It says here: Brownlee’s off-season predictions

(With the pressure of the stretch drive past him, Lowe turns his attention to the off-season.) If you haven’t lapsed into a coma reading playoff predictions and watching that wretched Maggie the Monkey make fools of hockey insiders on TSN, let’s get down to prognostication that matters in this non-playoff corner of the NHL. Specifically, what we can expect with the Edmonton Oilers between now and when "wait until next year" begins with the opening of training camp in September. After season-ending sessions with coach Craig MacTavish and GM Kevin Lowe, and bolstered by a big dish of inside poop from sources reliable and dubious, here’s what I know, what I think and a combination of both. So, feel free to print these off and stick them to the fridge door beside the grocery list for future reference. Or not.

Take it to the bank

  • Joni Pitkanen is the Oiler most likely to be traded. In fact, I’d be stunned if Pitkanen is around when training camp begins. First, if agent Larry Kelly is looking for a deal that pays $4.5 million a season, as I’m led to believe, he’s overvaluing his client by about $1 million. Pitkanen, despite having the pain threshold of a four-year-old, has cachet around the NHL and could be the centrepiece of a deal that would land the Oilers either a top-six forward or a top-10 pick in the Entry Draft.
  • Lowe isn’t going to trade Jarret Stoll after a miserable season because he simply won’t get anything resembling value in return. Don’t be the least bit surprised, though, if the Oilers take Stoll to arbitration.
  • While Lowe insisted today he isn’t concerned about offer sheets on his restricted free agents this summer after getting Brian Burke’s undies in a bunch by poaching Dustin Penner, he’ll move quickly on signings. Don’t be surprised if Lowe gets Tom Gilbert, Denis Grebeshkov and Robert Nilsson signed to new contracts before July 1.
  • Marty Reasoner is allowed to walk as an unrestricted free agent, leaving Shawn Horcoff, Andrew Cogliano, Stoll and Kyle Brodziak in the middle for 2008–09. It’s Brodziak—who’ll earn just $500,000 next season—who makes Reasoner expendable.
  • Marc Pouliot gets a new two-year deal, and it’s a one-way contract.
  • Rob Schremp gets traded at the Entry Draft.
  • Lowe and Burke will not go for beers or take a long, quiet walk together at the Entry Draft.

It could happen

  • Even though Kelly Buchberger has a year remaining on his contract as the head coach in Springfield of the AHL, he gets promoted to MacTavish’s staff as an assistant.
  • After leaving the coaching staff to take a place in the TV booth as Jim Hughson’s sidekick this season, Craig Simpson returns to the Oilers in a front office position. Think assistant GM.
  • Jay Bouwmeester of Florida and Shea Weber of Nashville are prime candidates for offer sheets.

Worth repeating

"I’ve heard through the grapevine two things. One, being they’re going to give us everything we need to be successful. And that life is short, so let’s get after it." —Lowe, when asked about the transition in ownership from the EIG to Rexall billionaire Daryl Katz next season.

One last thing

Anaheim over Montreal in the Stanley Cup. —Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 5pm on Total Sports with Bob Stauffer on Team 1260.

  • I don't buy it oilers_rule – the guy is getting first line minutes and linemates – is he playing with Hemsky? No. But if he is a star player then he had better produce when the chips are down.

    And he does not.

    Thanks for the answer Robin.

  • The Warrior

    Wow Nice of you to come out of retirement. The Warrior loves to read this stuff but wishes you wern't in semi retirement. an article a day would be nice

  • doritogrande

    oilers_rule:

    Why would Florida be interested in Roloson? They have a #1 in Vokoun who thrives in playing 65+ games a year. They have no more need for a 3.5M backup than we do.

  • oilers_rule

    true, but craig anderson the back up had 17 games since coming out of the "A" and really hasn't proven himself. his GAA is 2.25 and a save % .935. we all know that roli can give you 25-30 games and be pretty consistent. and he wants to play more than he did here. it was just a thought being that it will be hard to move him and jokinen will demand a high price to get.

  • oilers_rule

    Patmc:

    did you ever consider he's not producing because he may be bitter about being stuck ther and not traded? or that he just doesn't want to be there at all? again, like i said above, it was just a thought about a top 6 forward to play alongside of hemmer.

  • OilersNinja

    I see the warrior is so full of himself he requires the need to refer to himself in the 3rd person.

