UPDATED: Moreau Claimed, O’Sullivan Traded

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 25: Edmonton Oilers' fans cheer during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center on June 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Tomorrow the free agent frenzy begins, and once again we will see some GMs lose their marbles and overpay a first liner, a 4th D-man or even a 3rd line plugger with the hopes that player will put his team over the top.

Rarely does that happen, but that won’t stop teams from opening up the vault and fans from believing that an Ilya Kovalchuk or Colby Armstrong or Paul Kariya will put their team over the top.

For the past two Julys the Oilers and their fans chased the superstar dream, but this summer sanity has replaced fantasy and Steve Tambellini will focus more on role players than a big-ticket-over-priced superstar.

Of course there is only one superstar available this summer, Kovalchuk, but let’s assume the Oilers search for role players is more strategy than circumstance.

Up until this past weekend many wondered if Tambellini would ever make a move, or if he’d continue to be indecisive and slow moving. In the past four days, Tambellini has added Colin Fraser and Jim Vandermeer and said goodbye to six players: Ethan Moreau, Patrick O’Sullivan, Robert Nilsson, Marc Pouliot, Ryan Potulny and Riley Nash and in the process he might have shed his “Tentative Tambellini” moniker.

It will take more than a few decent decisions to erase past blunders, but Tambellini could earn more love amongst Oilernation if he can add a few more pieces to the puzzle starting Thursday.

PRESSING NEEDS

With Sheldon Souray halfway out the door, Jason Strudwick and Mike Comrie uncertain to return, only Shawn Horcoff (31) and Nikolai Khabibulin (37) are older than 27. It is clear Tambellini needs to add a few veterans to this youthful rebuild, and he should do so by adding at least one or possibly two defenders and a solid 3rd liner. One physical defender and one puck mover would be ideal, and Tambellini needs to find a forward with some size.

The list of candidates that fit the Oilers’ needs isn’t that long. Keep in mind these suggestions are for a team that is still rebuilding, not looking to make a deep run in the playoffs.

D-MEN

Aaron Ward: He’s won a Cup, is outspoken and won’t cost more than $1.8 million.

Nick Boynton: Tough, physical but not a great skater. He just won a Cup in Chicago, and might stay in the Windy City, but for $1.5 million he’d help.

Brett Clark: He was overpaid in Colorado last year raking in $3.5 million, but the 33-year-old will take a pay cut, and for $2 million the Oilers might look at him.

John Scott: Brownlee has been pumping his tires for months, so I’m guessing the Oilers will be talking with him. He’s big and could play 50 games.

Denis Grebeshkov: Kidding. Seriously the Oilers should just keep moving along. Rarely does re-kindling the fire with your ex work out, and I feel the same way about bringing players back for a second tour of duty. It’s comfortable, but you regret it quickly.

Derek Morris: He is physical, can move the puck and has a good reputation in the room.

Daryl Sydor: He’d love to play in his hometown, but if Strudwick comes back he doesn’t think there will be room for both of them.

Willie Mitchell: If no playoff contender calls his agent, Mitchell could help on the backend. He struck it rich a few years ago in free agency, and I don’t see him coming close to another $3.5 million salary.

Henrik Tallinder: He’d be a great signing, but playing in the east for so long, I’m guessing he stays there. He will be in high demand and will probably end up outside the Oilers spending range.

Kurtis Foster: He recovered nicely from his gruesome leg injury a few years ago. He has a bomb of a shot, is a decent passer and is big enough to get in the way.

FORWARDS

Zenon Konopka: I can’t believe the Lightning hasn’t re-signed him yet. He is a great team player, willing to fight anyone and has worked hard on improving his game. He can’t be a 3rd liner, but he would help protect the young guns.

Arron Asham: He played in the top-nine on a deep Philadelphia team. He is physical, tough and not a defensive liability. He only made $640,000 last year, so if the Oilers offered him one million they might land him.

Adam Mair: He won’t cost a lot of money, and plays with a bit of grit. He is a veteran who can kill penalties and can play wing and centre.

Colby Armstrong: Is exactly what the Oilers need, but he’ll be a hot commodity and command Steve Ott money, $2.9 million. Would you pay him that much? I would.

Saku Koivu: He’s a great leader who competes hard, but I doubt he wants to be part of a rebuild. He’ll probably sign with his brother in Minnesota.

