The trade deadline approacheth


It’s exactly four weeks, or 28 days until the most anticipated day of the year for hockey fans — trade deadline day. And for the first time in a long time it will happen on a Wednesday instead of a Tuesday.

But how many deals will take place? Will the Oilers make a move in the next month to jumpstart their annual playoff push? It’s all but guaranteed the Oilers will make a move, but don’t expect them to land that coveted left-winger to play with Ales Hemsky. If Tamblowe makes that type of acquisition I would be stunned. Will the Flames tinker to ensure they get out of the first round? I think so.

Please don’t waste our time with an Eklund-like tale of Spezza for Grebeshkov and Cole, or some other fabricated rumour from your co-worker’s sister’s housecleaner that Lecavalier is coming to Edmonton.

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Let’s try to look at it realistically. Most teams don’t want to add any salary past this year, so that takes a lot of players out of the equation. Not all of course, but many. So pending UFAs and RFAs will garner the most interest.

In the East there are five teams out of the race right now. The Leafs, Lightning, Senators, Thrashers and Islanders barring a major push in the next month will be sellers, and here are the players that might attract interest.

Along with their contract status after this season, and what their approximate cap hit would be if acquired on the 4th of March.


Mathieu Schneider | D-man | UFA | $1.125 million

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Niclas Havelid | D-man | UFA | $540,000

Colby Armstrong | Forward | RFA | $240,000

Marty Reasoner | Forward | UFA | $200,000

Eric Perrin | Forward | UFA | $150,000

Schneider has the most appeal and will certainly get moved for something. He can quarterback a PP better than most, is a good puck mover and partnered with the right guy he can be solid 5-on-5.

Armstrong will get lots of interest, but if Atlanta deals him that just shows you why Don Waddell should be gone. Armstrong is a great energy guy and Pittsburgh would love to have him back.

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The rest are bit players at best, and depending on a need might garner some interest.

New York Islanders

Bill Guerin | Forward | UFA | $900,000

Doug Weight | Forward | UFA | $350,000

Mike Comrie | Forward | UFA | $800,000

Richard Park | Forward | UFA | $160,000

Guerin has a no movement clause, so he will only go to a team he thinks has a legitimate shot, but expect him to be moved. Weight told me when he was in Edmonton that he would love to stay in Long Island, but wouldn’t be against a move. Translation he will be moved if they find a taker. Both of those veterans could add something. Guerin has 15 goals to date, while Weight is second on the Islanders in points with 34.

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Comrie won’t get as much interest and the Islanders do need to keep some younger forwards around, plus Hillary Duff probably likes having him in New York. Park could be a serviceable 4th liner if a team was looking for depth.


Filip Kuba | D-man | UFA | $600,000

Jason Smith | D-man | One year left | $2.6 next year, $520,000 this year

Chris Neil | Forward | UFA | $240,000

Dean McCammond | Forward | UFA | $180,000

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Neil is clearly the most attractive at almost every team would love what he brings. The Oilers would love to get an energy guy who can fight but can also play a regular shift. Kuba is as good as gone if the Sens can find a taker, and they would love to unload Jason Smith, but his foot speed and his contract for next year will make it tough.

McCammond can still fly, and if a team floats a mid-to-late round pick in Bryan Murray’s direction I could see him leaving. There has been lots of speculation surrounding Spezza being moved, but I’d be stunned if that happens. He’s 25, has scored 90 points three times already and is a top-five playmaking centre. Murray would be an idiot to move him.

Tampa Bay

Olaf Kolzig | Goalie | UFA | $300,000

Gary Roberts | Forward | UFA | $240,000

Mark Recchi | Forward | UFA | $240,000

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Marek Malik | D-man | UFA | $240,000

Matt Pettinger | Forward | UFA | $220,000

Not a stellar list by any stretch. Roberts still has old man strength and is a great character guy, so I can see someone taking a shot on him. Recchi possibly, but his foot speed has deteriorated badly. Kolzig would be a good insurance policy. And I would be stunned if either Lecavalier or St. Louis is moved.

The Bolts would probably take a bag of pucks for any of the other five guys, just to save a bit of money down the stretch, but the long-term pain in dealing either of the big guns would be tough to take. Right now it is more likely that St. Louis gets moved ahead of Lecavalier, but, again, I think that is a stretch.


