Trade Deadline Primer 1.0

In August of last season, the Edmonton Oilers hired a Sutter. This is the equivalent of a Hatfield sitting down with a McCoy.

Duane Sutter joins the other Oiler pro scouts in searching the universe for useful plug and players. In the calendar year 2011, Edmonton’s pro scouts would have been (at a guess) responsible for giving their input on the following players:

  • minor league prospect Colten Teubert
  • AHL defenseman Kevin Montgomery
  • Finnish winger Lennart Petrell
  • Finnish winger Antti Tyrvainen
  • AHL forward Ryan Keller
  • NHL defender Andy Sutton
  • AHL defender Corey Potter
  • NHL enforcer Darcy Hordichuk
  • NHL winger Ben Eager
  • NHL defenseman Cam Barker
  • NHL center Eric Belanger
  • AHL goalie Yann Danis

I didn’t include Taylor Fedun but he could have been scouting by the pro side of the staff too. The Oilers coaching staff found a useful PK winger in the Finn Petrell and a defender in Corey Potter. By any stretch, those two additions have outperformed their initial cost. Future possibles include another Finn (Tyrvainen) and another AHL defenseman (Teubert).

This trade deadline and the summer will be even more important for the organization. The team once again needs defensemen, and there will probably be increased importance placed on goaltending. Devan Dubnyk is not established as an NHL starter and the Oilers will no doubt look to add to their "top 4" of Ryan Whitney, Tom Gilbert, Ladislav Smid and Jeff Petry.


Now I know Morey Gare and the Oilers pro scouts don’t spend their days golfing, this photo is an attempt at humor. I can’t imagine how thankless scouting games must be–watching hockey games is a blast but the travel is insane and the hotels aren’t that pretty.



This is Ben Bishop. He is a quality AHL goaltender (SP is top 3 in the league) and will be a free agent this summer unless an NHL team (Edmonton?) can get him into enough games before season’s end. Bishop is 6.07, 215 and at 25 has enough college and pro experience to be considered ready to challenge for NHL employment.

I don’t know the asking price, but St. Louis looks set in goal and will no doubt have a shopping list at the deadline. Edmonton might be a match. Bishop’s scouting report is somewhat similar to Dubnyk’s and the club will need to find their goalie of the future (if it isn’t Dubnyk) sooner than later.


A few things. This kicks off the trade deadline primers and this time around it’ll be all about what is out there. We have mulled over the names heading out of town since Christmas. It’s time to look at useful items the Oilers can bring in at the deadline.

It also opens up the conversation in regard to Devan Dubnyk’s ability to be a number one NHL goaltender. I’ve long been a fan of his game (dating back to Kamloops) and do believe he is a solid young goalie. However, the Oilers need certainty in net and DD is inconsistent and reaching an age when he’ll be too old to have that word as part of his resume and be considered a top option.

Ben Bishop is an inexpensive possible replacement and because of his unique situation (pending free agency unless he plays a certain number of NHL games combined with playing for an NHL team that has the position covered) it gives the Oilers a window of opportunity.

Up next: a defenseman flying under the radar who could help next season.

  • I still think our pro-scouting is less than stellar. Certainly not as good as the amateur scouting. Renney should get 100% of the credit when it comes to Corey Potter… and Belanger is a bit of a no brainer (I should clarify that I think he fits needs well, in spite of his offensive problems).

    Some of the names above outside of that look not too bad though. This year’s moves impressed me a lot better than previous years also. But that also had a lot to do with the Oil brass finally catching on to what 99% of Oil fans already knew about (the need for a PK/FO guy, for example).

    Ben Bishop would be a good pickup, but time is running out there.. they’ll have to hurry up and do that whilst also moving a goaltender.

  • A-Mc

    I could see the oil trading khabi for a D prospect, thus leaving a spot open for the potential replacement. I guess the question is, do you try to buy a vet FA goalie over the summer or do you grab another young guy and hope him and duby grow into a solid duo.

    Freeing up some $$ I am curious to know what our best D options are on the FA market. I really don’t know if we can afford to trade any of our forwards that have value; we need them all.

    It seems to me that free agency is a tough place to pickup guys. You’ll probably get a struggling player that needs another shot OR you pickup some ugly price tag and you end up with a horc contract. If I’m mistaken about the quality of FA pickups, I’d love to be corrected. FA signings make me a bit nervous.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    What would the asking price be for Bishop, or might the Oil wait and try for him as a FA signing (if they want him).

