Let’s make a deal

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It’s far more likely Edmonton Oilers GM Kevin Lowe will make a trade for a significant roster player at the 2008 Entry Draft than it is he’ll swing a deal to move up from 22nd in selection order.

Lowe has never moved up, although it’s not for lack of trying—he toasted his cell phone in 2003 trying to get a crack at Ryan Suter, Dion Phaneuf or Braydon Coburn before moving down to take Marc Pouliot over, ahem, Zach Parise.

With a glut of second- and third-line forwards and depth on defence, Lowe said his week he’d consider moving assets in a three-for-one or even four-for-one deal—a top-three forward is the target.

“It’s a matter of me and the organization trying to do our best to manage the assets, improve the hockey team,” he said.

“If that means getting into a situation where we move a couple, maybe three or four assets for one or two coming back, a player and a draft pick or something, that might be a good thing.”

Joni Pitkanen is Lowe’s best bargaining chip because there’s still people around the NHL who don’t laugh out loud when the phrase “future Norris Trophy candidate” is attached to his name.

Puck-movers who skate as well as Pitkanen are at a premium and the Oilers are in a position—assuming Sheldon Souray doesn’t slip and fall in the shower and Tom Gilbert and Denis Grebeshkov continue to develop—to shop him in a package and see what the returns might be.

A source in the east who I know and trust says there’s already been inquiries about Pitkanen. That doesn’t mean Lowe has something on the table, but the schmoozing that went on at a meeting of GMs last week is bound to turn into more substantial talks by draft time.

As for possibilities, I’m with Team 1260 loudmouth Bob Stauffer in thinking the Ottawa Senators are prime candidates as trading partners. The name being mentioned, of course, is Jason Spezza.

More in coming days…

Done Deals

Lowe trades leading up to and at the draft.

June 24, 2006: Acquire 3rd round pick in 2006 (Theo Peckham) from Atlanta for a 3rd round pick and 7th round pick in 2006.

June 21, 2003: Trade 17th overall pick to New Jersey for the 22nd pick (Pouliot) and the 68th pick (J.F. Jacques).

June 23, 2002: Jochen Hecht to Buffalo for the 31st pick (Jeff Deslauriers) and the 36th pick (forward Jarret Stoll) in 2002. Trade the 14th pick to Montreal for the 15th pick (Jesse Niinimaki) and the 245th pick (Tomas Micka).

June 18, 2002: Trade a third-round choice in 2003 and a conditional selection in 2004 to Philadelphia for Jiri Dopita.

June 24, 2000: Roman Hamrlik to the New York Islanders for Josh Green, Eric Brewer and New York’s second pick (Brad Winchester) in 2000.

June 12, 2000: Fifth-round draft choice in 2000 to Nashville for Patrick Cote.

Just Asking

  • What was Aaron Downey doing after Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final guzzling champagne in Detroit’s dressing room while wearing equipment? Downey didn’t play, so what’s with the gear? Did the equipment crew spray on fake sweat, too?
  • Why did people insist on comparing the Penguins to the 1983 Oilers? As Glen Sather told Jim Matheson in the Journal last week, it’s a bogus angle. Three seasons from now, 2010–11, there won’t be more than six players remaining from the team that lost to Detroit.
  • Why would the Oilers pay Curtis Glencross more than $1 million when they have a cheaper, younger alternative—with more upside—like Pouliot in the mix? Enjoy Florida or Carolina, Curtis.
  • What is it, exactly, Craig MacTavish sees in Marty Reasoner? As MacT said last week, “I want Marty back!” It’s so mind-boggling, I’m tempted to go for an MRI to see if I’ve lost my brain.

—Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 5pm on Total Sports with Bob Stauffer on Team 1260.

  • Jonathan – The Oil have sucked for the last 2 yrs. Apart from
    gag/cog how is their drafting record? Their 1st rounders can’t even make a team that has both sucked and suffered more injuries than Custer’s troops. You may be taking you’re press clippings a little too seriously.

    Yes let's look at their 1st rounders:

    2007 – Gagner, Plante, Nash.
    Gagner's been amazing, and Nash looks like a keeper after a nice NCAA year. Plante was injured most of the season.

    2006 – none, 1st pick was Jeff Petry @ 45. Petry is ranked as the #1 prospect af HF and looks like a solid option going forward

    2005 – Cogliano. Had an impressive rookie year.

