Every deadline it’s the same: NHL teams enter into a feeding frenzy over NHL capable defensemen.
No matter how many cobwebs an NHL defensemen possesses, he’s worth something at the deadline. The Edmonton Oilers last two deadlines prove it, with the transactions going so deep AHL level blue were involved both seasons.
- Deadline 2010: Oilers add D Ryan Whitney and D Aaron Johnson, sending away D’s Lubomir Visnovsky, Steve Staios, Denis Grebeshkov and minor league D Cody Wild.
- Deadline 2011: Oilers add D Colten Teubert and minor league D Kevin Montgomery, sending away D Shawn Belle. Oilers also used the draft pick acquired in the Dusitn Penner deal to acquire D Oscar Klefbom at the draft.
OVERPAYMENT THE KEY
I imagine the Oilers would be getting all kinds of offers for Andy Sutton now, but they signed him to an extension and he’ll be an Oiler in 12-13. The one thing about deadline deals for defensemen that remains true all down the line: overpayment is a given.
The reason? Defensemen can get hurt by the dozen, and a team without enough depth can be extremely disadvantaged by it. Vancouver had trouble a year ago with injuries and suspensions, and famously Buffalo went beyond reason 2006 spring.
OH-OH, WHO’S GOING AT THE DEADLINE?
NHL teams are always looking for aggressive defensemen who play with determination and intensity.
Theo Peckham, a crushing blueliner with low mileage and plenty of crust might be the most likely candidate for trade at the deadline. I can see an NHL team making a move for Peckham as insurance and then signing him as a low risk 5-7D next season. We’ve seen him long enough to know that along with the warts (coverage, going out of position for the big hit) there are positives (the young man hits like a sledgehammer, and has been effective on the PK) and he could have a solid career in the NHL.
Cam Barker is a young man who has had some struggles this season, but NHL general managers have a history of giving former lottery picks plenty of chances. You can see the reasoning: Barker was good enough to go very high in his draft year but has been unable to convert that ability to the NHL level. The temptation to "buy low" and find a role for the player to flourish and grow must be very strong.
Taylor Chorney was once a highly touted Oiler prospect but has fallen away with the development of Jeff Petry. He was lost to waivers earlier in the year and is an RFA this summer. Edmonton doesn’t talk about him as a legit NHL option, and there’s a stampede of kids on the way. Chorney might be in the mix this deadline for a team looking for increased NHL/AHL depth. The Oilers have paid great attention to the OKC defense, so his availability for trade may depend on Alex Plante’s ability to play in the AHL post-season (Plante is out with a concussion at this time).
IS ANYONE COMING BACK?
Maybe. The Oilers do have a track record for addition on defense at or near the deadline. There was a rumor earlier in the week that Edmonton was interested in Blue Jacket defender Marc Methot a tall tree with toughness and experience. He is on IR currently with a broken jaw, but the Oilers may not consider that an issue–they’d be acquiring him for next year’s team.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The last time I watched the Oscars was to make sure that Marisa Tomei won–and that was 20 years ago! No sir, give me the trade deadline anytime and the truth is the deadline is on now and will continue until Monday afternoon. Steve Tambellini has already had an exceptional deadline, getting Ales Hemsky signed does more for next year’s team than anything else he’s going to get done in the next 48 hours.
Mr. Tambellini has suggested the Oilers won’t be terribly active this deadline, but he said the same thing about free agency on June 30.
Up next: the deadline wraps up with a look at the forwards.