Why Columbus is a great trading partner for Edmonton

Jonathan Willis
June 02 2013 11:33AM

There probably isn’t a team in the NHL that is a more logical trading partner for the Edmonton Oilers than the Columbus Blue Jackets. Lots of draft picks? Check. Good players on iffy contracts that could be dealt? Check. Strength on defence? Check. Executives with knowledge of the team? Check. All the ingredients are in place.

Draft Picks

Columbus has the following picks at this year’s entry draft:

  • First round, 14th overall
  • First round, 19th overall
  • First round, 27th overall*
  • Second round, 44th overall
  • Fourth round, 105th overall
  • Sixth round, 165th overall
  • Seventh round, 195th overall

*The exact position of the Los Angeles Kings’ first round draft pick is still unknown.

If the Oilers plan to move down for draft picks only, Columbus has a nice stockpile of first-round selections. If they want to move down to add a player and a pick, again the Blue Jackets are a logical trading partner.

Players

R.J. Umberger. I’ve written about the possibility of the Oilers acquiring Umberger from Columbus before, and believe it’s the kind of move that could benefit both teams. From a Blue Jackets’ perspective, a primary reason he’s vulnerable is contract – he comes with a $4.6 million cap hit for the next four years, he’s 31 and Columbus isn’t a cap team (Umberger has been mentioned as a potential buyout candidate, though that strikes me as unlikely). He also had a bit of a down year offensively (31-point pace over an 82-game season after five years between 40 and 57 points).

From an Oilers perspective, Umberger fits a lot of criteria. Positionally, he has spent significant time at both left wing and centre, meaning he could slot in behind Taylor Hall on the port side (and perhaps help Sam Gagner by taking some draws for him) or he could move to the middle if needed. He’s a reasonably good volume shooter: he’s fired 200+ shots in each of the four seasons before this one. He’s also a career 10.7 percent shooter, which is why he scored between 20-26 goals in each of the four seasons prior to this one. He’s a two-way player used to playing tough minutes (defensive zone starts, good opponents, penalty kill) and he also plays a reasonably physical style. Topping it all off: he stands 6’2” and weighs 220 pounds.

Ryan Johansen. A 6’3”, 203 pound centre, Johansen was the fourth overall pick in the 2010 draft and a guy the Oilers have reportedly always coveted to at least some degree. He hasn’t delivered offensively at the NHL level but is a big young centre with undeniable talent.

Boone Jenner. Another big centre, Jenner is a prospect it’s difficult to imagine the Blue Jackets turning over. The 6’2”, 204 pound Jenner has always been of interest as a big defensive forward, but last season evolved into a player capable of producing high-end offence (45 goals in 56 games) at the junior level.

The defence. The Blue Jackets are strong on the blue line and have a number of players that might be of interest to Edmonton. James Wisniewski’s big money contract makes him expendable; he’s still a top-four defenceman with significant offensive talent and decent size (6’, 208 pounds). Other players are less likely to be available (or less desirable, in the case of Jack Johnson), but Fedor Tyutin would be a phenomenal acquisition for the Oilers and Nikita Nikitin is underrated.

Connections

The other obvious connection is Scott Howson – Craig MacTavish’s top lieutenant just finished up a long stretch as the Jackets’ general manager. He knows the players on the team – he acquired a lot of them – he knows their prospect system and he also likely has a better idea of the financial situation of the team than anybody else outside the organization.

None of this is any guarantee that a trade will be made, but there’s no doubt that the Blue Jackets match up very well as a potential trade partner for the Oilers.

Recently around the Nation Network

At Canucks Army, Jeff Angus has been running a series looking at potential trades involving Vancouver defenceman Alex Edler. In Trading Alex Edler: Who To Target, Part II, the Edmonton Oilers get a prominent mention:

Would the Canucks move Edler for Eberle? Would Edmonton? Would the trade make Vancouver significantly better? I think it would improve Edmonton’s team considerably – no slight to Eberle, but a two-way puck mover like Edler would be exactly what the doctor ordered (or has been trying to order for years) for the Oilers. Would the Canucks move Edler for Gagner and Paajarvi? Generally, the team receiving the best player in a trade wins the deal, so this probably isn’t one that would interest Mike Gillis a whole lot.