Nik Antropov | Forward | UFA | $410,000

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Dominic Moore | Forward | UFA | $180,000

Pavel Kubina | D-man | One year left | $5 million next year, $1 million this year

Jason Blake | Forward | Three years left at $4 million | $800,000 this year)

Tomas Kaberle | D-man | Two years left at $4.25 million | $850,000 this year

Brian Burke wants to make a splash so you know he will make a few moves at the deadline. Moore is cheap and has become a pretty good PK guy, but he wouldn’t get lots in return. I can’t see any team really wanting Antropov, but someone might take a flier. Kaberle has a no-movement clause, but his salary is pretty decent and he would attract lots of interest if the Leafs can convince him to be traded. He and coach Ron Wilson don’t get along.

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The other two are wishful thinking on the Leafs’ part and when you consider they both wear numbers higher than 40, then Burke clearly wants to move them. (In case you missed it Burke said last week that he would like no one to wear a number higher than 40. Stupid, but true.)

There are some other teams in the East who might consider being sellers, but at this point these are the sure bets to be out of the race. The interesting team to watch will be Pittsburgh. Remember they came out of nowhere to get Hossa last year, so don’t be surprised if they try to make a statement either way in the next four weeks.

In the West it’s a little harder to determine who the sellers are. Right now, even the 15th place Blues are only six points out of eighth place, but jumping seven teams to get in would be a stretch.

I think there might be four sellers in a month’s time, and maybe less, but here are my four.

St. Louis

Keith Tkachuk | Forward | UFA | $900,000

Dan Hinote | Forward | UFA | $200,000

Andy McDonald | Forward | UFA | $660,000

Brad Winchester | Forward | UFA | $120,000

Manny Legace | Goalie | UFA | $430,000

Tkachuk has a no-move clause, but the right team could persuade him to lift it. I can’t see the Blues signing him next season, unless he takes a big pay cut.

McDonald is the interesting one. The Blues are trying to extend him right now, but if they can’t by the deadline you wonder if they would move him to ensure they get something for him. Hinote is another pest who can play decent enough and would have some cache on the market. Same for Winchester, who is having a career year in St.Louis, but he is only 27 and dirt cheap right now. I suspect the Blues would like to re-sign him to a two-year deal.

The Blues would almost take anything to rid themselves of Legace, and considering there aren’t many UFA goalies that teams would be willing to deal he might garner some slight interest.

Los Angeles

Denis Gauthier | D-man | UFA | $440,000

Sean O’Donnell | D-man | UFA | $250,000

Kyle Calder | Forward | UFA | $540,000

Derek Armstrong | Forward | UFA | $320,000

The Kings aren’t out of it yet, but with only eleven home games left out of 33 I don’t expect them to stick around. All of the Kings best assets are young and Dean Lombardi is not an idiot, so I would be shocked to see him move any of his young guns.

These four don’t exactly make you tingle with excitement, but Gauthier and O’Donnell are veterans who can play tough, and would be added depth on a blueline. Don’t be surprised to see the Wings or Sharks land one of these guys to protect themselves in case of an injury. Armstrong is near the end of his career and would love one last shot at a cup if the Kings can find a taker, while Calder would be a depth guy at best.

None of these guys would be a difference maker, but they might be an unsung guy for one important game during a Cup run.


Steve Sullivan | Forward | UFA | $640,000

Radek Bonk | Forward | UFA | $320,000

Scott Nichol | Forward | UFA | $180,000

Vern Fiddler | Forward | UFA | $150,000

Greg Devries | D-man | UFA | $550,000

Greg Zanon | D-man | UFA | $150,000

The Preds have won a few straight to get them within four points of the final spot, and they desperately want to get to the playoffs so they might not make any moves, but in a month’s time if they’re still six points out with four teams ahead of them then David Poile might have to sell off some assets.

Nichol would be attractive to many teams due to his salary, his tenacity and grit. The Oilers would love a guy like this to bring energy as would many other teams. Bonk is a good draw man and can be a good third- or fourth-line guy. Sullivan is an interesting player. The Preds have got nothing out of him for two years due to injury, so you wonder if they try to at least recoup something. Devries is a willy veteran who could solidify a third pairing. I’m sure lots of teams would take Zanon, who plays 20 minutes a night and is only a -1 in Nashville. Unless the Preds expect him to command a big raise in the off-season I don’t see why they would trade him.


Ian Laperriere | Forward | UFA | $230,000

Tyler Arnason | Forward | UFA | $350,000

Jordan Leopold | D-man | UFA | $300,000

Daniel Tjarnqvist | D-man | UFA | $150,000

Andrew Raycroft | Goalie | UFA | $160,000

Laperriere is a great locker room guy and an energy guy, so I’m sure lots of teams would have interest in him. If a team could predict they would play the Oilers, if they make it, in the first round, then picking up Arnason would be worth it. He plays and produces his best against the Oilers.