    Speaking of goalies… how are our Finns turning out and what are the chances that Bunz pushes for a job 3-4 years down the road? If the Oilers think he might be legit, how would that affect their long term strategy?

    • a lg dubl dubl

      I don’t think Bishop would be in play unless they could find a trade for Khabby. They have played with the three headed goalie monster before and there was no benefit.

      I think having Bunz working his way up is just good management. I don’t know if you can have too many goal prospects unless of course you have no farm system.

      My point is I hope the Oil have learned from their goal developing mistakes of the past. Ideally we would see DD at the very least become a capable 50-60 game guy and in a few years when the push is on Bunz would be the one to take the team to the next level.

      I would still put an offer in to Bishop in the summer but I am sure 29 other teams will too. He will likely sign with the team that gives him the best shot at starting in the NHL. I doubt that would be Edmonton as they already have there goaltending suspect as it is under contract.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Ive noticed that DD can make the 1st and 2nd saves, but the d seems to leave him hanging when the play starts to get scrambly, and the dmen start looking at the puck instead of taking the nearest opposing player out of the play.

  • LT;

    Bishop my be a good goalie but to me he’s really still unproven and will cost he Oilers at least a reasonable pick plus maybe a prospect.

    I’ve been saying that the Oilers should go after Harding this summer. He’s a proven goalie who shown he can play well and he’s a western boy. He shouldn’t command a lot of dollars this summer.

  • LT – “Bishop’s scouting report is somewhat similar to Dubnyk’s and the club will need to find their goalie of the future (if it isn’t Dubnyk) sooner than later.”

    IMO Dubnyk is not the number one goaltender the Oilers need. He has the same issues he has had since the beginning. Can’t control rebounds, muffs even the nothingburger shots and seems to lack solid positioning way too often. I don’t see him getting any better. At 25 or 26 years of age I think it’s decision time.

    I’d love to be inside Chabot’s mind at this point to see what he thinks.

  • Seriously....Gord?

    I don’t see Khabi making it past the buyout period despite a better year. By the end of the season, his stellar start should average out and he’ll show sub par starter numbers again. DD will prob have better numbers.

    Yan Danis is doing a stellar job down there in the AHL. Perhaps he takes the backup role next year on the big team. He’s No 1 GAA, and 6 SV% with .02% seperating #2-#6

  • Seriously....Gord?

    That brings up an interesting question. Is Danis the AHL goalie that the Oilers can promote? Is Bishop any better of an option?
    While accumulating assets is a priority for any GM I’m not sure the Oilers wouldn’t be better served to sign him to a two way deal in the summer and not have to give anything back the other way.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      He might not be available I guess if you wait…

      Good question on Danis, though… is he call-up-able? Or an AHL onlyer?

      For next year I guess it would depend on these factors:

      1) Does the Oil keep both Danis and LeNevue? (both are playing pretty well – somehow they both have a .923 although Danis in 29 games, LeNevue only 19)

      2) If Danis comes up to back up DD (or something), can LeNevue handle the #1 spot at OKC? Would the Oil potentially sacrifice another AHL dominating year?

      3) Is Roy ready to step up from Stockton to OKC (he’s .925 down there now)? Could he fill in LeNevue’s back-up spot?

      If some combination of those things shake out maybe DD could split duties with Danis next year up in the bigs?

      I don’t know what the Oil would do with Khabbie’s contract next year in that case.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Josh Harding, if available, is probably going to be overpaid in the summer by some desperate team, but if the Oilers could land him, at a reasonable price, that would be ideal. That is if DD is deemed not to be the guy, and Khabby is unloaded at the deadline.

    On defence, after Ryan Suter, the only decent options for a UFA d-man appear to be Wideman or Carle. Somehow the Oilers brass needs to convince Suter to sign. Maybe Katz could offer him 10 million under the table as a signing bonus.

    Unless of course we go after RFA’s Karlsson, Carlsen, and Del Zotto which would be shocking but never say never.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    The fact that Devan isn’t any further along this learning curve must certainly reveal he was far better off spending the last two seasons in the American league. They handled Deslaurier poorly and now they’ve mis managed Dubnyk.

    Oilers would be better off with Khabby and Bishop next season. Maybe Bishop for Dubnyk staight up.

