Armchair GM

armchairgm

Unless somebody jabs Steve Tambellini in the backside with a syringe of sodium pentothal, the only poop we’re going to get on what the Edmonton Oilers might do by the NHL’s March 4 trade deadline will come from armchair general managers.

And, while those insights will be considerably more humorous than the vague generalizations and mis-direction we media types coax from Tambellini and Kevin Lowe — should we even manage to corner them in coming days — they’ll be just about as useful. Like teats on a bull.

It would be wonderful, and stunning, to have Tambellini tell wags: “We’re burning the midnight oil to move Erik Cole and we’ve got Carolina, Boston and New York lined up as bidders, but the hang-up is all three want Andrew Cogliano as part of any deal.”

What we’ll get is: “We’ll look at anything if it’ll help the hockey club, but we’re not going to mortgage the future. Then again, (insert Lowe smirking here), expect the unexpected.”

It’s naïve, of course, to expect the unexpected — the unexpected would be having Lowe or Tambellini actually tell us what they’re up to. I could never, and I mean never, coax Lowe (or Glen Sather) to show their cards before the deadline when I was writing the beat. It won’t happen now.

So people guess. They speculate. They make stuff up.

This won’t hurt a bit

The Oilers have taken it in the butt more than once at the deadline, but not in the context of a shot of truth serum. So the rumour mill grinds along, fuelled by reporters speculating what they think makes sense and fans, many of whom re-define “wishful thinking.”

“Hey, why couldn’t the Oilers get Pavel Datsyuk out of Detroit for Cole, Riley Nash, Marc Pouliot and a second-round draft choice?” Or, “I bet the Oilers could rent Jay Bouwmeester for 20 games if they put together a package that included Ales Hemsky.” Yes, I bet they could.

From an MSM point of view, putting two and two together and trying to come up with four is part of the gig. From a fan point of view, as hair-brained as the ideas and the rationalization behind them can be, it’s in good fun.

I mean, suggesting the Oilers would trade Hemsky and his bargain contract to rent Bouwmeester before he signs as a UFA with Los Angeles/San Jose/someplace else warm is in fun, right? Same with Datsyuk, an example of quantity for quality by those who think teams can get a franchise player for spare parts.

What’s next?

As far as the pending trade deadline goes, I can break things down to what I think (WIT) and what I know (WIK).

Let me confess from the start the WIT category is considerably more expansive than any reliable WIK because the men who call the shots aren’t talking, and I’m not going to pass off a nightshift janitor at Rexall Place or the dame who used to cut Josh Green’s hair as “sources close to the team.”

WIK

  • Tambellini is leaning toward trading Cole rather than losing him as a UFA, but that’s not written in stone, which runs contrary to my gut instincts. With a playoff spot in reach, would trading Cole for anybody who can’t make an immediate and equal contribution be seen as giving up on the post-season? Of course it would, even if the player coming here has a contract or is an RFA, assuring he’s more than a rental.
  • Carolina, as I said last week, is one of the teams most interested in Cole, and he’d be a plug-and-play acquisition for GM Jim Rutherford. If any team could convince Cole to forego UFA offers this summer and re-sign, it’s the Hurricanes.
  • The priority is adding secondary scoring. Duh! Aside from Craig MacTavish stating flat-out last week he needs help up, it doesn’t take a vast intellect (or a conversation with a reliable source) to figure that out.

WIT

  • While I’d give it a zero per cent chance of happening at the deadline because of injuries to Lubomir Visnovsky and Denis Grebeshkov, I can see Tambellini moving Tom Gilbert this summer.
    Gilbert is inked long-term, he has some cachet and could land Tambellini a left winger capable of playing on his top two lines. One from the group of Sheldon Souray, Visnovsky, Gilbert and Grebeshkov can be dealt. With the KHL looking like less of an option, Grebeshkov won’t cost the Oilers as much as Gilbert.
  • Lowe and Sather will see if they can do business March 4. They’ve already made two deadline deals: Lowe dealt Anson Carter and Ales Pisa for Radek Dvorak and Cory Cross on March 11, 2003, and he traded Tom Poti and Rem Murray for Mike York on March 19, 2002.
  • Robert Nilsson, Marc Pouliot and JF Jacques are available as sweeteners in any deal Tambellini makes.

— Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6pm on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

  • deepoil

    Travis Dakin wrote:

    @ Robin B:
    I was just wondering about how Strachan got that scoop. Thanks for clarifying. God damn, I remember when I read that. I laughed it off like it was crazy talk.
    Anyway, What is this hometown fishbowl you speak of? Why is it different from any other big name player on the team? Is it the ticket requests and barrage of guest appearance requests from old friends that makes it tough? I just assumed that Comrie was a young kid that didn’t like being told he sucked when he was walking down the street after a bad game. Understandable I guess but isn’t it the same for everybody regardless of place of birth?

    Comrie had an incident with Lowe – fans were secondary who just didnt get it that there is no law for an RFA to resign back with team holding his rights – KLOWE might of thought this was russia – but this city just went down a few notches when KLOWE went baby and demanded blood money to get his freedom – real smart – real mature for new UFA's to come here – KLOWE personally caused the overpayment such as SOURAY and Penner – KLOWE – guilty – no trial needed.

  • deepoil

    Robin B wrote:

    @ Travis Dakin:
    It is largely the same for any big name player, but it certainly can be amplified for a hometown kid when you have friends and family around.

    actually facebook causes all these rumors now amplified by twitter – the local haridresser or liquor store in this case is far removed

  • Robin B

    oil_dude wrote:

    @ Robin B
    How recent is the info about JayBo not wanting to play in Etown?? I know a friend of Jays and asked him about the Oil’s chances of landing him in December, he seemed to think they were as good as any other teams chances. Remember how we were told that Hossa wouldn’t come here leading up to July 1st but then we actually almost landed him once Katz phoned him with an offer? I think how the oilers approach July 1st this year might have a say in where he chooses to sign. Do you know if they plan on chasing him?

    Interesting you should ask. And I've got to give credit to some of the people who've commented here for making me re-think my position that there is absolutely no way Jay signs here. So, I made a phone call not 10 minutes ago and talked with somebody I trust about Bouwmeester and . . .

    I was told, "Never say never." I was told that my position of "absolutely no way" doesn't take into account how some circumstances have changed in the last year or so. I was told it's still a longshot — mainly because it would take some gymnastics to fit him under the salary cap and move other guys to make room — but that writing the possibility off because he'd NEVER consider playing here would be a mistake. Interesting.

  • Travis Dakin

    @ Robin B:
    Well holy sh*t Robin… hmm circumstances in the last year eh? Damn I'm nosey.

    Dare to dream people…. I'm going to now. No literally…. It's late.

  • Pokie Reddik

    No Peca rumours, he would be a great Player/Coach, and then Pronger to Calgary. We will see who the better player/coach is when they meet in the first round.

    Pokie

  • Dennis

    RB: you are welcomed for the JB tip as per Strachan;)

    Seriously, though, you're right, that kind of gear on Strach's relationship with the firm that looks after Pronger is Exactly the kind of thing I'd like to see reported on a more frequent basis. And I think it's great that you shared the results of your conversation with your JB source.

    My point on Strachan was that the guy seems to be plugged in. Now, we now know why he got the jump on Pronger wanting out but because he nailed that and because he knew after the trip to Europe that Melrose would be fired, I always listen to what the guy says. Early on when Burke was running Van, I liked Strachan because he was the only guy who had the guts to take him on and point out just how many playoff series Burke actually won. But now the guy's right more than he is wrong and I always give him the good ear.

    BTW, Strach was on HHT tonight and parroted your "Cole back to Car" rumors but he didn't go as far to mention any possible return; Ruutu or otherwise.

    Finally, to bring it back to your latest conversation with the JB source, it seems that the biggest roadblock would be the Oilers making room for him.

    I imagine the Oilers will move heaven and earth to make sure that roadblock is removed.

  • Dennis

    Just to add something on the Lowe/Comrie thing because while I'm not a Lowe supported, I think his idea to get rid of Comrie was the right one.

    You'll see a few of us talking about tough min and that's taking on the other team's top lines and that's why some of us really like Horcoff even if his counting stats aren't as sterling as other first line pivots.

    So, go back to '03 and with Comrie's contract about to come up, MacT decided to see if Comrie could play the tough min and, IMO , in the process let Lowe decide whether he was worth paying. Now, the year previous Comrie had been about the only thing worth talking about offensively – 94 got off to a great start but was piled into a corner by the Hawks Karpotsev during a Friday night home game and rushed back early to get ready for the Olys but wasn't the same – and his numbers were building to where he was gonna hit the bonuses agreed upon before making his debut in dec of '00.