Leopold has been a bust since coming to Colorado, and if they could get anything for him they would. He might garner some interest, because when he is healthy, which is rare, he can still move the puck efficiently. Raycroft might be an insurance policy, albeit a risky one. The Avs would love to move Darcy Tucker, who was carved in the Rocky Mountain News last week as being the worst UFA signing in Avs history. He has one year left at $2.2 million so I doubt there will be any takers, but he might be a surprise come the deadline.

These are the nine teams who look to be out of it come Mar. 4, so they would be the best bets to be sellers. There are some other names that could be moved. What will the Hawks do with their goaltending? Can they afford to move Khabibulin? The Habs have eleven UFAs this summer; will Bob Gainey move one or two of them in order to make a big splash?

And will the Wild move Marian Gaborik? He could be the Marian Hossa of this year. Sure he is an injury waiting to happen, but when healthy he is a difference maker, and it sounds like there is little chance he will return to Minny. He should be cleared to return from his hip surgery in late March. Will a team take a chance on him?

He might become the most talked about player leading up to the deadline, because outside of him it doesn’t look like there is another big-name player that will be dealt. Let’s hope not.

  • Greg MC wrote:

    I miss Ryan a lot, but he just isn’t worth the coin that he was demanding, mostly due to his age. The contract that was on the table from the Oil would have been an overpayment itself, with way too long a term.

    I really don't want to re-open the Smyth trade debate, but I'll put it this way: I could accept it intellectually until the Oilers signed Souray. The money was basically the same to the reported deal Smyth wanted (5.5M/yr IIRC, please correct me if I'm wrong), as was the term, and Smyth and Souray have similar injury histories, with Smyth having the edge.

    And this isn't to bash the Souray signing – I still have my issues with it, despite his career year, because I think there are serious questions about whether his surgically reconstructed body will stay in one piece for the duration of his contract. It's just that the public line of "Smyth's too old and injury prone and wants too much money" doesn't make much sense in light of the Souray signing.

    And just to keep this from turning into a Smyth vs. Souray debate, that's not what it should be. The question from that perspective is whether Penner, Nilsson, O'Marra, Plante and 1.25M/yr of cap space were worth Smyth, 1st, 2nd and 3rd round picks.

  • King Mob

    Chaz wrote:

    @ RyanD:
    Agreed. I never understood why the Oil didn’t re-sign Sykora. He even wanted to stay here, although I’m not sure about his wife…

    I think that may have had something to do with Nylander, but I'm not sure.

    And what's all this I hear about Brian Burke not allowing anyone to wear anything above 40? I tried googling it, but nothing came up except porn.

    then again, I did google "Porn+more+porn"

    enlighten me.

  • Travis Dakin

    @ King Mob:

    He made it policy in Anaheim before too. Check all the numbers on their team. He's weird that way too. The exceptions was Rob Niedermyer to stay with #44 because of a grandfather clause.

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    @ GP coach:

    I don't think Katz bought the team just to make a profit, there are much better investments out there for a guy with his kind of cash. I really believe he wants to bring a cup to Edmonton.

  • sittingatmydesk

    Jason Gregor wrote:
    Have fun living your fantasy life, and hopefully your Mom cooks you a nice dinner and tucks you in with your teddy tonight. LOSER.
    OUCH !!!!!!

  • Greg MC

    @ Jonathan Willis:
    At the time, I thought not signing Ryan was the right business decision. I agree with you 100% about the Souray contract. Thanks for the breakdown about the cap space implications of the Smyth trade. Managing the cap dollars is critical short and long term.

  • Cam

    Mike Krushelnyski wrote:

    @ GP coach:
    I don’t think Katz bought the team just to make a profit, there are much better investments out there for a guy with his kind of cash. I really believe he wants to bring a cup to Edmonton.

    the comparison of Ballard to Katz is kind of unfair when you consider that Katz is willing to pay up to the cap. As long as Katz is paying the dough, the blame lies with Klowe, Tambo, and MacT to make a good product.

  • Cam

    Mike Krushelnyski wrote:

    @ GP coach:
    I don’t think Katz bought the team just to make a profit, there are much better investments out there for a guy with his kind of cash. I really believe he wants to bring a cup to Edmonton.

    In other words, GP Ccoach… I agree…

  • Pinto

    The question from that perspective is whether Penner, Nilsson, O’Marra, Plante and 1.25M/yr of cap space were worth Smyth, 1st, 2nd and 3rd round picks.

    This sentence makes it look fairly one sided considering where the picks were for that draft.