While the idea of running Alex Edler/Jeff Petry and Ladislav Smid/Justin Schultz is much more appealing than the current mix, my trouble with trading for a guy like Edler would be that I don't trust him as a defensive defenceman. He has real offensive tools, but even in highly favourable usage under Alain Vigneault the Canucks have been better off with other defencemen on the ice. 

Click the link above to read the whole piece, or feel free check out some of my other pieces here:

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 Walter Sobchak
June 02 2013, 07:49PM
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Mikey wrote:

I would love to see Dubinsky in Edmonton. Him and Boyd Gordon. And Eric Fehr.

Just to add to my Previous post Dubinsky is Young, 27. will fight, hit, has a competative edge to his game.

What's not to like about this guy, was born in ALaska so winter wont be a huge problem.

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#52 Samson Loveblast
June 02 2013, 09:17PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

My bad otter, I miss read a tweet from a buddy.

Good to know that he isn't off the market.

IMO Bickell and his agent would be crazy not to test the waters in UFA.

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#53 stretch14
June 02 2013, 09:52PM
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Lay off the sauce Willis! This article is even worse than the Havlat one and by the looks of it took just as long to write.

Are the Oilers and Blue Jackets good trading partners on the surface? Sure, maybe if the Oilers want to move down in the draft which is a dumb idea to begin with unless CBJ is willing give up the 14th and 19th picks for #7 and even then I'm hesitant.

Do you really think taking on the bloated contracts of Umberger and Wisniewski are going get the Oilers back in the playoffs? Even taking on one of those will be terrible for our cap situation a couple years down the road.

You think that the Blue Jackets are clamouring to give up good young talent like Johansen and Jenner to the Oilers? What are we going to give without subtracting anything significant from our roster?

Since when is Aucoin, Erixon,Nikitin, Prout, Tyutin and Wisnieswki considered a "strong defense" to the point where they feel they have the depth to give up a roster play for picks/prospects? Even with Murray in the pipeline.

And lastly did you use the words phenomenal and Tyutin the same sentence?

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#54 OilLeak
June 02 2013, 09:56PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

7th and Paajarvi for Ryan Murray?*

*wakes from dream.

Pooling some assets for MacKinnon perhaps?

What exactly has Ryan Murray proved so far to garner such a return. Shoulder surgery? Dear lord the trades proposed here are 1 step forward 2 steps back.

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#55 OilLeak
June 02 2013, 10:01PM
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DSF wrote:

Columbus has to give up their 27th AND a player to get Paajarvi?

Put down the pipe son.

DSF, comments like these is where you lose rationality. Jenner has proved nothing at this point so Paajarvi is worth much more. A Paajarvi for Johansen trade would be pretty close to equal value, but I'm not sure I would make that trade.

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#56 NewAgeSys
June 02 2013, 10:10PM
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clyde wrote:

As much as I am not a Hemsky fan, he is one of the best at driving the def off that blueline when he is motivated and you wonder how much that would be missed? Eberle shows capabilities to pick up the slack there.

I agree Eberle is showing this ability but he isnt elite and on his line Hall is as one of our three elite zone traversing and entry players we need to spread out.

The main thrust I have for keeping Hemsky here is that he can play into the top 6 and because of his skillset and individual possesion scoring ability he can dominate other teams from the 3rd line spot and win us games from there,Hemsky doesnt really need his linemates to set him up to score,he is a one-off guy who will always gain the zone and when he does shoot he scores well,he needs muscle on the 3rd line or any line he is on to gain real estate in front and recieve his consistant passes he makes all game long when he cant tuck it in as he dominates the zone.We can deal Smyth and Horcs but we need Hemmer on the 3rd line,we can give him Moroz and another beast but we need his zone entrys.

I dont want Hemmer here as a top 6 forward.I want him here as a 3rd line catalyust as I did last year after the first 3 games were done and i saw the need.