    2004- Dubnyk & Schremp. Dubnyk had some bumps in the road in his first AHL season, and Schremp is still a decent prospect after his best pro season.

    2003- Pouliot. Pouliot, while one of the few iffy 1st rounders in the '03 draft, has spent significant time on the team in the last two years.

    2002- Niinimaki. Unmitigated disaster.

    2001- Hemsky. 1st line RW and possibly the most talented player on the team.

    So of the 9 players selected, 1 is a complete bust, 5 are still decent prospects, and 3 are NHL'ers. Really fairly respectable. Add to that some later picks turning out good, and we see a good job by the scouting department.

    Incidentally, I've done a series on every draft pick under Kevin Lowe over he past two months, so it's hardly a case of "You may be taking you’re press clippings a little too seriously".

  • fyvmvv

    Jonathan – I am not inclined to be quite as optimistic as you seem to be on some of the guys the Oil have drafted. I'm rather more pissed off with the players they have recently passed up in the draft. For example, would Getzlaf or Parise play and develop like Pouliot? Part-time AHLer/4th liner? What was that decision based on? The phases of the moon, a moving story or poor scouting? I think some scout fell in love with Pouliot because he played hard on a shitty junior team. Big deal. Another bad decision on an underdog player. Where would we be if the Oilers had either of those 2 players? With E-town's poor reputation throughout the league (deserved or not) I think they are going to have to develop through the draft more than other teams because UFA's show little interest in coming to Alberta. I live here and I love it but I guess I just don't get their issue with living here for 8 months and making more ducats in one year than the last 3 generations of my whole family. RFA's are way too expensive with 3 or maybe more draft picks and a box car of cash to get them here. Souray and Penner are prairie boys who are no strangers to life here and they got paid way more than they are worth just because of the E-town factor. I don't see them refunding money back because they are from here. For players who absolutely have to have a palm tree in their back yard Edmonton will never be on their radar. Frankly I question Lowe's effect on getting players to sign here with his record of bickering and public conflicts with players and agents. Currently this organization has way too many tweeners and the team has to get much better. Read more skilled. If that is going to happen the Oiler mgmt and the fans are going to have drop this 'push the underdog mentality' and allow the team to get much more skilled. Some people are going to have to go(Reasoner). We will have to stop idealizing(Torres) and overvaluing(Pisani) these guys and putting them on some sort of pedestal(Stoll). Is this about winning hockey or keeping traffic pylons on the team for 'Auld Lang Sine'.

    So polish up your crystal ball and view it through your rose-coloured glasses if you must, oh sagacious one…we shall see what we shall see. There is a world of if's in your point of view. Obviously recent drafts are better. Even by your own tally you have to admit that prior to the last 2-3 years you can go a long way back to find 1st round success stories. Happy hockey pucks.

  • For example, would Getzlaf or Parise play and develop like Pouliot? Part-time AHLer/4th liner? What was that decision based on? The phases of the moon, a moving story or poor scouting? I think some scout fell in love with Pouliot because he played hard on a shitty junior team. Big deal. Another bad decision on an underdog player.

    An "underdog" player that was a consensus first round pick, by people like Redline Report, The Hockey News, Bob McKenzie, etc. This wasn't an off the charts selection, it just didn't work out and the Oilers were hardly the only ones who had him that high.

    You say we should have picked Getlaf or Parise. I agree. That said, I'd argue that all teams miss – Anaheim, for example, took Stanislav Chistov 5th overall in 2001, eight spots before Hemsky, and passed on Jack Johnson, Carey Price, Anze Kopitar and Marc Staal to take Bobby Ryan 2nd in 2005.

    I imagine you'd be saying the same thing if the Cogliano pick at 25 had failed. "I imagine some scout fell in love with a fast small competitive kid, not realizing that he wasn't as good as he looked because he played against inferior competition in the OJHL." Some picks wqork out, others don't. The Oilers percentage is pretty good.

    So polish up your crystal ball and view it through your rose-coloured glasses if you must, oh sagacious one…we shall see what we shall see. There is a world of if’s in your point of view. Obviously recent drafts are better. Even by your own tally you have to admit that prior to the last 2-3 years you can go a long way back to find 1st round success stories. Happy hockey pucks.

    Yes, I'm quite the incurable optimist. I'm practically shouting from rooftops that if the Oilers don't pick up a top-4 defenseman, the playoffs are really iffy, and I rip Lowe for all kinds of sins. As to that "world of ifs"- what ifs?