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.

  • Ender

    The reason the Oilers won’t necessarily have Vandemeer’s salary next year is that he’s an unrestricted free agent after this season. The only way the Oilers pay him next season is if we resign him, and that may be unlikely.

    If we bought out POS, he’d be on the books for this year and next.

    • Jason Gregor

      POS would cost around $935,000 to buy out this year and another $398,000 next year…

      The Oilers WILL NOT be buying out Vandemeer. He would of cost $766,667 this year and next year. They can use his toughness and experience on the backend.

      • Ender

        I just finished finding these numbers myself. That kind of explains why Phoenix does this deal. The cap hit for PHX over the next 2 years, then, is a front-loaded $1.33M, a bit nicer than the evenly-distributed $1.53M that buying out Vandermeer would have cost them. PHX pays a bit more this season but saves big next year on their capspace.

  • Bandwagon jumper

    I think CBJ picking up Ethan gave Tambo an extra Million he didn’t plan on having. That may have led to the Vandermeer deal.

    Out of pocket similar dollars and has a new body.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      Claimed to soon. We couldn’t buy anyone out until 10 this morning. I have to think that the agents were told buyouts were going to happen, but then all of sudden deals opened up.

        • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

          Well the media claimed things too early and fans really didn’t realize the whole situation as is.

          The Oilers apparently told those players agents that they will be bought out if they didn’t clear waivers. The media reported this and some did say there is a 24 hour window for them to clear waivers, but fans elected not to hear this.

          Then when teams started talking again one realized we should take Moreau for free and another thought here is a potential way to save 800k and give the Oilers a defensive d-man they need.

    • Ender

      The only story I was able to find yesterday referenced Moreau as being bought out but didn’t mention the other two waived players. I thought it was odd since I was pretty sure they needed to clear waivers before the buyout could happen (otherwise, what would be the point of waiving them?) but it was right there in black and white so I didn’t argue. Just goes to show that you can’t believe everything you read. Even the MSM gets it wrong sometimes, or fudges it a bit in order to get ‘the scoop’. Of course, they look pretty silly today . . .

    • Jason Gregor

      They weren’t false. The Oilers had all the intentions to buyout Moreau. Moreau himself thought he was getting bought out. The CBJ claim surprised them, and it came down before the actual buyout could have occured.

      O’Sullivan was going to get bought out, but Tambellini found a partner in Phoenix. The Coyotes were going to buy him out, but now they will buy out POS instead. The Coyotes save money, while the Oilers get a guy who can help them.

      Some will wonder why didn’t the Oilers just wait and sign Vandemeer as an UFA? Here’s why.

      They needed another D-man, and it would have cost them at least $1 million if not more to get one. This way they get rid of POS and get the D-man.

      Had the Coyotes bought out Vandemeer there is no guarantee he would have signed here. The Oilers were prepared to buyout POS and when you add the cost of his buyout with at least $1 million to sign a D-man, Vandemeer at $2.3 actually saves them about $100,000…

  • Dyckster

    Vandermeer was a stud in his last year of junior. Captained the Rebels to a WHL and Mem Cup Championship. Had over 60 points in that year as well.

    I realize it was 10 years ago, but the dude can play…no question.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      He is in the same boat as the three guys we waived. They are NHL players, but are making too much money and there wasn’t space on their previous team.

  • I’m liking these player moves so far by Tambellini. Nothing that will get us into contender shape immediately, but we’ve cleared Moreau and O’Sullivan off the payroll without a buyout and got a decent enough defenseman to boot. Let’s hope they stick to their guns about not hunting big game come tomorrow.

        • Jason Gregor

          Ends today…

          There is another buyout period in August, but a team can only exericise this “ordinary course buy-outs outside the regular period” if they have at least two arbitration cases in the same summer. I’d never heard of it, but it is in the CBA.

          • Jason Gregor

            How can you come close to using it? Either a team uses it or they don’t. Just because a team has two arbitration cases doesn’t mean they have to USE it, it just means the option is there. No player has been bought out in August, that I recall so no one has used it. You don’t come close to using it. Either you do or you don’t. Simple.