Championship teams have guys like Hemmer on their 3rd lines for just these reasons of dominance,the idea is to beat the opponent on all four lines over 60 mins,not compete .Hemmers skills let us seal up the 3rd line as our win,we dominate with him there,out top 2 lines will have to carry the ball like they are paid to do,and Hemmer can stay one dimensional as he is elite like that.On the 3rd we WANT him to do what comes naturally,in the top 6 we need to micro-manage him and he cant deal with it constantly.

Hall made Hemmer expendable as the 1st line zone entry catalyst.MPS has the size and defensive awareness to present a different look that we need on the 2nd line,so that means hemmer is on the 3rd line or gone.

I like Eberles habits especially when he pauses on the halfwall,but he has nowhere near the consistancy of our top 3 zone entry men yet,these are the guys who CANNOT be consistantly stopped by good defenses and they force adjstments to be made.Hall has speed like Hemmer and can score,MPS has SIZE that creates more space naturally , speed and is defensively aware,Hemmer has speed and passes consistantly.Those 3 are what we have to work with on the elite level.And those are the intangibles i see them bringing.

We dont even have a man like this for the 4th line yet and we need one there,we cant really create another hole now.

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#57 Smokey
June 02 2013, 10:17PM
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Oilcan wrote:

Does anyone else think NewAgeSys is just using a hockey thesaurus to make sentences to try and prove a point.

Could have some valid points but I find myself skipping over the 500 page novel with incoherent sentences for better comments.

He's been pretty good lately. He's been more concise. I've found myself actually reading his comments. He's gone from writing a Thesis to giving us the Coles notes.

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#58 Hair bag
June 02 2013, 10:25PM
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Oilcan wrote:

Does anyone else think NewAgeSys is just using a hockey thesaurus to make sentences to try and prove a point.

Could have some valid points but I find myself skipping over the 500 page novel with incoherent sentences for better comments.

I started skipping right over his posts completely months ago...even if there is the odd valid point, it isn't worth the time

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#59 DSF
June 02 2013, 10:29PM
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OilLeak wrote:

DSF, comments like these is where you lose rationality. Jenner has proved nothing at this point so Paajarvi is worth much more. A Paajarvi for Johansen trade would be pretty close to equal value, but I'm not sure I would make that trade.

Oh, good grief.

Paajarvi's upside is a 3rd line winger.

No one is going to trade a first round pick AND a promising centre prospect to get a 3rd line winger.

NO ONE.

Get a grip.

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#60 NewAgeSys
June 02 2013, 11:04PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

you forgot the PART about being a 5'7" dude with a bit of a weight problem but STILL somehow being able to rival the top NFL prospects in terms of average 40 yard dash time.

Nice of you to remember some of the good stuff,dont forget the parts about training with and competing against Olympic caliber sprinters,CFL level players,Team Canada level Rugby players,New Zealand All-Blacks,oodles of hockey guys,most who never made it to the NHL a few who did,not to mention a little coaching of both mens and womens sports teams thrown in for fun.Oh yes and come on now be more accurate I was running at about 190 lbs when I was hitting 4.6 /40s.I couldnt maintain that at over 200lbs,but dam close.

There was the Football named Palmer,who was the only ball player to top me endirance.I have had associations with NHL players but choose to keep them out of my conversations because I never played hockey and didnt compete directly against them or train with them.But they were around.

There was the unofficial Canadian javelin record I threw at 14,oh hell I cant remember everything.

Who the hell would listen to someone who hadnt accomplished anything?Some people BS online and some dont.I dont.

If you nitpick enough my memory might slip a tad here or there like anyone,I am a bit long in the tooth.But generally you will get the same schtick from me.Yes I turned down scholarships and overseas Professional playing opportunitys before i was old enough to get into the bar.

I never really thought much of my path,and never ever brought it up until I began posting online,everyone is a competitor and has a story,I like to let people know where I am coming from,and i dont care if they BS me about themselves,I am not here to play Maury Pauvich with the cyber-polygraph.

