NO REINFORCEMENTS

Expecting a trade before the period around the deadline is folly for Oiler fans. It is a very rare thing–in fact, the last major trade in the deep fall for this organization was Guerin for Carter. What would it take for the Oilers to change their modus operandi?

The Guerin trade happened November 10, 2000. By my count, here are the trades in November and December by the Edmonton Oilers since that day:

  • December 13, 2005: Oilers acquire F Blake Evans from St. Louis for future considerations.
  • November 19, 2005: Oilers trade D Alexei Semenov to Florida for a conditional 2006 draft pick.
  • December 16, 2003: Oilers acquire a 1st rd pick in 2004, a 3rd round pick in 2005 and D Jeff Woywitka from Philadelphia for C Mike Comrie.
  • December 12, 2002: Oilers trade L Josh Green to NY Rangers for a conditional 2004 draft pick.
  • December 18, 2000: Oilers acquire F Sergei Zholtok from Montreal for F Chad Kilger.

Steve Tambellini was hired as GM in July of 2008, meaning he could have taken November and December off each season. Oiler fans will well remember that Edmonton’s favorite team could have used some help during those months but there was none coming via the trade route.

WHAT COULD CHANGE THE TUNE?

An injury to the starting goaltender would change things in a heartbeat. Edmonton does have minor league depth, but coach Renney doesn’t use Dubnyk as much as he’d suggested and that probably speaks to confidence in the backup. If Nikolai Khabibulin were to be injured, fans would likely question the workload and the organization would probably shop around for options before calling up Yann Danis. 

 NO REINFORCEMENTS 

Aside from that, it’s not in the cards. The Oilers continue to play their hand and use injuries as an opportunity to see which of the young hires can step in and make the grade. So far, it’s a mixed result, as the #1’s and lottery kids are doing fine and the rest are up and down like a toilet seat.

It’s the long haul, it’s slow and steady wins the race. Make sure the goalie’s okay and patch up with binder twine, Elmer’s glue and Heinz Baked Beans. 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

You’d have to be fairly high up in the chain of command to know for sure, but I think it means a few long nights watching kids bleed out, but we’re used to it and there are some positives. Colten Teubert looks like he might be able to help out next season and maybe that means the club can add two or three assets together and make a big trade for the future during the summer.

Robin Brownlee wrote yesterday about Ales Hemsky and he’s definitely the "player to watch" leading up to the deadline. Hemsky’s destination–I’ll guess Detroit–might see another player head out in a bigger trade.

And maybe a mid-season audition helps an organization decide that Teubert is ready enough to help and that would shake loose another player in a bigger trade. If the Oilers ask after Kindl and the Wings want a defenseman in return, does Teubert’s audition give Steve Tambellini the confidence to deal a defenseman and insert Teubert into the every night lineup?

These are the things Steve Tambellini is mulling over this December. This might no be a flushing of defenseman at this year’s deadline, there might be something different in the air.

Ales Hemsky might be heading out with a depth defender in exchange for a big part of the future along the blue.

Just make sure the goalie’s healthy.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Enough with this “buying in” to what the coaches want.

    If our coaches and team management can’t recognize a real talent and find ways to maximize that talent, then the fault lies with them and not the player.

    It takes all kinds to make up a good team, even the Soviets as robotic as they played took the reins off Kharlamov.

    So sick of Oiler fans giving up on good players because they don’t fit exactly into the mold that management and coaching currently wants to squeeze the into…

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    I wonder if New Jersey would take this offer considering Parise might be on his way out. Hemsky, Peckham, Chorney and a 2nd rounder for Volchenkov. Hemsky would get ample play time with a right handed LW shooter like Kovalchuk.

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      You might be on to something there, might be a deal to be made in NJ.

      They’ve got some solid Dmen that are probably slightly overpaid, that they might be willing to move and I believe they have to give up their 1st rounder in one of the next 2 years so they don’t have a bunch of motivation to tank (ie might be more willing to take on an expiring contract… and work on resigning him then another struggling team)

      • Romulus' Apotheosis

        Vokchenkov plays a hard game and knows how to throw a big hit when needed. Even a Hemsky straight across for Volchenkov would br fair but considering Hemsky’s status as a UFA and the need for at least one more dman might sweeten the deal. Maybe a sign and trade a’la Setoguchi is in order for Hemsky.

        • Romulus' Apotheosis

          Thanks. I don’t know much about him.