            11.18 of CBA…In the event that a Club has only one salary arbitration hearing pursuant to Section 12.3 (a) in a given League Year, such club shall NOT be entitled to exercise an Ordinary Course Buy-out.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            Well I’m questioning because obviously you have thrown some incorrect facts out.

            You come close by waiving the player and once he clears you decide not to buy him out. I really don’t feel like going through transactions for the past two or three summers to prove a point. Especially considering it’s hard to find when guys were waived and ending up going no where.

  • MrCondor

    I’m actually shocked at the amount of confusion from the media over the last few days. Many reported POS, Nillison and Moreau were bought out when they were only put on waivers. Most “insiders” do not seem to have a solid understanding of the NHL waiver/buyout process – conflicting reports everywhere.

    I think the need for speed required for breaking a story on twitter is being put before accuracy.

      • Chris.

        Yes… This taken from the Cult Of Hockey Blog:

        Update: Mark Spector of Sportsnet is reporting that Moreau’s agent confirms Moreau has been bought out.

        Moreau’s agent got it wrong and Spec passed it along.

          • Chris.

            But it was still reported. I read the Cult Of Hockey blog, did a small job, talked some hockey with some friends (Telling them we bought out our Captain); and went back online only to read the correction later. Blog stories are living, breathing, always evloving organisms… that’s why it’s so fun… miss ten minutes: miss the new story! (Bye bye print)

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            After doing some reading I see you are probably right, but depending if you are on twitter it was corrected. I’m actually shocked that gregor used the wording he did.

            I have to ask though, does anyone here not follow the rest of the NHL? The whole buyout process has been made clear a few times in the last week by other teams that did what edmonton did yesterday.

    • Jason Gregor

      I stated numerous times on my show that the Oilers were planning on buying them out. Of course it wouldnt’ be OFFICIAL until today.

      Lots of players have been put on waivers in the past, and then didn’t get bought out. I reported that the Oilers had made their minds up to buy them out today.

      CBJ claim shocked them and Moreau. POS trade was just good wheeling by Tambellini. He is trying same thing with Nilsson, and if he doesn’t find a partner they will buy him out…

      • MrCondor

        I agree with you that the intent was there. But being bought out and being placed on waivers is an important distinction.

        If O’Sullivan and Moreau had been bought out, Oilers would have had a cap hit of around 2.7 million over 2 years.

        As it turns out, we got a gritty defenseman and no additional cap hit.

    • I agree with that 100%. The only people that didnt actually say they have been bought out was Jeff Marek on HNIC who always said, “wavied for the purpose of buying out”

      I guess were splitting hairs here. They were doomed to be gone regardless. We just got lucky someone wanted these guys.

  • Jason Gregor

    From Bob Mackenzie

    An interesting rumour, and I stress rumour at this point: Edmonton possibly moving defenceman Sheldon Souray to St. Louis with blueliner Eric Brewer coming back the other way. Souray is a $5.4 million cap hit who will make $4.5 million in each of next two seasons. Brewer is $4.25 million cap hit with a salary of $4.5 million for the coming season. The Oilers obviously must move Souray – he can’t play there now – but will have to take some money back. Could a Souray-Brewer trade be the answer?

    – Darren Dreger spoke with Souray, who pointed out that his no-trade clause lifts July 1st, so the Oilers can consider any interested teams. Souray still needs additional strengthening in his surgically-repaired hand, but vows to be ready for the 2010-2011 season and will provide his medical records to any interested clubs. Souray also noted, if there’s interest, he’s happy to return to Edmonton.

    • VMR

      Is Souray playing nice to try and facilitate a trade or is there a real possibility of him returning?

      Does picking up Vandermeer end any talk of bringing in Scott? It’s assumed Strudwick will be back and I can see them having all three of those players on the roster.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    Color me ignorant, but this buyout thing seems much more prevelant this season than in seasons passed. Are this many players in the NHL usually slated for buyout and i just don’t hear about it, or are there just a larger than normal amount?

  • wyseguy

    things are starting to take shape. I’m excited to see what shakes down with Souray and Cogliano. This is sure a different looking team, hopefully this means the “attitude” issues are taken care of too.

  • Tracie

    Jeez this is awesome!!! If I knew the rebuild was going to be so exciting, I wouldn’t have complained so much during the season! Vandermeer is expensive, but exactly what we are looking for on the backend – a defensive, tough, dman that will be hell to play against!