    Note: it would be interesting to Google and try and come up with the provisions for that bonus package because it comes into play later on.

    But now we're back to talking '03 and Comrie gets thrown into the deep end of the pool match-up wise and his plus/minus takes a beating. Meanwhile, Reasoner's putting up a great year plus/minus – and Marty never saw easy matches- and he'd also start the next year strong before getting hurt early in the '04 season at TO.

    Now I believe Comrie got hurt during a Dec or jan game at SJ and marchant stepped in and put up a career year playing with 94-83. This was the first time you really saw the potential of 83 with him setting up 94 for open net goals and the like. Also, a young Horcoff is showing signs that he's dependable, Stoll's in the pipe and Mike York's brought in for Tom Poti.

    So, there's the depth chart at centre and the dye seems to be cast that Comrie can't play the toughs and the decision is made to only pay him so much. And this could be wrong – though it wouldn't jive with my earlier idea – but I seem to believe there was some talk that Comrie came back early to hit his bonuses and he did so with a ENG at Chi. Of course if the Oilers really wanted to screw him they wouldn't have given him ENG time to seal that deal but then again maybe it's another case of them trying to see if he was dependable defensively.

    The only thing missing from this version is whether Comrie had gotten sick of the fishbowl Before the Oilers decided he wasn't worth a certain amount of money.

    In any case, Lowe was right because he couldn't play the toughs and that limited his earning potential. Now, later on Lowe sullied the bed by turning down Perry from Ana because he felt that would help Comrie out by sending him to a place he actually wanted to go, and he asked for some of his signing bonus back in the process, but I think the decision not to pay him was the right call.

  • West Coast Oil

    So a dollar short and a day late on the major debate but if any actually reads day old comments my question is how about the Oil get Jokinen from Phoenix.
    Rumour is Phoenix is trying to dump his salary and if we trade for him it gives us a proven 20+ goal scorer (even on a so/so Phoenix team) who can play give and go with Hemsky.
    Yes he isnt the most physical and his face off percentage is under 50% but he is a scorer. A decent left winger is not available right now and for those of you who think Kovalchuk will enjoy Edmonton when/if he ever gets here perhaps you should watch this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekJrxjMn_UI
    I personally would be worried his wife would not like the lifestyle in Edmonton compared to living in the sunshine belt for how long now.. I am not saying she wouldn't but the winters are a big adjustment.
    What would it take to get Jokinen I am assuming not too much as Phoenix likes their draft picks and young players and we have spades in those..

  • Travis Dakin

    West Coast Oil wrote:

    A decent left winger is not available right now and for those of you who think Kovalchuk will enjoy Edmonton when/if he ever gets here perhaps you should watch this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekJrxjMn_UI
    I personally would be worried his wife would not like the lifestyle in Edmonton compared to living in the sunshine belt for how long now..

    They are Russian so I'm pretty sure they could handle it. If management was throwing around the kind of money Hossa was offered, they could burn some of it to keep warm. Stop buzzkilling! haha

  • Deep Oil

    Dennis wrote:

    Just to add something on the Lowe/Comrie thing because while I’m not a Lowe supported, I think his idea to get rid of Comrie was the right one.
    You’ll see a few of us talking about tough min and that’s taking on the other team’s top lines and that’s why some of us really like Horcoff even if his counting stats aren’t as sterling as other first line pivots.
    So, go back to ‘03 and with Comrie’s contract about to come up, MacT decided to see if Comrie could play the tough min and, IMO , in the process let Lowe decide whether he was worth paying. Now, the year previous Comrie had been about the only thing worth talking about offensively – 94 got off to a great start but was piled into a corner by the Hawks Karpotsev during a Friday night home game and rushed back early to get ready for the Olys but wasn’t the same – and his numbers were building to where he was gonna hit the bonuses agreed upon before making his debut in dec of ‘00.
    Note: it would be interesting to Google and try and come up with the provisions for that bonus package because it comes into play later on.
    But now we’re back to talking ‘03 and Comrie gets thrown into the deep end of the pool match-up wise and his plus/minus takes a beating. Meanwhile, Reasoner’s putting up a great year plus/minus – and Marty never saw easy matches- and he’d also start the next year strong before getting hurt early in the ‘04 season at TO.
    Now I believe Comrie got hurt during a Dec or jan game at SJ and marchant stepped in and put up a career year playing with 94-83. This was the first time you really saw the potential of 83 with him setting up 94 for open net goals and the like. Also, a young Horcoff is showing signs that he’s dependable, Stoll’s in the pipe and Mike York’s brought in for Tom Poti.
    So, there’s the depth chart at centre and the dye seems to be cast that Comrie can’t play the toughs and the decision is made to only pay him so much. And this could be wrong – though it wouldn’t jive with my earlier idea – but I seem to believe there was some talk that Comrie came back early to hit his bonuses and he did so with a ENG at Chi. Of course if the Oilers really wanted to screw him they wouldn’t have given him ENG time to seal that deal but then again maybe it’s another case of them trying to see if he was dependable defensively.
    The only thing missing from this version is whether Comrie had gotten sick of the fishbowl Before the Oilers decided he wasn’t worth a certain amount of money.
    In any case, Lowe was right because he couldn’t play the toughs and that limited his earning potential. Now, later on Lowe sullied the bed by turning down Perry from Ana because he felt that would help Comrie out by sending him to a place he actually wanted to go, and he asked for some of his signing bonus back in the process, but I think the decision not to pay him was the right call.