          Looking at his numbers he doesn’t look that impressive (but I don’t remember seeing him on the ice so I’m at a disadvantage) and seems to have injury trouble.

          I’m in a kind of all or nothing position that wants more than what sounds like what Peckham might become or Teubert – a hopefully reliable 5th or 6th D with some hitting with outside chance of becoming a 4th.

          Most depth charts I’ve seen for NJD put him 6th or 7th. Do we need that? Is he projected to climb much higher than that? I honestly don’t know.

          I mean who would have thought Smid would turn out? So maybe. But I’d be reticent to trade Hemsky for a low depth D with possible upside returns like Volchenkov or Kindl. It seems we’ve got enough of those around right now.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            hmmm that raises an interesting question… would you trade Hemsky for Smid?

            I’d probably pull the trigger on a defensive top 4 D like Smid.

            Do you really think Volchenkov could play that high up the depth chart (or Kindl for that matter)? If so… then yea… I’d definitely have to think harder about it.

            (I think for less than a top 4 you would be selling Hemsky short or at least not helping the team – we’ve got enough guys to play the bottom 5-7)

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            I wouldn’t if we were talking a healthy, extended Hemsky.

            But at this point I’d LOVE if we could swap him for a #4 under contract for a few more years.

          • Stocc

            I don’t think Volchenkov plays a very offensive game but he is a very reliable defender. He blocks a ton of shots and where his value lies is his willingness to throw thundering hits. He’d be a top 4 on this team for sure alongside Cory “Pronger” “Harry” Potter. On a totally unrelated note I’d like to see Tuebert play minutes with Whitney. I have a hunch they might gel.

  • misfit

    The time to trade Hemsky for anything that’ll impact the NHL team has long passed, IMO. If he’s traded this year (and I’m confident he will be), I’d have to think picks and prospects will be the return. I just hope it’s a high pick and a prospect who’s on the cusp of making the NHL or has a good chance to become something. I fear, however, that we’ll end up with a Thrasher special instead; A 1st round pick from a contender and a famous prospect (ie. former 1st rounder) who’s been going backwards since draft day.

    Hemsky is too good a player to let go for a package of magic beans, which is why teams need to make decisions on those types of players a year earlier than their contract dictates. You never want to be trading players like Hemsky at the deadline, IMO.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    I think the Oiler’s Plan A should be looking at a one year to two year extension with Hemsky on a “hometown discount” given his recent play and chronic injuries with a deadline of, say, January 15th to either commit and get an extension done or else prepare to play elsewhere by the deadline. This would also dovetail with the time when the lotto kids will be looking for raises and the team could make a final decision regarding Hemsky.

    Plan B would be to shop Hemsky around the league after the 15th. I would even go so far as to implement Plan B notwithstanding the team’s position in the standings in January because the Oil have to learned to play without him the last few seasons and he’s too valuable to let him walk away on July 1st without something in return and given that there could be a work stoppage next year. The return should hopefully be a top 4 defender (and a little something extra) but if you can’t make that happen, then a first rounder, another pick and a prospect like in other deals (i.e. Penner, Smyth). I agree with some of the other posts that Hemsky would have netted a bigger return just after the draft or in the opening days of July, but what’s done is done.

    This team is not yet ready for a Stanley Cup run and I would rather see them miss the playoffs without Hemsky in the lineup than limp into the playoffs and get crushed with him.

  • Oilerbill

    Trading Hemsky should be the last resort at 2:59 pm on trade deadline day if a deal can not be done. Unless he goes on a tear from now till march his trade value is essentially nothing. Remeber the deal we got for Ryan Smyth almost 5 years ago? One player is bought out and two are still question marks. His value could not have been higher at that time as a UFA. Hemsky, we would be lucky to get a first rounder and a resurrection project. His trade value has not been lower since his sophmore season. He is worth more as an Oiler. If he is willing to sign for fair value to a 2-3 year deal we keep him. If it’s not working out we trade him under contract.

    He can still contribute to this team in a big way when we need him most. The next 2-3 years.

  • stevezie

    I was watching a lot of Sens games Volchenkov’s last year with them, and at the time I thought he was one of the best hitters in the league. Blocks a lot of shots too. I wouldn’t mind making a phone call even if we resign Hemsky. As has already been mentioned, they have a lot of pricey d-men and they’re a team on a budget.