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.
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.