As a competitor you wouldnt have gotten a word out of me unless you were a teammate in the room or an opponent on the field or court.I NEVER spoke up about my own accomplishments,not ever, it was a superstitious thing with me,and tacticlly and dynamiclly unsound.I wouldnt even talk shop after my shower,never.Total disconnect the minute i was dried off everything stayed with the towel,no carryover at all,I played to many sports to dwell on things for very long without screwing with the next domino.

The NewAge Hockey System didnt come blowing out of me arse 3 years ago and just land on the Oilers site by fluke prior to my unholy banning as many probably wish it had,it is a product of a well versed and dominant competative and coaching mindset,one used to winning,and if possible crushing opponents.I created the NHS FOR the Oilers.,ha ha ha.

I never played hockey so ,obviously on a hockey site I have a lot of fun trying to keep up to everyone in some areas,but the dynamic is reversed in an equal number of areas when it comes to understanding the winning formula as applied to all competative dynamics because I own that area when up against traditional hockey mindsets,I specialised in dissecting that specific mindset as i grew up,most good athletes were hockey brainwashed.It gave me a real edge,because they all think alike,its the quality coaching across the board,ha ha ha.I admittedly used to pick on hockey players for sport.Why not they were the biggest challenge?2nd only to unholy freaking Lacrosse Players,gotta love em always trying to hurt you ,hey I forgot to mention my friend and training partner who played for the Seaspray....oh forget about it,you will quit believing me soon ha ha ha ha.Oh yea I forgot,you already dont believe me,ha ha ha,thats cool.

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#61 Wax Man Riley
June 02 2013, 11:13PM
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NewAgeSys wrote:

Nice of you to remember some of the good stuff,dont forget the parts about training with and competing against Olympic caliber sprinters,CFL level players,Team Canada level Rugby players,New Zealand All-Blacks,oodles of hockey guys,most who never made it to the NHL a few who did,not to mention a little coaching of both mens and womens sports teams thrown in for fun.Oh yes and come on now be more accurate I was running at about 190 lbs when I was hitting 4.6 /40s.I couldnt maintain that at over 200lbs,but dam close.

There was the Football named Palmer,who was the only ball player to top me endirance.I have had associations with NHL players but choose to keep them out of my conversations because I never played hockey and didnt compete directly against them or train with them.But they were around.

There was the unofficial Canadian javelin record I threw at 14,oh hell I cant remember everything.

Who the hell would listen to someone who hadnt accomplished anything?Some people BS online and some dont.I dont.

If you nitpick enough my memory might slip a tad here or there like anyone,I am a bit long in the tooth.But generally you will get the same schtick from me.Yes I turned down scholarships and overseas Professional playing opportunitys before i was old enough to get into the bar.

I never really thought much of my path,and never ever brought it up until I began posting online,everyone is a competitor and has a story,I like to let people know where I am coming from,and i dont care if they BS me about themselves,I am not here to play Maury Pauvich with the cyber-polygraph.

As a competitor you wouldnt have gotten a word out of me unless you were a teammate in the room or an opponent on the field or court.I NEVER spoke up about my own accomplishments,not ever, it was a superstitious thing with me,and tacticlly and dynamiclly unsound.I wouldnt even talk shop after my shower,never.Total disconnect the minute i was dried off everything stayed with the towel,no carryover at all,I played to many sports to dwell on things for very long without screwing with the next domino.

The NewAge Hockey System didnt come blowing out of me arse 3 years ago and just land on the Oilers site by fluke prior to my unholy banning as many probably wish it had,it is a product of a well versed and dominant competative and coaching mindset,one used to winning,and if possible crushing opponents.I created the NHS FOR the Oilers.,ha ha ha.

I never played hockey so ,obviously on a hockey site I have a lot of fun trying to keep up to everyone in some areas,but the dynamic is reversed in an equal number of areas when it comes to understanding the winning formula as applied to all competative dynamics because I own that area when up against traditional hockey mindsets,I specialised in dissecting that specific mindset as i grew up,most good athletes were hockey brainwashed.It gave me a real edge,because they all think alike,its the quality coaching across the board,ha ha ha.I admittedly used to pick on hockey players for sport.Why not they were the biggest challenge?2nd only to unholy freaking Lacrosse Players,gotta love em always trying to hurt you ,hey I forgot to mention my friend and training partner who played for the Seaspray....oh forget about it,you will quit believing me soon ha ha ha ha.Oh yea I forgot,you already dont believe me,ha ha ha,thats cool.