    Bravo Loser

    The OilersNinja enjoyed this article and all the commentary that came along with it. Promotions all arround

    If Joni is not a good fit in the locker room, I see punt him and see what he can get. Sure he possess a rare skill set amoung D man, but if there is no chemistry among his teamates then he is worthless. Although I do enjoy is smooth sleeky puck carrying ways, but if he is weird then lets see what we can get with him.

  • fyvmvv

    I heard on the tube or radio I believe, a discussion of pending ufa's and someone mentioned the Oilers being interested in Huselius. He is slick and creative and may provide some interesting offensive chemistry. I sure don't see him filling a gritty role on this team as Lowe suggested recently he wanted to look to add for next year. I wonder who could be a possible candidate for big time toughness with skill. I think someone like Fedoruk might fit here but they say the Minnie coaching staff love him.

  • RobinB

    As I suggested, the Oilers have got the ink done on one of their key RFAs very early — the team has come to terms on a contract with defenceman Tom Gilbert.
    It will be announced this morning at 11 a.m. Details to follow.

  • Travis Dakin

    Sounds like low is inflating Pitkanen's value aritficially in comparison to get more in return now.

    What is Lowe going to be looking for in return for Pitkanen? Realistically, what could he get?

  • Dom Pittis

    We absolutely need Pitkanen back next year just so we can give the kids one more year of on-the-job training. I'm not sure about inking him longterm because he's oft injured but we shouldn't let him go just yet.

    Everyone can get caught up in the offense Souray provides — and by everyone I mean Robin:) — but Souray doesn't possess a good first pass and he can't lug the puck and his offense cames on the PP. Is the 37-77 combo enough when it comes to lugging the puck and making a good first pass?

    I certainly don't think so.

    As for waiting on the Horc extension, I hope Lowe's not about to make another Smyth like mistakes.

  • RobinB

    I'm not caught up in anything Souray provides. If you think that then you haven't been paying attention.
    I wouldn't have signed a player with an injury history like Souray to a five-year contract, and I've said that since the minute he arrived. The Oilers overpaid for Souray in term and in dollars based largely on the best season of his career — and the numbers he put up came within a Montreal PP system thgat's ticked along fine without him. I've never seen Souray as a great puck-moving D-man.

  • Unknown Author

    All this crapola about 'maybe another offer sheet' from Klowe, but isn't it true that a team cannot sign a player to a sheet 2 years consecutive? Just checking.

  • Dom Pittis

    Good to hear, RB.

    Not sure where you were working at the time but after that deal was signed, I kept waiting for someone in the media to come out and call it like it was: the heights of shit.

    My favorite excuse on the Souray deal comes from Rishaugh who argues you can't judge the player just yet because he was hurt. Apparently, durability does not equal to value in Ryan's world:)

    Anyway, back to my original point, I've liked Pitkanen less as an Oiler than I did as a Flyer but I wasn't watching him every game back then either. I know he has some issues but I still think we need him back for this year.

    Unless we can move some of the 16-14-Schremp surplus for Kubina.

    Or maybe we can just move Kubina for Pitkanen straight up.

  • RobinB

    Dom: Kubina for Pittis straight up? If you want to rid yourself of a talented but somewhat injury-prone player like Pitkanen, why would you trade him for a guy with the same shortcomings?
    Kubina isn't any more durable than Pitkanen, maybe less so. On top of that, Kubina has been a notlorious no-show in the post-season. No thanks.

  • Hemsky is a gangsta

    Brownlee…the same Kubina who played on the top pair of the 2004 Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning? How many post seasons has he even played in outside that one?

    And he's not durable? Last year was the only time in his career he missed 20 games. He's played 70+ for six of the last seven years.

  • RobinB

    Hemsky: The same Kubina who played on the top pair of the 2004 Stanley Cup champion Lightning and had a whopping four assists in 22 post-season games?

    The same Kubina who has **cked the dog to the tune of 1-5-6 and a minus-10 in 38 playoff games?

    The same Kubina who has missed an average of nine games a season since 1998-99 and has played 70-or-fewer games in four of those seasons? Playing 70-plus, or missing up to as many as 12 games a season, is NOT durable. That Kubina?

    I don't mind a challenge on an opinion, but don't even bother if you're going to bring me weak stuff like that.