    Glad Moreau got picked up! Great guy and great Oiler, no so good captain and just didn’t fit on the team anymore. Thanks for the memories and the grit and effort Chopper!

    I wonder if this gives Nilsson a reality check now…the most skilled guy that the Oilers put on Waivers and still no one wants him…hopefully you wake up buddy!

    So far, totally impressed with Tambo’s work! Keep it up big guy!

        • Jason Gregor

          He would need to report to an AHL team, and then get recalled to be on re-entry waivers. He is in Edmonton. No player gets put on re-entry waivers until the season starts.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            Come on Gregor. Players do get put on re-entry in the summer. It’s another way to avoid the buyout.

            Like won’t and like have, I think no needs to be replaced with another word, rarely.

          • Jason Gregor

            Do you argue just for the sake of it??? How can a player be on re-entry waivers in the summer when there is no league to re-enter from.

            Waivers and re-entry waivers are different.

            You look like an idiot every time you speak without researching. I don’t have time to respond to your crap when you are wrong.

            Feel free to research things and when you prove I’m wrong tell me. I’m all for admitting when I’m wrong, but don’t waste my time accusing me when you are completely off-base.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            I have researched re-entry waivers and show me where it says you can’t put a guy on there so that instead of a buyout you only pay 50% of his contract?

            Seriously I was just bringing up some points and you have yet to prove I was wrong. Sure maybe no one was bought out in that second period before, but I brought up that I thought someone just about used it last year or the year before.

          • Jason Gregor

            Do you even understand what re-entry waivers is???

            You don’t PUT a guy on there.

            You put a player on waivers…If no one claims him, you can keep him or send him to the minors (during the season).

            When he is in the minors if you want to re-call him to your team, he goes on re-entry waivers. Then an opposing team can claim him and you pay 50% of salary and the other team pays 50%.

            A team can’t put a guy on re-entry waivers in the off-season since he never reported to the minors because there isn’t any.

            What did I report that was incorrect? Nothing?

            All you do is question things because you “think” it happened last year. Well it never has happened in the off-season, because it is impossible. So think again.

            I’ll be waiting for your apology…for wasting my time…but I doubt that will happen.

            Rather than question things you don’t know, why now ask how re-entry waivers works. That would save my time and the reader’s time.

          • Here’s an idea for you and everybody else who likes to bitch, split hairs and ridicule when they think a media guy gets something wrong about the CBA (or when he actually does): cut out the middleman and f*cking look it up yourselves.

            I don’t have the CBA memorized from cover-to-cover and I’ve been a hockey writer since 1983. Should I? I don’t think so.
            A working understanding of the CBA is part of my job, but knowing every section and sub-section off the top of my head is not. I’m guessing the same applies to radio talk show hosts, who have to cover other sports and have a lot more to do than gaze at the NHL’s CBA until it’s committed to memory.

            Sorry for jumping in, Jason, but I get a little sick of people who’d rather ask a question of somebody else than look it up themselves. Then, if the answer — often given as a courtesy without actually cracking open the documents — isn’t 100 per cent correct or applicable in every possibile scenario, the pissing and moaning begins. Enough.

  • Jason Gregor

    1) Good for Ethan Moreau. Thanks for the memories and good luck. 2) I vote for no captain this year, the kids are the future, wait till one of them claims it. 3) O’Sullivan for Vandemeer is a pretty good trade. I was always annoyed with him when he was in Calgary, hopefully it’ll give the Oilers someone annoying to play. 4) If Vandemeer is here, what happens to Strudwick and Johnson?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    This is one of the rare occasions where the yesterdays news today format (Newspapers) may have had the upper hand on this interwebnetthingy. Don’t get me wrong, i do much prefer this todays news today format here at Oilersnation.com, but i do believe Ethans agent was quoted yesterday claiming that Ethan Moreau has been bought out (past tense)

  • Spence.

    Why does everyone care about what was reported? It doesn’t matter. It was fun today to get the news that in fact Moreau had been picked up off waivers and POS traded!

    Makes the work day a whole lot better…especially when the Oil are making good sound moves.