AND...

He threw 4 TOUCHDOWNS in a single game at Polk High!

It is still a record.

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#62 OilClog
June 02 2013, 11:26PM
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I'd say Magnus is still a promising prospect himself that has graduated and can play on the 2nd line or 3rd depending on assignment and contribute effectively. This has now been proven alil more this past season.. Meaning if I were to trade paajarvi, I'd want atleast a 1st rd pick and a promising prospect.

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#63 Devolution
June 02 2013, 11:28PM
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@NewAgeSys

You are seeing a whole team of psychiatrists aren't you?

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#64 Oiler Al
June 02 2013, 11:31PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Ya..... Bickell signed an extension earlier today.

Thanks.. didnt pick up on that... no real surprise I guess... there goes another good one.

I still would not touch Umberger.

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#65 NewAgeSys
June 02 2013, 11:42PM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

AND...

He threw 4 TOUCHDOWNS in a single game at Polk High!

It is still a record.

Ha ha ha ha,no,I was an undersized Defensive End.

And it was the Most Outstanding Male Athlete title in High School,not a record,and not Polk High but close,ha ha ha.

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#66 NewAgeSys
June 03 2013, 12:15AM
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@Devolution

@ Devolution.

That sounds like a challenge Punk-- do you play shuffleboard by chance?

You dont want any of this action kiddo,ha ha ha,Dynamic Fiber catalysed Tactics make for a mean game of Shuffleboard you know.

@Oilcog MPS is evolving to fast to neglect now he needs solid 2nd line time for 82 games,his size defensive awareness and upper end speed cannot be easily replaced in one package,he has significantly increased in value,and its because of his truly hardnosed and sustained play all year long,he is establishing himself as being willing to go to the dirty greasy areas with speed and power,and he selectively challenges d-men head on now aggressively at the right times,his decision making acumen has improved and so has his work ethic and leadership skills he is very reactive to the coaches and accountable to them,he is trending upwards nicely.Your valuation is solid.

I really want to see Kharkov in the NHL and Moroz,we have some reslly big bodies we can ice if they can make the grade.I am not afraid to make changes if one of these guys breaks in and over a current roster player in the bottom 6.

I am not sure Mac-T will be so quick to make any moves that arent blockbuster sized,and dont think for a minute that for the right price we couldnt see anyone packing their bags and heading out of town,as we all very well know can happen.We have enough skill now that an all-star top 5 elite NHL d-man would pull the trigger on anyone except Nuge.

Does Columbus have any face-off aces on the roster or in their system anywhere?

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#67 GG
June 03 2013, 12:28AM
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And I am the King of France

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#68 striker777
June 03 2013, 02:44AM
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@DSF

From everything I've seen, Columbus no longer has time for Johansen. In fact, they're sitting him out on their farm club. I understand tendency to overvalue other teams' players, but I don't understand under-valuing our own players. Paajarvi finally understood what he has to do in order to succeed in the NHL. I am not even sure we should be moving him, and this trade proposal was just an example.

(Sorry for misspelling Belov above. Damn auto-correct).

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#69 Woogie63
June 03 2013, 07:13AM
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Johanson and Exiron are the age and positions we need to improve on our team. If they have given up on Johanson and Exiron seems to be the "throw-in" player. Could a hockey trade be made for MPS and one of our "throw-in" players?

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#70 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
June 03 2013, 07:20AM
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@NewAgeSys

a simple "i understand this is the internet and there is probably nobody that cares" would have sufficed.

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#71 Oilcan
June 03 2013, 09:16AM
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NewAgeSys wrote:

Ha ha ha ha,no,I was an undersized Defensive End.

And it was the Most Outstanding Male Athlete title in High School,not a record,and not Polk High but close,ha ha ha.