    Lowe went back on his word when he stuck his hand out for cash (CHEAP CHEAP) causing irrepairable damage (future overpayments) – getting rid of comrie was personal as this kid was making more cake than Lowe made in his entire playing career and Comrie had the dollars to sit out and shove it up LOWES crawe. This
    time Lowe let his feelings get in way of the trade and hurt the team – KLOWE turned down PERRY – that is as bad as passing on Shane Doan. KLOWE soiled the brand here and had to suck it up on Penner, Souray and even Roloson and Pisani after they both hit him hard after the lightning in the bottle cup run.

  • Peter Pan

    @ Deep Oil
    ——————————————————–
    deepoil February 25 2009, 10:57 pm.

    actually facebook causes all these rumors now amplified by twitter – the local haridresser or liquor store in this case is far removed

    ——————————————————-
    Give Robin's Johnson a break will ya. Gonna start calling you Deep Throat from here on in.

  • Deep Oil

    Robin B wrote:

    oil_dude wrote:
    @ Robin B
    How recent is the info about JayBo not wanting to play in Etown?? I know a friend of Jays and asked him about the Oil’s chances of landing him in December, he seemed to think they were as good as any other teams chances. Remember how we were told that Hossa wouldn’t come here leading up to July 1st but then we actually almost landed him once Katz phoned him with an offer? I think how the oilers approach July 1st this year might have a say in where he chooses to sign. Do you know if they plan on chasing him?
    Interesting you should ask. And I’ve got to give credit to some of the people who’ve commented here for making me re-think my position that there is absolutely no way Jay signs here. So, I made a phone call not 10 minutes ago and talked with somebody I trust about Bouwmeester and . . .
    I was told, “Never say never.” I was told that my position of “absolutely no way” doesn’t take into account how some circumstances have changed in the last year or so. I was told it’s still a longshot — mainly because it would take some gymnastics to fit him under the salary cap and move other guys to make room — but that writing the possibility off because he’d NEVER consider playing here would be a mistake. Interesting.

    Are the Oilers an upgrade from Florida – talk about leaving the frying pan for the fire….. I know these positions are different but here is the level the oil place themselves into – who would you rather have on your team – Horcoff or Jay Bo – salaries are somewhat similar for 2009 – 2010 if Bo gets 7.5 or higher…. shows that the Oil pay more and get less every time – such as Cole and Penner – here is $15mm (3 players Horcoff, Cole and Penner) in salary that is not performing – 0.500 here we are and being successful is not in the Oil psyche – too much work.

  • Deep Oil

    Peter Pan wrote:

    @ Deep Oil
    ——————————————————–
    deepoil February 25 2009, 10:57 pm.
    actually facebook causes all these rumors now amplified by twitter – the local haridresser or liquor store in this case is far removed
    ——————————————————-
    Give Robin’s Johnson a break will ya. Gonna start calling you Deep Throat from here on in.

    ths was not a dig at Robin but the Jay Bo Edmonton local issues – how many local players have the fans run out of town – ohhh Mark Messier did not get run out of town because he won – but more importantly he wouldn't put up with any fans bs – he just didn't care about the fans – MOOSE cares about MOOSE first and foremost – just win baby and the sheep will follow you….

