The prophecy for this trade deadline suggested lots of movement in Edmonton. As one of the few teams clearly out of the playoff race, it was thought that the club would be active. Now? It’s a moving target.
Things can change in a quick hurry and that is the case of the Edmonton Oilers over the last 6 weeks. In early January I discussed the trade deadline options and came up with a trio of candidates for offloading: Ales Hemsky, Andy Sutton and Nikolai Khabibulin.
As it turned out, the organization must have taken stock of what was available to replace Hemsky in-house and decided against elevating Linus Omark or Teemu Hartikainen to a feature role. It was a wise decision; although those players may one day have NHL jobs they were a long way from being able to replace Hemsky and the things he brings to the rest of the roster.
Hemsky’s gifts allow the team to play him against tougher opponents and still get offense at 5×5. It’s a tough gig, one that Jordan Eberle may one day occupy. However, Hemsky’s presence allows #14 to kick the daylights out of the softer opposition (and that’s no easy task, either) and means RW is settled for the Oilers top 2 lines through spring 2014.
According to our friends at behind the net, the Oilers send Hemsky out against the toughest competition, followed by Eberle, Ryan Jones and Lennart Petrell. I’m not sure what the 3-4 RW’s will look like next season, but that’s a very nice 1-2 punch.
DEADLINE DAY IS RUINED!
It could be slow for Oilers fans on Monday, but there are some candidates to go:
- Ryan Jones: Winger has been scratched the last couple of games but has experience, grit and can score goals. He’s exactly the player type that gets added for depth at the deadline.
- Theo Peckham: The emergence of Jeff Petry and the return of the injured veterans gives the Oilers options. Signing Andy Sutton would appear to put Teddy Peckman’s future in at least a little doubt.
- Ben Eager: The big man took some time to find his way as an Oiler, but his size/speed combined with a little offensive ability means he might be a player of interest.
- Eric Belanger: I know, he hasn’t been effective for much of the season, but Belanger’s track record as a 2-way center who can PK might be enough to attract NHL teams looking for that type of player.
- Nikolai Khabibulin: I suggested this in January and was met with some derision, but if an NHL needs a goaltender badly enough it might happen. Extreme longshot, though. He’s been going the wrong way since the early hot streak.
There’s no Hemsky, that’s true. However, Oiler fans should stay tuned this weekend and on Monday. As we’ve seen with the Hemsky situation, things can change in a heartbeat.
WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN?
The Oilers signing of Hemsky gives the team another NHL veteran who can play against tough competition. They don’t grow on trees and God knows the Oilers haven’t had enough of them since 2006 spring. And one final thing: a hat tip to our own Jason Gregor, who wrote an item that basically called the shot here at Oilers Nation earlier in the week that laid it all out re: Hemsky as it would eventually go down.
Nation Radio hits the airwaves today at noon on Team 1260. Guests scheduled to appear:
- Terry Jones from the Edmonton Sun and perhaps the hottest twitter account in Edmonton. Terry will help us put this week into perspective and I’ll ask him how he sees the trade deadline working out with 83’s signing.
- Kent Wilson from Flames Nation. Kent always gives a unique perspective on the Flames and all things NHL. We’ll discuss the Flames week, what Jay Feaster might do if they let him near the telephone and that tweet about Hemsky from Flames official site.
- Richard Pollock from Illegal Curve. The Jets have been such an interesting story and arrive at the deadline as a clear buyer. I’ll ask Richard what that might mean for Jets fans over the next 72 hours.
- James Mirtle from the Globe and Mail. James will handle the Leafs portion of the deadline drama, and that could fill an hour but we’ll only have 15 minutes. I’ll also ask James about an interesting article about what it’s like to get traded at the deadline.
- David Staples from the EJ’s Cult of Hockey. David always has a unique opinion and backs it up with logic and reason. I’m looking forward to his view of the Oilers at the deadline.
- Cam Charron from Canucks Army. Vancouver is the one Canadian team that could stand pat and still deliver an impressive playoff 23, but from the sounds of things they will be active.
Emails welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can leave items in the comments section here. I’m also @lowetide_ on twitter and @ItsNationRadio. Should be fun.