The NHL trade deadline is February 28th at 1PM Edmonton time. Last year there were over 30 trades on Deadline Day and another 20 or so leading up to it. Why talk about it this soon? Two reasons: the Oilers should be very involved and the Oilers did quite well at the last deadline. Can Steve Tambellini do it again?
Logic suggests that 50 trades in a 30 team league means that an average team would be involved in 3.3 trades each deadline period (if 50 trades is the norm). The Oilers did some big business at the last deadline:
- March 1: D Denis Grebeshkov to Nashville for their 2nd rd pick. Stu MacGregor turned that into Curtis Hamilton.
- March 2: D Cody Wild to Boston for F Matt Marquardt.
- March 3: D Lubo Visnovsky to Anaheim for D Ryan Whitney and a 6th rd pick in 2010. MBS turned that selection into Brandon Davidson.
- March 3: D Steve Staios to Calgary for D Aaron Johnson and 2011 3rd rd pick.
There are a couple of items here: first, the Oilers traded defensemen in all 4 transactions. That’s a theme for every trade deadline, a day when grizzled veterans enjoy their peak value. When a team trades for a 33-year old defenseman it’s like taking out insurance on injury. Better to give up your 2nd or 3rd rd pick in the summer than endure the pain of the 2005-06 Buffalo Sabres (brief description here).
I’ve discussed the Oilers possible trade assets for 2011 here and here. Among the current Oiler blue, I’d suggest that Jim Vandermeer, Ladislav Smid and Kurtis Foster are possible trade items that fit the trade deadline "need for blue" so many playoff bound teams will be looking for at the end of February.
The Oilers have trade partners that they do a lot of business with and that may factor into the deadline:
- Carolina: Oilers acquired and then dealt Erik Cole to the Hurricanes in the recent past.
- Los Angeles Kings: The Lubo-Stoll/Greene deal and the Cole-Williams-O’Sullivan trade.
- Philadelphia Flyers: Pitkanen trade and the Potulny deal since 2007 summer.
Edmonton has also done business with the Islanders, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Nashville, Boston, Anaheim, Calgary, Chicago and Phoenix. I can’t imagine another Flames-Oilers trade but those other teams should be considered as we look toward the deadline.
Edmonton (and other non-playoff teams) are going to enjoy an active market based on how many teams are still in the playoff hunt. 10 eastern conference teams are in go mode and as many as 14 western teams are probably thinking about adding men. More on the deadline in the days to come.