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.
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.