LET’S MAKE A DEAL: PAGING DEAN LOMBARDI

I don’t have any doubt it makes sense for Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini and Los Angeles Kings boss Dean Lombardi to talk between now and the NHL trade deadline. I’d suggest they already have.

Lombardi not only has franchise cornerstones in Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson on his big roster, he’s got organizational depth on the blue line and could part with a prospect or two in his search for a top-six forward to complement Anze Kopitar. That much we know.

Tambellini, on the other hand, might have a decision to make on Dustin Penner or Ales Hemsky — keep one, both or neither — and could dangle one of them to bolster his blue line.

None of this is stop the presses stuff. A possible match in terms of wants and needs between the Kings and Oilers has been fodder for speculative bits and pieces on the internet for over a year now with familiar names being regurgitated — Colten Teubert and Thomas Hickey.

While Tambellini has said very little on or off the record, Lombardi has discussed his willingness and ability to make a move based on the blue line depth at his disposal. Lombardi is lining up potential trading partners and the Oilers are one of them.

HELP UP FRONT

Lombardi chatted with reporters here and there Wednesday before hopping on the bus after the Kings beat the Oilers 3-1, and he also took the time to do an on-air interview with Jason Gregor before the game.

While Lombardi isn’t talking specifics — it makes no sense to do so as he baits his hooks leading up to deadline day — he’s not exactly being coy about being in a position to make a splash.

"When you’re rebuilding, you’re building a reserve list," Lombardi told Gregor. "A reserve list is like a balance sheet. Once that thing piles up, then you can start making the deals that help your team."

Lombardi’s first choice would be a left-winger, which brings Penner into play when we’re talking about Tambellini. He’d also look at a right-winger like Hemsky. Make no mistake, though, Lombardi will be talking to a lot of GMs convinced they have the players it takes to meet his needs.

As for the most mentioned names, Teubert and Hickey, talks I’ve had with people in the know confirm they’re available. I’m also hearing that they aren’t knocking anybody’s socks off with Manchester of the AHL.

NAME GAME

If I’m Tambellini, I’m asking Lombardi about Vyacheslav Voynov, a 21-year-old Russian taken 32nd by the Kings in 2008, or Derek Forbort, plucked 15th overall last summer.

Voynov is leading Manchester in scoring from the back end. With the offensive-minded Doughty and Campbell already in the fold, the five-foot-11, 202-pound rushing Russian might be seen as redundant and could be available.

As for Forbort, the six-foot-five, 205-pounder from Minnesota is at the University of North Dakota. When Tambellini was trying to land a second pick in the first round in Los Angeles at the 2010 Entry Draft, Forbort was one of the players on the radar with his scouting staff.

For my money, I don’t know how much better Teubert is than big Alex Plante, and Hickey has been only OK, from what I’ve been told. Both are still kids of course, but if I’m moving Penner or Hemsky, I want more than a prospect with a Ladislav Smid-type top end coming back the other way in a package.

WHILE I’M AT IT . . .

— Had a chat with Jim Smyth after the game last night. While it doesn’t make sense on many levels, I find myself wondering if his pride and joy, Ryan, might end up back in Edmonton before he’s done playing. I can’t think of too many guys who’d set a better example showing Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi the ropes.

— Smyth gave Doughty the gears in the Los Angeles dressing room last night, telling reporters loud and clear near Doughty’s stall that he didn’t get a piece of either point shot that ended up behind Nikolai Khabibulin.

— Given Khabibulin’s Dirty Dozen, if I’m Devan Dubnyk’s agent, I’m putting in a call to Tambellini and asking if the Oilers supposed increasing focus on player development applies to my client.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Last year Simmonds had a monster year plus/minus wise while matching up with the other team’s top six players and he put up 16 goals and 40 points and killed penalties as well.

    He’s having a tough year this year but I think he’s been undervalued here Big time.

  • Smitty back? Brownlee please give us more stories that even just dangle the prospect of that happening in front of our noses. Would that ever be awesome. Did anyone else notice the cheers from Rexall that went up when Smitty got his first goal (or non-goal according to him)? You would have thought he was still an Oiler…

    • D-Man

      He got a pretty big cheer when they showed him on the jumbotron at the end of the American anthem as well. The woman singing got extra excited thinking it was all for her.

  • Oilers4ever

    The only way Smytty ever comes back here is if Kevin Lowe is no longer apart of this org… trading him over a few hundred thousand diff on a new contract.. retarded.. if I was Smyth, the way everything went down here, I’d never come back again until that occurs.

    As for the trading… sorry.. but the Kings don’t have enough… the only trade that makes and sense to me is Hemmer and Pens and a second round pick to NJ for Parise and Tallinder..

    • D-Man

      There’s no way NJ would part with Parise – even with their cap problems… The Kings also have more than enough for Tambo and Lombardi to at least talk… Brayden Schenn, Voynov, Forbort, Simmonds.. There’s a lot of potential pieces there worth a discussion… If anything, we probably don’t have enough for the Kings – Hemmer might be starting to have injury issues, and although Penner has played well these last 15 games, his rap sheet still has him ‘checking out’ of too many games… The Kings will need a bonafide top 6 NHLer… I don’t know if either Hemmer or Penner will be of interest; at least until the Kings have locked up a playoff spot.

