NHL General Managers at the deadline go from aggressive to homicidal. Most are trying to "keep up with the Joneses" by adding parts to their team while also keeping valuable items from their opponents. The Oilers had a major item on the block just a few hours ago, but Ales Hemsky’s signing means Edmonton doesn’t have any forwards who’ll go at the deadline. Or do they?

Steve Tambellini’s trade deadline work got an "A" the moment Ales Hemsky signed his contract, and that means the Oilers should be much less active this deadline. Robin Brownlee’s recent story on the Oilers at the deadline put it right: no deadline day blockbusters expected. It should be noted however, that Tambellini said the club would not be terribly active on the eve of the July 1 flurry that saw this team add Ben Eager, Andy Sutton, Darcy Hordichuk, Eric Belanger and Corey Potter.

June 30, 2011:"I don’t know if anything is going to happen. We already have some young players in some profile spots. If I can find a player or two who gives us some of that poise and experience or some grit we’ll do that. I don’t know if it’ll happen July 1 or July 20." Steve Tambellini.

So, we trust, but verify.



Maybe. NHL GM’s will go after the difference makers but also "role" players, and those player types are in more abundance. An NHL team looking for a big forward with speed and aggressiveness may not have Ben Eager at the top of the list but if one or two options at the top of the list are dealt elsewhere or unavailable then a team might come calling.

Ben Eager started slowly this season–possibly concussion related–but in recent weeks has shown his ability in almost every game. If an NHL team had a pro scout following the Oilers in the last three weeks I’d suggest Eager is on someone’s list. It doesn’t mean the Oilers trade him, but based on recent performance Eager may be a player of interest.

Sam Gagner’s name has been mentioned, but msm members have discounted this rumor and I agree. WHY would the Oilers suffer through the growing pains and offload Samwise when things look so good? Washington would have to send over a king’s ransom for the young man at this point. John Carlson would probably have to be in the return and that makes no sense for the Caps, either. I think it’s a non-starter.

Eric Belanger is exactly the player type who gets dealt at the deadline, and despite a subpar season and two more years on his contract this is a player who could go imo. The Oilers may not want to deal him, but with RNH and Gagner ready for the skill lines next season, Lander likely for employment and Horcoff’s deal immovable, it wouldn’t be a surprise to find out Belanger is in play.

Ryan Jones is perhaps the most likely candidate for trade, owing to the Oilers coaching staff recent shuffle that sees Jones in the PB (although that will change tomorrow in Winnipeg according to reports). Jones can score goals, works hard and an NHL  team acquiring him might feel he can be slotted anywhere from line 3 through the pressbox.

Lennart Petrell is UFA this summer and has some unique qualities. Petrell is an impressive forechecker and uses that skill with great effectiveness on the penalty kill. A playoff team with that weakness might

Linus Omark is in the AHL at this time but an NHL team looking for some help offensively and a value contract might ask for him at the deadline. Omark is finally healthy and has been impressive in OKC since his return. The Oilers may have a role for him in the future, but with the signing of Hemsky I’m having a hard time seeing what it might be at the NHL level.

Josh Green is a free agent this summer and has had some time at the NHL level. A team looking for some AHL depth and to improve their list of possible callup might look to Green to help in this area.


The Oilers have a group of players they signed via free agency last summer–Ben Eager, Eric Berlanger, Lennart Petrell–and they may end up having them back for another season. However, an NHL team in the market for their skill set and motivated by the deadline can change things in a heartbeat. It’s important to note that the Oilers may not be shopping these players, but the calls could come in anyway.

A classic example of this is covered by Punch Imlach in his book "Heaven and Hell in the NHL":

The Oilers, as it happens, have a goalie. A veteran hand with a Stanley Cup ring. The trade deadline is the NHL’s "Opposite George" and Edmonton’s roster has some things other teams might find attractive. It happens every year. Will it happen for Edmonton?

    • paul wodehouse

      …what I’d give for a THAT fine set of teeth…

      … 20 goes out for every faceoff…he goes off and comes back only for faceoffs…gets to 60+% on the dot… keep him…
      hold on tight to EagerBen…37 only needs more time…89 plays bigger&bigger more&more…jettison Omark and never have another member of your hockey club smaller than the Stanley Cup…ever

  • Lowetide

    I had to soften the overall photo feel with Sofia, because hyena’s scare the BeJesus out of me. Ever watch those nature shows? Lordy. Those hyena’s are pretty damn committed.