Eric Nystrom: He’s only 27, and could be looking for an expanded role. The former 10th pick overall in 2002 might flourish with a change of scenery. Moreau was the 14th pick his draft year, and realized he’d be more productive as a checker/energy guy. Could Nystrom replace Moreau?

Owen Nolan: The 38-year-old potted 16 goals last year in Minnesota. He has Old Man strength, and Kyle Brodziak told me he was an incredible leader. He was a two time 40-goal man so he could give the offensive guys scoring tips, and he is still tough enough to earn the respect of the opposition. I’d sign him for one-year in a heartbeat.

Raffi Torres: Is the type of forward the Oilers need, but that goes against my “don’t date your ex” philosophy. Torres isn’t old or mature enough to be a leader, but his physical play combined with 20-goal potential is the exact type of player the Oilers need. Too bad there isn’t another UFA similar to him.

Mike Modano: It might be a pipe dream, but Modano can play offence and is decent defensively. He can still skate, and would take some pressure off the young kids. He probably has no interest on being part of a rebuild, but if I’m Tambellini it can’t hurt to make a call.

Derek Boogaard: He won’t give you any offence, but if you believe you need the Oilers need a bodyguard for their kids he fits the bill.

Raitis Ivanans: Read Boogaard

Eric Boulton: Read Boogaard, except Boulton isn’t as tough, but he skates a bit better.

A REBUILD IS THE ONLY OPTION

After seeing the list of available free agents, it is obvious that Tambellini will have a hard time deviating from his plan to rebuild. If he can land one or even two of the aforementioned players, he’ll be happy. It’s possible he might have to dip to the C or D pool of free agents to fill the voids on the roster.

I suspect he will re-sign Jason Strudwick and Mike Comrie. Strudwick will be a good influence on the young guys, and can fill in for 40-50 games. Comrie is a competitor and he will ensure the young kids earn their icetime. He liked it in Edmonton last season, and told me before he left he’d love to come back. He has talked with the Oilers, and I suspect he’ll be back, especially if Tambellini can’t land a free agent.

Moreau speaks: UPDATE COLUMBUS CLAIMS HIM

Moreau returned my call last night when he landed in Vernon. He didn’t have to, but showed his class in doing so.

“I think it was time to part ways. I’m happy to get a fresh start, but it’s also a sad day because I’m leaving a great city. My kids were raised here, went to school here and our family has met a lot of great people. I will miss Edmonton,” he said about how he felt after speaking to Tambellini.

Tambellini actually gave him some leads on some teams his agent should call starting July 1st based on conversation he had had at the draft. Moreau didn’t have any hard feelings, and he was happy that he got a buyout rather than being traded in the last week. Now he can chose choose where he gets to play.

I’m guessing this is a major surprise for Moreau. As of last night he sounded like a guy who was going to be a free agent. This helps the Oilers in a big way cap wise, because Columbus claimed him on waivers, not re-entry waivers, the Oilers are free of Moreau’s salary. It is clear that Scott Howson thought Moreau wouldn’t sign in Columbus so he claimed him rather than wait until tomorrow to sign him as a free agent for less money.

It was clear it was the right time for Moreau to leave, but my only question is why the Oilers didn’t let him have a press conference to say goodbye. It is clear that both sides were okay with the decision, so why not let him speak? Unless they were worried he would follow in Pat Quinn’s footsteps and not tow the company line.

UPDATE ON POS TRADE

The Oilers have traded Patrick O’Sullivan to the Phoenix Coyotes for Jim Vandermeer. Vandermeer is a $2.3 million cap hit for next season. I’m going to guess that Phoenix might end up buying out O’Sullivan and saving money. The Oilers get Vandermeer for this season, but won’t have his salary (at least not at $2.3 million) or the O’Sullivan’s buyout salary for next season. Plus it gives the Oilers some added toughness on the backend and solid #5 D-man.

    • Jason Gregor

      I don’t have time to prove anything to you. Why don’t you prove to me where they exist Einstein.

      How can you re-enter from a place that doesn’t exist in the off-season. Have some common sense.

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        So I ask you this then. When I asked you 2 weeks ago about bringing Nilsson, O’Sullivan and Moreau through re-entry all you said is you won’t save money with nilsson and O’sullivan. Why wouldn’t you point it out at the time that you can’t use re-entry?