  • Ender the Dragon

    Still no real word on Lubo, other than the official statement last night that he had a separated shoulder and Robin's words today that he's not heading out on the up-coming roadtrip. I'm worried; Lubo missed 17 games in 04 with a shoulder injury and hurt it again in 06. Facing a stretch drive where we're hurting for offense is bad enough, but facing it without Lubo is even worse. If he's gone for the regular season, it could be the final nail in the Oilers' chances at a ticket to the Dance.

  • Chris

    Not signing Smyth: debatable. I think it was a mistake myself. At least a big contract to a guy like Smyth gives the young guys coming up something to aspire to…

    Not replacing Smyth: RIDICULOUS! Nilsson with Hemsky? Really? C'mon!

  • GP coach

    Mike Krush/Cam
    I'm not equating Katz with that wackjob Ballard. I think frankly they are from different planets. What I am saying is that TO had a full rink since WW II (yer big war) and that bred a certain kind of corporate arrogance. It's still that way in TO today. I am concerned this has already started to happen here with the Oilers. Ownership and senior management are turf-protecting and have come up with a nauseating compendium of excuses for how many years and we the fans are expected to let media and team know-it-alls tell us the situation is not the situation?. Are they developing a screw-you attitude towards those of us who pony up big bucks? KLowe and MacT's skinny asses should have been kicked out of town some time since the lock-out for lack of performance. When the seats get empty it gets their(ownership's) attention. This mess that has been created is going to take years to correct. Especially if they are going to "improve from within". Read draft and growing some balls. Chicago and Pittsburg have had to perform at the absolute bottom of the league to get where they are now. Do you think Oiler fans are going to patiently sit by and pay the 4th or 5th highest ticket prices in the league for the next 4 or 5 years. I don't.

  • Tencer's Brain Cell

    @ Jonathan Willis:

    Plante was a first. O'Mara was worth about a 3rd rounder when we traded for him. So, the deal is really Penner and Nilson for Smyth and a second. Obviously, Smyth is the best player in that deal, but the two guys we got both had and still have potential.

    The fact is star players don't usually fetch as much as people think they should. Vishnovsky's a better player than Smyth, he was signed for a bunch of years, and the Kings only got Greene and Stoll. Maybe they could've gotten a bit more from another team, and maybe we could've gotten more for Smyth, but the exchange was about what market value.

  • Pokie Reddik

    Jason Gregor wrote:

    Pokie Reddik wrote:
    @ Jason
    So did Jon lose any locker room privlages for his call to axe macT? NO Have some gonads Jason
    Once again you show your complete lack of knowledge. JW doesn’t have a press pass and doesn’t come in the Oilers room, so now he hasn’t had his priviliges (That’s how you spell it Einstein) revoked.
    Speaking of gonads, you were the fraud who came on here stating you actually are on the inside and cover the team. Well FRAUD, like I said you are wannabe poser. In case anyone forgot you are the biggest type of loser. Claiming to be something you are not.
    I suggest no one bother responding to any comment from this poser in the future. You’ve exposed your true colours. Lame…truly lame…I’ve wasted enough time even acknowledging you today. Have fun living your fantasy life, and hopefully your Mom cooks you a nice dinner and tucks you in with your teddy tonight. LOSER.

    at least I'm not after Jamie Nye's job, your the loser with the high squeeky voice.

  • Travis Dakin

    Pokie Reddik wrote:

    at least I’m not after Jamie Nye’s job, your the loser with the high squeeky voice

    Oh dude… seriously…. is that all you have? sh*t man, that is weak.

  • Pokie Reddik wrote:

    at least I’m not after Jamie Nye’s job, your the loser with the high squeeky voice.

    Thanks for re-affirming your lameness. I don't even need to cut you up, since, once again, you have shown how weak of a witty foe you are. Make sure Mommy tucks you in tight tonight.

  • MCG

    Travis Dakin wrote:

    Pokie Reddik wrote:
    at least I’m not after Jamie Nye’s job, your the loser with the high squeeky voice
    Oh dude… seriously…. is that all you have? sh*t man, that is weak.

    You're not after J. Nye's job because YOU'RE (spell much???) not after any job, which you obviously have not. When does you welfare run out?

  • Dropping Deuces

    Don't worry Oil Nation, our 17-6-2 run is right around the corner. We will pick up a 3rd line winger and tough defencemen soon.

    I just watched might ducks 1 with my kid today, does it show.

  • Pokie Reddik

    Travis Dakin wrote:

    Pokie Reddik wrote:
    at least I’m not after Jamie Nye’s job, your the loser with the high squeeky voice
    Oh dude… seriously…. is that all you have? sh*t man, that is weak.

    I try be nice, Like i said before I respect Gregors work. he does do well in the reporting dept, well knowledged in football.