  • RexLibris

    This summer I wonder if the Oilers would be able to move Khabibulin to one of either Tampa Bay or Columbus. I realize that either of these teams may also be taking a run at Bishop, but perhaps they would be more interested in a veteran goalie with a proven record (whatever that record may be) than an AHL goaltending version of Fabian Brunnstrom. Neither of those teams, I think, wants to wager too heavily on an unproven prospect at this point.

    Were the Oilers to trade Khabibulin to either team for a draft pick or prospect that would open up a roster spot to either pursue Bishop with the sales pitch of a young team and a still-evolving goaltending picture, or promote Danis. I have to think that Roy will probably move to the AHL next season and Bunz will go to the ECHL for a season.

    One thing that I think is forgotten about Tambellini’s history is that he was, to some extent, responsible for the development structure of the Canucks. The Moose, under his watch, became a perennial AHL force and players were developed slowly and deliberately in the farm system until they were ready to succeed at the next level. Players like Kesler, Burrows, Edler, Schneider, and Hodgson all spent considerable time developing.

    Might Tambellini be planning the same thing for prospects like Marincin, Bunz, Roy, Hamilton, Pitlick, and so on? It would seem to make sense. To that end, bringing in Bishop to replace Dubnyk as backup and graduating Dubnyk to the starter role and moving out Khabibulin would be in line with that strategy. The counter-argument would be that Tambellini has shown a strong sense of loyalty to veterans in the past and may not move Khabibulin until the trade deadline next year, if at all should the Oilers find themselves in a playoff push a year from now.

    One aspect of the pro scouting department that can be frustrating for us fans is that, while the amateur scouting can be more easily evaluated (a third round pick for Cameron Abney?), the pro scouting results are so mixed because there isn’t the obvious showcase there that exists with draft day coverage and statistical progression analysis of prospects. There seems to be more behind-the-scenes work in pro scouting and the ability of the players to choose their own destination plays a role in obfuscating the process as well.

    Speaking of the Blues, would they consider Hemsky for Shattenkirk and a pick? Perhaps throwing Sutton or Peckham in as well to make up the loss of a defenceman? I’m not sure that is worth the price for a rental from St. Louis’ perspective, but I’m just looking at other potential trade partners. I remember recently hearing it mentioned that St. Louis was looking for some more forward depth and scoring and so might be another team that could show interest.

    Of course, with L.A. sinking like a stone and struggling to score more than one goal a game (with Darryl Sutter at the helm? Who would’ve thought…) They might just yet cough up that young man Voynov for Hemsky and a bag of Dustin Penner’s scoring mojo.

    • D-Man

      In regards to your trade speculations… I’d take both trades in a heartbeat… Unfortunately, the Blues won’t deal Shattenkirk considering a) they dealt Eric Johnson to get him and b) they have Perron and McDonald coming back from injury… They don’t need Hemsky…

      LA won’t deal Voynov… They need scoring, but won’t deal a decent D-man… We have to remember that if we’re selling Hemsky to cup contending teams, they won’t deal actual decent players… They’ll be dealing draft picks and prospects (like Teubert) that are a couple of years away.. Voynov will be a regular in the NHL next year…

  • D-Man

    If I’m Tambo, I’m digging up old highlights and game sheets with Hemmer setting up Penner and Stoll for goals and texting these to Lombardi on a daily basis. If Lombardi call blocks you, get another phone.

  • Naughty

    This will draw the ire of a few but, i will say it anyway

    Trade EDM to LA

    From Edm

    3rd Rounder 2012
    5th Rounder 2012
    1st Rounder 2013

    From LA

    1st Rounder 2012

    Penner is a FA at seasons end, can and will walk away, unless you can get him for 1.5 mil

    Then Send Khabi to Tampa or anyone else for a 5th – 7th Rounder

  • Time Travelling Sean

    Ok, I gotta get this off my chest especially after reading Lowetide throw DD under the bus while trying not to sound like he was. For a 25 year old goalie whose played 27 NHL games this year with a WHL defense in front of him he has been terrific. You can pick his stats apart if you want, but he’s been showing more and more character every game. To even suggest that we should trade him for an American-born player (also 25) whose got the same save % in Peoria this yearb is just complete insanity. Let’s face some facts here: DD has been getting absolutely shelled and he’s been taking it pretty well. It’s too late to speculate about the benefits of more time inte AHL – give this kid his due, and a little more time and stop the talk about “franchise goalie”. He’s got more skill and guts than Ty Conklin and Jeff Deslauriers so lets just take a step back while the season plays out.