        • Jason Gregor

          Show me where I said that please. I don’t recall every question from every poster. And did you ask why not doing during the season, because then it wouldn’t save them money. It’s been stated on here numerous times the difference between waivers and re-entry waivers.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            I would, but the search engine on this site is for Google search. I’ll give you the whole re-entry thing, as I don’t see where it was ever used.

            Although I’m not giving you the close to being used in the second buyout. I know it was talked about at least once in the past 2-3 years.

          • Jason Gregor

            I found the Kaberle case. And he was bought on July 28th. The Canes had a pending Arbitration case with Ruutu. The 11.18 rule stated a team can’t buy-out a guy (outside of normal buyout period)unless they have two other arbitration cases. BUT, those cases supposedly have to come from the team according to 12.3. Meaning a team had to take the guy to arbitration, which happens rarely. Most of the time the player files because they think they can win. Ruutu had filed so that gave Carolina the window to buy out Kaberle.

            So Kaberle got bought out because they had an arbitration case pending with Ruutu. So yes a team has used it before.

            Now I learned something. Thanks. Thing is you ripped me more for re-entry than the extra buyout period. Not sure why you went off on re-entry waivers.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            I wasn’t trying to rip you as much as I thought I was right. The too kinda got bunched together and I probably looked like an arse for pointing it out. Although I guess I’m a half-arse.

            And Brownlee jump in. Here’s the issue I have and am glad I learnt something. Read through the comments of every thread, lots of people don’t know the rules and want to learn. Now hopefully because of my discussion with Gregor people learnt something about the CBA. I’d like to add you don’t need to know the CBA, but it sure as hell doesn’t hurt if you learn something from it, does it?

            I’ve gone through parts of the CBA, it ain’t easy. I’ve made this point to Gregor before, if he doesn’t know he does know people that can answer it for him and pass along the info at a later time.

          • erixon

            What is the purpose of your arguing?? You sound like my wife and I bickering about retarded facts that no one cares about. Keep your pointless banter away from my happy place. Find a significant other and get mad at them… Not upon us here at ON.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            So instead of pointing out a mistake I should let everyone think that something is correct?

            Look at what happened when very few pointed out the whole buyout issue from yesterday. Today people are ripping on the media for false advertisement. Just trying to help so that only one idiot is calling out gregor.

          • Jason Gregor

            I’m all about learning…asking is best way to go about it. Re-entry waivers should be clear for everyone now…

            What I want to know is why you remembered F. Kaberle of all people? Was he your favourite player? ha…

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            Honestly I was stubborn, no freaking way I was going to be wrong on two things like this. I generally know a lot about the CBA. So I went around looking for transactions from the past. I found Kaberle and then I found V.Prospal were bought out in late July and early August. I was just hoping you weren’t going to say that last year the first buyout period was later then this year.

          • Jason Gregor

            I would guess, and this is only a guess, that the buyout periods after June 15th to June 30th are floating depending on the team. The team that has an arbitration case has 48 hours after the ruling to use this other buyout period it seems. I don’t think it is a set start and stop date like the June period.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            To be honest I don’t really see the whole point of having a stop and finish date. Why not let it go for the whole summer?

            If I were a GM, I sure would like to see what happens after july 1st before I had to buy guys out.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            I’d suspect you are right, but I have to ask if this is such an owners CBA what are they getting 🙂

            Any how. Just reading comments on Moreau and such, have to wonder why CBJ took him? I hear they want to dump some bad contracts for the last couple months and then they add him? Funny nothing could’ve been worked out in a trade with the two teams.

          • It’s becuase when a player is bought out, he becomes a free agent. It wouldn’t exactly be fair to hold on to Nillson (as as example) till August 1 before buying him out, as most of the other teams have already loaded up with UFA’s and that leaves Nillson SOL.

          • Jason Gregor

            I think the NHLPA would not like this at all. It would benefit the teams, but no way the NHLPA agrees with it…that would make it as exciting as hell for fans though…

          • Reggie

            Gregor,

            I think that the only buyout periods after June 30th are related to injuries.

            If I remember right a couple years back, Boston (or was it NJ) bought out a player in late August or Sept. because that was when he was finally cleared to be healthy.

            So, I thought it was strange, but since they wanted to buy the player out, they couldn’t until he passed a physical. Might have even dragged out to training camp. I think that’s the only exception.

            As for the arbitration piece, they go to arbitration because the player is an RFA. The whole idea is the team can walk away from the award, which then makes him UFA. No buyout required as his current contract is expired.

