and he does not excel at the transition game.

And Grabovski is going to be really brutal value on a 5.5 cap hit.

And to give up the number 7 and Ganger, you need to get better players back in that deal.

Give it a rest.

You obviously don't know anything about Cody Franson.

1) He scored more points than Justin Schultz

2) Franson scored 16 points at even strength. Schultz scored 12.

3) He was 3rd on the Leafs with 121 hits. ( 7 less than Phaneuf who hits like a truck)

4) Schultz had 15 hits. 15! Peckham had 14 hits and only played 4 games.

5) Franson would be the Oilers #1D right out of the box.

Grabovski is a better bet than either Horcoff, Hemsky or Gagner at $5M.

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#114 MKE
June 19 2013, 08:20PM
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Also the Leafs had several guys on the back end who averaged more ice time then Franson.

If he was really so exceptional, he would have been playing more.

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#115 Mean Machine
June 19 2013, 08:22PM
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@DSF

Would not include the 7th overall in a deal for Franson. That pick can be added with something else to get a better Dman.

I would go after Franson though. Just not using a top ten pick in a great draft. He can be had for a prospect and a second rounder.

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#116 DSF
June 19 2013, 08:29PM
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MKE wrote:

Also the Leafs had several guys on the back end who averaged more ice time then Franson.

If he was really so exceptional, he would have been playing more.

Nonsense:

Phaneuf - 1208:33

Franson - 845.29

Gunnarsson - 827:27

Kostka - 722:47

Fraser - 763:05

Liles - 600:34

Holzer - 407:09

Gardiner - 245:56

O'Byrne - 137:25

Komisarek - 61:23

In the playoffs:

Phaneuf - 177:35

Franson - 159:46

Gunnarsson - 154:35

Gardiner - 138:06

O'Byrne - 91:21

Fraser - 73:44

Liles - 61:41

Kostka - 22:22

Randy Carlyle, who knows a thing or two about defensemen used Franson as his second most reliable defenseman.

Please stop while you're behind.

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#117 DSF
June 19 2013, 08:30PM
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Mean Machine wrote:

Would not include the 7th overall in a deal for Franson. That pick can be added with something else to get a better Dman.

I would go after Franson though. Just not using a top ten pick in a great draft. He can be had for a prospect and a second rounder.

1) Like who.

2) No, he can't.

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#118 DSF
June 19 2013, 08:34PM
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@MKE

"I know. I'm clueless, know nothing, and am a total moron. Didn't we cover this the other day?"

Yep.

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#119 MKE
June 19 2013, 08:47PM
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And in the playoffs Franson played 14 mins in Game one. His ice time went up from there.

Game 7 he scored 2 goals. One on the power play. He finished as a -3.

He has been in the NHL for 4 years now and has only been a top 4 guy for bits and pieces.

That's not good enough if you are trading the 7th pick.

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#120 MKE
June 19 2013, 08:48PM
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Mean Machine wrote:

1) Letang and Kulikov

2) Yes, he can. Provide me a comparable that states he can be had for more.

Kyle Turris, although not a defenseman, was a top 6 or at least a projected top 6 player, was had for an A level prospect (Rundblad) and a 2nd rounder. Kyle Turris is worth more than Franson. Therefore, a second and a B level prospect is fair.

Totally agree. But Florida I don't think is in a hurry to rid themselves of Kulikov

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#121 Mean Machine
June 19 2013, 08:50PM
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MKE wrote:

Totally agree. But Florida I don't think is in a hurry to rid themselves of Kulikov

I believe there were rumors of Florida listening to offers for Kulikov. I do agree there is no hurry or need, but if the price is right I'm sure he could be had.

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#122 MKE
June 19 2013, 08:51PM
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Mean Machine wrote:

I believe there were rumors of Florida listening to offers for Kulikov. I do agree there is no hurry or need, but if the price is right I'm sure he could be had.

If the price was right he's someone I would love to have! But then its the whole thing of who and what do you give up to make it happen...

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#123 DSF
June 19 2013, 09:29PM
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MKE wrote:

And in the playoffs Franson played 14 mins in Game one. His ice time went up from there.

Game 7 he scored 2 goals. One on the power play. He finished as a -3.

He has been in the NHL for 4 years now and has only been a top 4 guy for bits and pieces.

That's not good enough if you are trading the 7th pick.

Good grief...

In the playoffs when all hands were on deck...

Phaneuf - 25:22

Gardiner - 23:01

Franson - 22:49

Kostka - 22:22

Gunnarsson - 22:05

Fraser - 18:26

Liles - 15:25

O'Byrne - 15:13

So, Gardiner played 12 seconds a game more than Franson.

12 seconds.

The only reason Franson might be available is because Gardiner is a blue chip prospect.

Minutes played by Justin Schultz in the playoffs - 00:00

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#124 MKE
June 19 2013, 09:52PM
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@DSF

Ya and Gardner spent most of the year in the AHL and he was still averaging more time when he did play.