  • Matt N

    @ Robin B

    I really appreciate the way you seperate what you know and what you think. You have credibility, with me anyway. Even if I don't agree with your opinions all teh time, I trust that when you write something it is for real, unlike some others in the business. So…..you got that going for you at least.

    BTW, could the folks at OilersNation arrange a throw down between you and W.T.? I know you don't want to feed the trolls, but your radio beat down on him was epic. It would be fun to see it in print.

  • Sean

    One question I have (would be nice to hear from someone that actually knows and not speculate no offense just really interested), Why have we not offered cole an extension even if it is for way less money? What is the worse that can happen in starting contract talks with him?

  • Deep Oil

    Sean wrote:

    One question I have (would be nice to hear from someone that actually knows and not speculate no offense just really interested), Why have we not offered cole an extension even if it is for way less money? What is the worse that can happen in starting contract talks with him?

    Sean – have you lost your mind – Cole has given us nothing for the $4mm – Spector called it a total failure on Hockeycentral – time for this trade to be washed down the drain and refocus with new cap money over the summer. Have you ever thought that he doesn't want to come back to this debacle….. (using MACT's words) – he hasn't made one statement about returning to the oil – silent cole does not have a website like pronger telling the fans that he does not want to be traded…. for $4mm you might think he would have a free facebook group at least….. LOL

  • Deep Oil

    Matt N wrote:

    @ Robin B
    I really appreciate the way you seperate what you know and what you think. You have credibility, with me anyway. Even if I don’t agree with your opinions all teh time, I trust that when you write something it is for real, unlike some others in the business. So…..you got that going for you at least.
    BTW, could the folks at OilersNation arrange a throw down between you and W.T.? I know you don’t want to feed the trolls, but your radio beat down on him was epic. It would be fun to see it in print.

    Maybe gregor can put it up on the new team 1260 website as a podcast

  • Gord

    I am too lazy to read all of the posts, but I thought I should comment in case this hasn't been brought up. Isn't there some rule that disallows Cole from playing the rest of the year if he were to be traded back to Carolina? I remember something similar happening a few years ago (pre-lock out, I think).

  • myteammytown

    @ Gord:

    no.

    what you may be thinking of was the dean mccammond fiasco from a few years back. this scenario involved a player claimed off waivers, not a player traded.

  • swany

    @ West Cost Oil Kovy can trade in those fancy cars for a Hummer and instead on learning to play Tennis she can Learn to Ski, Kovy is exactly what Katz wants for this team, and Kovy is a superstar but how many fans know that in the States I think he would love a chance to show a Canaian team what he can do.

  • Robin B

    ARMCHAIR UPDATE
    Something everybody should know about the Whitney-Kunitz trade: there was more than a passing interest over that deal as news of it filtered through Rexall Place this morning.

    I'm told by somebody who knows that the Oilers were intereted in Kunitz and had inquired with the Ducks about him. Steve Tambellini was watching the morning skate for the first little while, but then left to huddle with Lowe not long after word got around.

  • Robin B

    Peter Pan wrote:

    @ Deep Oil
    ——————————————————–
    deepoil February 25 2009, 10:57 pm.
    actually facebook causes all these rumors now amplified by twitter – the local haridresser or liquor store in this case is far removed
    ——————————————————-
    Give Robin’s Johnson a break will ya. Gonna start calling you Deep Throat from here on in.

    Had to laugh. Anybody old school enough to use the term "Johnson" is OK by me. Sorry Jimmy.

  • swany

    Robin B wrote:

    ARMCHAIR UPDATE
    Something everybody should know about the Whitney-Kunitz trade: there was more than a passing interest over that deal as news of it filtered through Rexall Place this morning.
    I’m told by somebody who knows that the Oilers were intereted in Kunitz and had inquired with the Ducks about him. Steve Tambellini was watching the morning skate for the first little while, but then left to huddle with Lowe not long after word got around.

    Arm GM so were they talking because they were upset there never got him or did the huddle up for another trade they have on the burner? gase into your crystal ball O great one and tell us what you know.

  • Dennis

    DO: you are right that Lowe showed one of his most prevalent true colours by asking for some of Comrie's bonus money back – and getting less back in the deal because Comrie's preferred destination would've netted us the best return – but there are a few guys that you'd pay for a few reasons and Comrie just isn't one of them.