            That’s my understanding.

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        Im curious to know. My friend seems to think the Oilers could re-claim their own player since they were last, but im fairly sure thats not the case.

    • Jason Gregor

      Same as normal waivers. The 30th place team gets to claim a guy first on re-entry waivers and then it goes 29th, and so forth.

      The only time this changes is at the beginning of the season. It is either ten games or an amount of days before the rankings change. So technically the Oilers will be ranked 30th regardless of their record for first ten games or specific days. I can’t recall the exact criteria, but the rankings don’t start immediately. If the Hawks went 0-5 they wouldn’t get first crack at waivers.

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        So for example, if we send Devan Dubnyk to the minors and he clears, and then recalls him on re-entry waviers, the Oilers get first pick at him even though were the team that put him on re-callable waviers?

        • Jason Gregor

          If you are the team putting a guy on re-entry waivers you can’t claim him yourself. Otherwise the worst team in the league wouldn’t have to adhere to the rules at any point.

  • offside

    I don’t know a lot about the ins and outs of waiving players but did Vandemeer actually clear waivers or was he traded before he cleared? If he didn’t clear waivers then he shouldn’t have to clear re-entry, plus he never reported to the AHL. Or is it once you’re put on waivers you would have to clear re-entry waivers?

  • Jason Gregor

    Gone: Booby, POS, Ethan MAPoo and Potulny

    In: Fraser, Vandermeer, Hall, caproom, Pitlick and a bushel of prospects.

    Tambi deserves true props for some solid if not spectacular moves – even though it might make you throw up in your mouth just a little

  • Dan the Man

    From David Staples:

    **** Of all the regular Phoenix defencemen, Vandermeer was trusted the least by his coach, Dave Tippet. He got the least amount of ice time in the regular season, just 17:41 a game, behind Adrian Aucoin, Derek Morris, Zybnek Michalek, Keith Yandle, Ed Jovanovski and Sami Lepisto. But Vandermeer was trusted enough to be on the second pairing when it came to killing penalties.

    **** In the playoffs, Vandermeer didn’t play at all, Phoenix evidently having made some trades so they wouldn’t have to have this guy out there. The year before he did get icetime in the playoffs with the Flames. I watched that series closely and recall that Vandermeer was a massive defensive liability, though the sample size was small, just one playoff series, and the opposition was excellent. Vandermeer tended to get caught out of position. He’s a tough player, for sure, but didn’t seem to have the greatest hockey sense.

    • Jason Gregor

      Well whatever, we got rid of one problem child for another. And maybe after being humiliated in Phoenix this guy will show up to play (ala Ryan Whitney)

    • MrCondor

      Is 17:41 a game in ice time a typo? I find it rather odd that 6 defensemen played more than that given that a game only has 120 minutes of defensive ice time. Math does not work at all.

      As for his play, he seems like Chorney but he actually hits people. I still call it an upgade and given what Sully’s buyout would have been it is a fiscally responsible upgrade.

      Mad props to Tambo for the past week. Mad props.

      • Dan the Man

        Yeah I thought the 17:41 seemed odd as well but that’s what was posted. Probably a typo. I would guess maybe 7:41?

        Edit: Double checked NHL.com and he did indeed play 17:41 per game which is only about 5 min less per game than the top guys (Michalek and Aucoin) averaged.

        And inspite of what Tippet said about Vandermeer I happily welcome him to the team in place of POS. I would have taken Keith Gretzky back from Phoenix for POS.

      • VMR

        It’s not always the same defencemen. He averaged 17:41/game in the 62 games that he played but the Coyotes had 11 players that played defence through the season for various amounts of games. If a guy played only one game and played 25 minutes his average ice time per game would be 25 minutes.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Okay I might’ve found what I was thinking about.

    F.Kaberle bought out last year on July 28th.

    And would Prospal fall into that category too from last year?

  • Jason Gregor

    @Jason
    Just wanted to thank you for your excellent coverage on todays activity. You’re a better man than I for indulging some of these gomers(fist bump to Brownlee) who seem to take you for granted.

    • Jason Gregor

      Thanks…I’m not suggesting I’m above being questioned, because I’ve been wrong before and I will again. I welcome it, in fact. Just show the facts first to save us all time is all I ask.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    actually since there are 3 defensive pairings it averages out to 20 mins per pair of defenceman on the ice since there are always 2 on regardless of ES, PK, or PP. It makes sense that he played 17min/game on a fairly solid Phoenix defence because they don’t really have 3 workhorse dmen. Also because Edmonton’s defence is weak all of us Oiler fans are used to seeing the top 4 dmen playing at least 23 mins per game, that’s definitely not ideal for a defence corps over an 82 game season.

