The NHL trade freeze will end at midnight tomorrow, and with two weeks void of games many GMs have had time to focus in on their respect team’s weaknesses and look at which players could possibly help fill those holes. Will Ethan Moreau fit into a hole on another team’s roster? I’d say yes.
Moreau was on my radio show yesterday and he didn’t shy away when I asked him questions regarding the upcoming trade deadline, Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. MST, and where his mind is at right now. This is his tenth full season as an Oiler, and he has been part of the organization for 11 years now, (he was acquired March 20th, 1999 from Chicago ) but you get the sense his tenure is coming to an end. I asked him if there was any trepidation about possibly moving to another team after spending so much time in one city.
“I’ve been very fortunate not having to live the typical hockey player life and neither has my family. We’ve had the opportunity and the luxury to build a lot of great friendships within the team and outside the team. I’ve been able to play with some great friends like Stevie, Horc, Fernando and Ales. We all went to the finals together and there hasn’t been a lot of movement with our core; and for that I’m grateful."
“If a trade happens I’ll be very excited to have an opportunity to play somewhere else," the Oilers Captain continued "and have a chance to win. I still have a lot of confidence in my game that I can contribute on a good team. It remains to be seen if that happens or not."
“I have had a lot of time to prepare for it. It’s not like it has come out of the blue and the trade will be a surprise. I’ve had time to deal with it and so has my family. I still enjoy playing so I’m going be excited wherever I play. If it is with the Oilers, that’s great, and I’ll play hard. If it’s somewhere else, I’ll be excited about the opportunity. Sometimes change is good."
“The second I got back to Edmonton after the break, that’s pretty much all I’ve been thinking about is where I might end up or if I’ll stay here. There is a lot of anticipation and anxiety surrounding that date. We’ll find out soon enough who is going to be where.”
The way Moreau was playing at the beginning of February it seemed unlikely that another team would want him, but Moreau found his game leading up to the Olympic break and that will make Steve Tambellini’s job of finding a partner much easier.
I asked Moreau if he had a conversation with Pat Quinn or with himself to try and re-discover his game.
“I felt really good going into the break. I think my struggles reflect our team. It’s pretty hard to have success with what we’ve gone through and you can kind of see that on a personal level with pretty much everyone on our team. For me it has been a struggle mentally and it’s been really hard, but I try to stay positive and prepare like I always have."
“I’ve always believed that if I can continue to work hard and prepare and be professional and do my job that it will pay off. There is still a lot of time left in this year to make it a good year for myself regardless of where I am.”
You get the sense that Moreau feels a trade is inevitable and the only question is where he ends up. The Kings, Sharks, Ducks and Devils are interested, and I wonder if Moreau gets moved before Wednesday of if he’ll suit up one final time for the Oilers in Nashville .
JACQUES DONE FOR THE SEASON
J.F Jacques’ back problems have flared up again and he will surgery in Los Angeles later this week. Jacques’s back acted up at various points this season and the Oilers were hoping the two week break might be enough rest, but his back isn’t responding so he’ll go under the knife again.
When he was healthy this year, Jacques was an effective 4th liner, and on a team void of size he was useful, but he’s had back problems for four years now and you wonder if he’ll be able to return and play the physical style necessary for him to stay in the NHL.