  • RobinB

    Pokie Reddik wrote:

    Travis Dakin wrote:
    Pokie Reddik wrote:
    at least I’m not after Jamie Nye’s job, your the loser with the high squeeky voice
    Oh dude… seriously…. is that all you have? sh*t man, that is weak.
    I try be nice, Like i said before I respect Gregors work. he does do well in the reporting dept, well knowledged in football.

    You try to be nice? Your incoherent ramblings in previous posts here amount to trying to be nice? Read them again. Trying to be nice? You asked to get slapped down, you got slapped down. Then you come back and wanna play nice? Get help.

  • Dennis

    I'll probably take a look at some of these guys tomorrow and their numbers to see who I'd think would fit – at first blush I've always liked Park's work ethic but I'll check out the stats tomorrow – but here's what I've been thinking about for awhile.

    This was probably a tougher sell before 71 went down but now that we're gonna be without him for awhile, maybe this would be easier to swallow.

    I'd like to move 12-18-24 in an effort to lean down on the cap before a possible crunch comes for 2010 and in the process we'd get rid of two costly vets – 18 and 24- whose cap hits will be even more costly percentage-wise if the cap falls. Also, both guys are on the downswing so it would be nice to unload them now. Along the way we try and move 12 for a dman to replace 24 and we also move a pick or marginal prospect and bring back Reasoner.

    Perhaps we can do a little one-stop shopping with the Island and bring in Guerin-Park for a couple of our youngsters and/or picks and then we'd have Guerin-Penner for our top two LW's and one of them plays with 10-83 and the other plays with 89-26. Then we go 78-19-34 for the third line and Park-51-46 on the 4th line.

    The problem is that a guy like Guerin's likely gonna require an overpay because teams go nuts at the deadline. If we were running a little hotter, then I wouldn't mind pulling that trigger to put him in our top two LW because maybe that would vault a 6th place Oilers over a 3rd place Flames in a round one matchup. But with 71's status up in the air, I'm not sure what kind of a difference Guerin or anyone else would make.

    Of course if we didn't have to give up too much to grab him then I'd just shoot first and ask questions later. Money's no longer a concern – it's about the cap and not budget – and bringing him in wouldn't retard the development of anyone else. The only question is what's going back the other way.

  • rindog

    @ Jason Gregor:

    How come you don't think anyone would want Antropov?

    He has consistently improved his production every year. He is +53 in his career with the leafs (that is almost amazing considering the teams he has played on) and this is the only year he has been a minus player.

    He's cheap.

    He seems to have a fairly high "compete" level.

    He's huge!!!

    He has good hands/shot.

    He just seems like a guy that could use a change of scenery (and a guy like Hemsky to play with).

    The question for me isn't if we would want him – it is how we could get him?

    Do you think Burke would ever deal with Tambo?

    Or is there a 3 way deal that could be made?

  • esa tikkanen

    i would love to see Bonk and Zanon here. as much as the oilers need scoring, they won't get it at the deadline unless they can get Guerin. what they need is for the underperforming scorers to start scoring. Penner, Horcoff, Gagner, Nilson , Cole, Pisani. it has been written here by many if they won more faceoffs they would have more puck poseession and might score more. Bonk would help immensely there. Also, one of the reasons they do not score enough is there pk is so bad, once they are behind the other team traps …look what happened in the first goal last night Chicago scores on the PP. Zanon and Bonk would help a lot on the Pk. What would we have to give up to get them?
    I still would like Vermette from Ottawa as a third line center if we don't get Bonk..he has excellent faceoff percent especially on the pk

  • Dennis

    It would be a nice little gig – hint hint – if JW crunched some numbers to try and decipher why our PK has improved – are we giving up that many fewer shots and/or chances – but I used to think we needed two guys to help out that unit but now I think we just need a faceoff guy and him plus the return of 34 should put us in good standing for the rest of the campaign.

  • @ Dennis:

    You always suggest I do such fun jobs 😉 As it happens, I may focus on prospects for the next little while; the loss of Visnovsky is a huge blow to this team, I've lost faith in MacTavish as a coach, and the only reason the Oilers are hanging around is because any team between 5th and 12th is basically in th same ballpark. Unfortunately, I have an optimistic streak which is telling me the Oilers will turn it around just to prove me wrong.

    As for your suggestion, thinking long-term it would probably be wise for the Oilers to sell at the deadline, but I can't see it happening. This team needs to be in the playoffs. If, hypothetically, they were to make some trades with the idea of positioning themselves a little better going forward, I'd suggest that your list for departure is fairly accurate.