  • Dan the Man

    Good job Gregor. I appreciate your coverage. And Robin’s point about people who like to throw stones is appropriate. I mean, they could have looked it up in half the time it took them to argue the point FFS.

    Maybe Ogden Brother Jr. – Team Lynda Steele should write the next CBA since he seems to take issue with how it is currently structured. lol Give me a break.

  • In response to a post earlier calling Vandermeer a “problem” I have to strongly disagree.

    He is better than much of what we have now in that he is actually an NHL player.

    He will also not bring an attitude problem. If it is true that O’Sullivan had a serious attitude problem then they brought in a great guy to reverse that.

    He is a good teammate, a hard worker, he is better than our current other options, and he is really excited and happy to be an Oiler.

    Until we have better defensemen to take his spot these attributes should be enough to make us all happy he’s an Oiler as well.

    • See! How good that worked out?
      – We waive a problem player with the idea of buying him out.
      – Another team sees the opportunity to trade problems with us.
      – The waiver is cancelled and we save money.
      – For some strange reason this trade didn’t exist until the planned buyout occurred.

      A similar scenario leads to another of our problems being claimed by CBJ. Again no cost to us.

      Since it has worked twice, why not go for three? Now I recognize we must be patient and wait for the next available buy out period (see, paying attention helps). And we must clearly identify our heretofore Untradeable Underperforming Problem Player (or goat, if you will).
      So:
      – waive Horcoff
      – put out a press release that we’re buying him out.
      – hold suitable number of sorrowful media interviews and blogs
      – wait for phone to ring
      – if Horcoff get’s picked up, finish your beverage and go and wash your hands.
      – if someone wants to trade, start figuring out locker room space for a bunch of immobile deadbeats hearafter known as “savvy, seasoned, specialty players”.
      – speak highly of Horcoff and wish him well in his new opportunity.
      – waive 1 or 2 of the new SSS players if we have cap trouble at that point.
      – give, free of charge, as a bonus, to Horcoff’s team abag of brand new shiney pucks and an 8-track player

  • “To be honest I don’t really see the whole point of having a stop and finish date. Why not let it go for the whole summer?

    If I were a GM, I sure would like to see what happens after july 1st before I had to buy guys out.”

    Players bought out would want to be available for the opening of free agency (July 1).

    I’m sure the owners would like to be able to buy out players 365 days a year, but the NHLPA argues otherwise.

    • Reggie

      the buyout on POS was significantly less since he is only 25. 1/3 vs 2/3 for vandermeer.

      oilers get an nice benefit as they are keeping him as a roster player, no buyout, just his salary for this season.

  • Jodes

    Gregor, on your list you left out soon to be UFA Dman Joe Corvo, was it because A)Too pricey, B)Too soft C) Doesn’t want to play in the west or D) Combination of all three?

    Do you think with us getting Vandemeer and possibly another Dman for Souray that we’re going to pass on Dmen?

    • Jason Gregor

      If they can’t deal Souray right away and don’t sign a D-man now they might miss out. Ideally Tambellini will find a dance partner, but there isn’t a lot of GMs willing to take Souray.

      With Vandermeer coming on board, if they add one more D-man and can’t deal Souray then they bring him back and they have six plus Peckham.

      I don’t mind him, and probably could have added him. He’s had three seasons with 10+ goals and four seasons with more than 37 points. He’s a good first passer, decent PP guy, but not overly physical.

      @Nate…

      Jurcina wouldn’t be bad either. He is a stay-at-home D-man, I just don’t like stay-at-home guys who aren’t physical. Plus Columbus traded him back to Washington. If he can’t play there, I doubt he can help here.

  • Jodes

    Interesting move by Chicago/Toronto:

    As per TSN:

    TORONTO — The Chicago Blackhawks have unloaded another key player that helped them win the Stanley Cup, sending right-winger Kris Versteeg to Toronto in a five-player deal Wednesday night.

    The Maple Leafs also acquired the rights to left-winger Bill Sweatt in exchange for forwards Viktor Stalberg, Chris DiDomenico and Philippe Paradis.