      • Oilers4ever

        If they want to give us Schenn straight across for Penner then no problem, even add a 3rd round pick to LA… but to me otherwise, what LA has… maybe Jack Johnson… but seeing he just signed that big contract.. that’s like not to happen. Anyone else LA has isn’t worth our time unless they are going to be dumb and give us Kopitar or Dustin Brown which won’t happen… The Devils do have cap issues and that’s why they do need to do something or the will have this issue next year as well…The way I see it.. Parise’s injuries are much like Hemmer’s…. Either way, it likely won’t matter because when it comes to improving this team Tambo is a mushroom head and the only way this team gets better is with his arse in a canoe down the ole North Sask River…

  • misfit

    The dmen overall are terrible at getting their shots on net and having anything result from their play. Watching how the Kings scored their goals last night only hammered home our inept our rearguards are in comparison.

    There was an interesting moment in last night’s Sportsnet panel when Gene brought up the idea of if 94 would ever be an Oiler again and Stauffer started in on his salary before nearly trailing off only to say it might be the kind of guy the org could use in the future.

    Maybe I’m wrong about this but I got the feeling Stauffer was gonna say 94’s freight was too high before then realizing that the Oilers have tonnes of cap room and could certainly afford 94’s last year for the 2012 season.

    It was almost like you could see him realizing he was gonna be wrong about his first opinion so he tried to change gears without anyone noticing.

  • misfit

    Atlanta is apparently looking to add a couple forwards and a defenseman, but want something that will help them both right now as well as down the road.

    Where most contending teams are likely looking for rentals, the extra year on Penner/Hemsky might actually be a selling feature for Dudley and the Thrashers.

    What do the Thrashers have (that they might be willing to give up) that we would accept for one of Penner/Hemsky? I have no idea.

  • misfit

    ATL – Big Dman, skates well, rocket of a shot (101-103) and he’s got PP prowess. AHL allstar (missed the flight to the skills comp due to weather) and 35pts in 52 games. Plus he’s from around here and has some very attractive sisters 🙂

  • misfit

    the Kings are starting to pay people and Doughty isn’t even signed yet so I’m not sure they wouldn’t take a look at moving Simmonds.

    That being said, I don’t think it’s a given either. As I said earlier I think he’s being seriously undervalued by some people here.

    His ’10 season was downrightly beastly.

  • geoilersgist

    I agree, Dubnyk needs to be given the chance to grow with the kids. I remember another young goalie being hung out to dry alot cough…fleury…cough… and look at him now i dont think it hurt is grow. Who cares if Dubnyk ends up losing a lot let him play, he has earned at lest 20-25 of the remaining starts with his play this year

  • geoilersgist

    As always, very insightful Robin.
    Put me in the camp of not trading an established and known entity for a possible future Denis Grebeshkov.
    We need Penner and Hemmer, they win us games sometimes, which is more than I can say about a lot of our team.
    So Dustin married a Hollywood starlet? And now there is talk of “trading” him to LA?
    Great, now all we need is him crying at a press conference on August 9th, 1988, and break my heart again. I kid, of course. Gretzky was no Penner.
    (“Gretzkys Tears”, very good book, get it.)

  • geoilersgist

    Hemsky will NOT re-sign with Edmonton after the comments he made on sportsnet in December. I think they went along the lines of,

    “I don’t care if they want to rebuild, I didn’t stay to be a part of a rebuild… I am sick of hearing about it. I want to win”

    We should probably just keep him and let him walk, hey?

    RETARDED

    • Dwight K. Shrute

      Didn’t he say something like: “Rebuilding is not an excuse for losing.”

      Every professional athlete wants to win. He is sick of losing, and I am sure the whole team is. But I kind of believe Brownlee when he says that Hemsky seems upbeat about this team and actually having some talent around him.

      However, maybe I should start to listen to the guy who is nowhere near the team and changes quotes around in order to call people retarded.

  • Dwight K. Shrute

    Also, I like how people see a Russian offensive D man prospect and instantly compare him to Grebeshkov. Yeah, I wouldn’t trade Penner for a Grebeshkov, but how about a young Sergei Gonchar? He’s been pretty good in his career.

    But seriously, I hate how people see a young foreign D man, and have to compare him to a countryman. It irks me when people compare every good Swedish D prospect to Nik Lidstrom.

    • Dwight K. Shrute

      Seems like a lot of things irk you. Maybe try not worrying so much about it. Poeple are entitled to their opinions.

      Plus, it is valid that people compare players to other players from the same country. Would you disagree that countries are known (on average, and that on average bit is important to emphasize, so you don’t go off on a wild tangent) to produce certain “styles” of players?

  • Oilers4ever

    What we need is patience. Let the teams like LA who think they have a shot come to us and offer first. Never let someone know what you want and what your willing to give up to get it. Tambo isn’t stupid as most would seem to think. I too like a player like Brayden Shenn. He was outstanding at The WJHC. But that is a whole lot different than playing in the NHL. How many names have we seen play at the WJHC that never played in the NHL? Proven top 6 fowards are not something teams trade everyday. There are just so few guys who can score 25 or more goals in this league consistently anymore. The wash of talent is enormous. The number of players out there is incredible. But how many actually make it to the NHL? And play a top 6 role. Currently 180 have that job. Thats a very small percentage of the toatl overall players available worldwide. Giving up a Hemsky or a Penner requires thought, patience and equal if not better return if the player is traded. Let Lombardi talk. Thats all it is. Talk.