Franson was a top 4 guy for bits of a season. It's not good enough.

The Leafs will not make the playoffs next year.

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#125 MKE
June 19 2013, 09:54PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

30th, 30th, 29th and 24th.

You'd have to be pretty arrogant to even consider trading down in this draft. If there's a team in the NHL that needs that 7th selection, or better, it's the Edmonton Oilers.

MacTavish should still be in, we need all the help we can get mode.

What if you can use that to get a top pairing guy? Especially someone under 25..

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#126 MKE
June 19 2013, 10:24PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

Alex Pietrangelo in a perfect world. I'm not sold on Hamonic.

Gubranson I don't think is a franchise guy. Good defeceman..but I struggle to see him as more then 2/3 guy

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#127 Quicksilver ballet
June 19 2013, 11:06PM
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MKE wrote:

Alex Pietrangelo in a perfect world. I'm not sold on Hamonic.

Gubranson I don't think is a franchise guy. Good defeceman..but I struggle to see him as more then 2/3 guy

Pietrangelo i'd have to think is in the same realm as Weber. Only Alex doesn't have the burden of a monster contract yet. The Blues really have no reason not to further invest in him I believe.

There's isn't the possible fatal death by paper cut yet for the Blues looming yet. The Preds are a different story. Weber is moved long before Alex is moved I believe. The remaining 84 million on that deal will become a burden no doubt.

Your right on Hamonic, he's still a second tier guy.

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#128 Quicksilver ballet
June 19 2013, 11:15PM
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@Walter Sobchak

Have to think the Oilers have their list. Depending on needs and who calls....

Garth Snow, the price may be Hamonic

Tallon, try an get Gudbranson.

Winnipeg...Bogosian

Montreal....Galchenyuk

Boston.....Seguin

Philly....Couturier etc etc etc.

Hard to believe over the last 3 yrs, the Oil have failed to do something additional on their own to have even one shoe drop in their favour.

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#129 NewAgeSys
June 20 2013, 08:17AM
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Gregor, I sincerely hope you returned those dentures to the members of the Round Table, without them we are doomed.

Holy Snickerdoodles!

Thats a pretty impressive group of Choppers someone collected, no wonder we havent been hearing so much in the media from the Round Table lately. I wondered how the hell the Oilers suddenly learned how to dynamiclly manage their media presentations so optimally , now I know, ha ha ha.

Did someone kidnapp those suckers and hold them for Ransom and is this how we really got Eakins signed here? Wow talk about revolutionary NewAge Dynamic Managment tactics, ha ha aha.

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#130 Tikkanese
June 20 2013, 08:41AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Wow, i'm not sure where you went to school, but i'd be asking for a refund if I was you.

385 gms played, with a grand total of 209 pts.

That certainly screams a point a game player to me. Let me apologise to all the mathletes on this forum.

209 divided by six, equals about 35 pts a season, correct? Isn't that what Tom Gilbert would get you if he played with Crosby and Malkin.

I didn't cherry pick any stats. Instead of a small sample size, I chose to include his NHL career to date. Hope this is still accurate according to your world.

You are still comparing Gilbert to Letang!?! Do you even watch hockey?

I didn't say he was a Point Per Game player over his career, I said he nearly was over the last two seasons(80P in 85GP, plus 21P in 21GP in post season). Something Gilbert couldn't do playing on the wing with Malkin and Crosby on the same line, let alone on Defence. Maybe learn to read before childishly telling people to get a refund on their schooling.

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#131 NewAgeSys
June 21 2013, 10:28PM
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I just caught myself daydreaming about Phaneuf taking hammer throws at the Flames for the next 5 years and it looks pretty good to me.

I know its off the wall but there does seem to be some symmetry to it all, and much like Torres Phaneuf has the inate ability to remove men from the game, come playoff time those types of men are coveted dearly. Not just hard hitting, but impactfull hitting. A potential mini-Pronger when coached right.

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#132 Racki
June 27 2013, 05:11PM
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I get that the asking price for a guy like Letang has to be something along the lines of the deal you suggested, Jason...

But for me, I'm thinking.. Petry is a pretty solid D (maybe not a top line D, but a good 2nd pairing for sure), and that #7 pick could wind up being a good centreman. So I'm thinking.. damn, we're improving a decent amount at defense, for sure, but we're giving up a potential #2 center, and another player as well.

I don't know if that makes enough sense for the Oilers. It's the kind of deal that needs to be done to bring an elite D here without drafting or overpaying in free agency though. But, call me crazy, I don't think I would do that deal.

Actually, if the Oilers managed to sign someone like Weiss or a solid 2-way guy for 2nd line C beforehand, then yah, I would do it (because of the draft timing, and such, they'd have to trade for the C, however, unless Pittsburgh was fine with taking who we picked).

But yah, I'd probably take Phaneuf instead, if the deal is easier on the team to trade for him.

damn it Lowetide.. I just realized I followed a link on his page to an old thread. lol!

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