The award is somewhat controversial in the high school still, being that it was an all girls boarding school....Moustache Molly was a close second.

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#72 vetinari
June 03 2013, 10:59AM
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Columbus does look like a logical trading partner but somehow I doubt anything will come to pass between now and July because there seems to be a complete lack of chatter going on between the teams right now.

If anything, I could see a trade between these strictly for picks (maybe their 14th and 44th pick for our 7th or maybe their 14th and 19th for our 7th and 37th).

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#74 NewAgeSys
June 03 2013, 01:05PM
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GG wrote:

And I am the King of France

Ha ha ha ha,thats cool,and guess what we are related s scary as that is for me,because I happen to be directly related to the Queen of England ,actually several members of my family have sat on the Throne of Merry Olde England.Doesnt that just tickle your funny bone,eh??

jesus this is even getting spooky for me,every time the stakes go up I seem to be trumping,MMmm,thats odd isnt it?

Under the right catastrophic circumstances I could techniclly become King of England,as could others in my Family,you would have to see the demise of a hell of a lot of people in line first but the template is there already by birth.The NHS has a chance after all,ha ha ha haa.

Remeber I said I dont BS,I have to ask you for the record are YOU really the King of France?

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#75 NewAgeSys
June 03 2013, 01:16PM
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Oilcan wrote:

The award is somewhat controversial in the high school still, being that it was an all girls boarding school....Moustache Molly was a close second.

There was no close second ,ha ha ha.There was a second alright,ha ha ha,but it wasnt close by an epic margin.

I devoted extra-curricular time as well as credited curricular time on coaching Womens teams,ha ha ha,funny you say that because at times it sure did feel like an All-Girls Boarding School,but every job has its downside right?I tried to manage as best I could.I dont remember a Molly,but there was the odd stache that popped up here and there from time to time,it takes many colors to make a Rainbow right?

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#76 TigerUnderGlass
June 03 2013, 03:09PM
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DSF wrote:

Oh, good grief.

Paajarvi's upside is a 3rd line winger.

No one is going to trade a first round pick AND a promising centre prospect to get a 3rd line winger.

NO ONE.

Get a grip.

I agree with you for most of this comment except regarding Paajarvi's upside, since he is already a 3rd line winger and still may have top six upside.

I'd like to point out that you often seem to use the term "upside" as having a different definition depending on the point you're trying to make.

Paajari certainly doesn't bring Johansen and the 7th but Paajarvi for Johansen straight up is not entirely outrageous. I wouldn't do it if I'm Columbus, but...

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#77 stretch14
June 03 2013, 06:18PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

If I understand your position correctly:

1) The Oilers can't trade the 7th overall pick.

2) The Oilers can't trade anything significant off their roster.

3) $4.6 million is a bloated contract for a second-line winger.

Well, gosh, if all that's correct the Oilers really are toast. They're only allowed to move insignificant assets and can't take on anybody making even modest money.

Also, yes, Fedor Tyutin would be a phenomenal acquisition for the Oilers. I don't think it's doable, but he'd help a lot.

Not surprisingly you don't understand correctly, good attempt to put words in my mouth though.

1) The Oilers can trade the 7th pick. I'd love to trade up or get a good roster player. Personally, I don't think trading down is a good idea.

2) The Oilers can trade something significant from their roster but it will just open another hole to fill. You can trade a Sam Gagner for a Ryan Johansen but that's pretty much a wash and considering where both players are at right now, it's not going to improve the Oilers for next season where it's playoffs or bust. The Oilers are at the point where they need to trade picks/prospects for veterans or win a trade like the Blackhawks did with Sharp.

3) Yes, 4.6mil is an overpay for a mediocre winger on the decline with 4 years left on his deal. Considering what the Oilers have tied up in Hall and Eberle and soon Gagner, RNH, Yakupov. Not to mention we don't have any defencemen on big deals yet. You can't have 6 fwd's making upwards of $4.5mil without being in cap hell. If Umberger had 1 or 2 years left on his deal maybe you take that gamble with RNH and Yak still on ELC's but 4 years!? Fuggedabouit.

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