  • Gi JQE

    If there is ANY offer for KHABBY I would take it.

    I see him having no value on this team and if ST can dump the last year of his contract, I personally would be thrilled.

    I think JONES should be kept. The guy has been a solid charactor player who is excellent for our bottom 6, has been interesting how the fanbase has been on his bandwagon, and off even faster…

    • misfit

      Totally in agreement.

      I’d like to see Gilbert shopped as well – could get a great return right now.

      And moving Eager?? bad idea. More toughness and aggression is needed up front, not less.

        • Short answer is: I don’t think he adds much, and there are other guys that can take his minutes and be as productive. I think an offensive d-man is needed at some point, which would put Gilbert in the second pairing, and Petry, Smid, and Potter are sound there already imo.

          • Gilbert has had a great year. You don’t trade him unless you are getting something better (at the D position) back in a package. That is the only way moving him makes any sense at all. We need DEPTH just having 4 guys in the organization that can fill in those 4 spots is asking for trouble.

            BTW I believe Gilbert can contribute more to offense than he has been, if he was pushed DOWN the lineup due to someone coming in I think youd see that.

            Oh and Potter is NOT a second pairing guy.

          • Spydyr

            Watching Chicago game right now – Keith, Seabrook, and Leddy are all better than Gilbert. I don’t think he fills a role in the coming seasons and imo his value is at a peak right now.

  • Gi JQE

    Bulin for anything = great.
    Barker for anything = great
    Peckham for picks/prospect = solid

    I think Belanger is the wildcard. I see a team like Washington going for him. If we could pry Shultz from them I would be very happy.

  • Lowetide

    The Islanders continue to impress and are pushing for the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference. Would a trade with the Islanders be what the GM ordered. Eager and Jones would definitely help that team. Belanger in Florida makes sense. Or in Winnipeg. Bulin in Chicago. Chicago’s tending is sinking faster than the Titanic.

    I would do Belanger to LA for Penner. Poor Dustin can’t get a break. Perhaps a redux in Edmonton is what he needs. Without the burden of that 4 million dollar a year contract. Dustin would be in my opinion a good fit on the Oilers 3rd line with Smyth and Horcoff. He is much better suited to playing 15 minutes a night and being a background player. Its a deal that works as we move forward as I see Horcoff as our #3 center and Lander as the #4 center fulltime next year. Penner looks beaten. A 1.5 million dollar contract and less pressure sure would do Penner a world of good.

  • misfit

    I could see teams being interested in Belanger, but I wouldn’t be too quick to offload him. draft picks and prospects just don’t interest me at this stage of this rebuild, at least not for players that we can use.

    Lander may have made the team out of camp, but I don’t think he’s capable of replacing Belanger quite yet, and if the new CBA gives the team an opportunity to buyout Horcoff without any cap implications, then we go from Nuge/Gagner/Horcoff/Belanger to Nuge/Gagner/Lander/Vandevelde(?).

    Belanger is far from an untouchable or irreplaceable player, but he’s also something this team needs and has lacked for years. I wouldn’t rush out to move him just yet.

  • Lowetide

    The Oilers have a nice group now on D imo, Whitney’s health being a factor obviously. I’d like to see them add a guy who can play big minutes at evens and either PK or PP.

    Is Methot that player? I haven’t looked at that question yet, but a quick glance suggests he might be able to help 5×5 and 4×5.

    He costs some do-re-mi though.

    • (Just first off wanted to say thanks for reading my email on the air in the Terry Jones segment).

      I wanted to ask what you think is the best way to go about handling Linus Omark so that Oilers management gets the most out of the talent that they’ve got there. Now that Hemsky’s staying put it looks like there’s not enough room for Omark AND Paajarvi, especially if Omark needs top 6 minutes to get a fair shot at putting up some crooked numbers (and I think it’s safe to say that Magnus has got a heck of a leg up on #23). I feel that if they trade Omark away now or in the off season they haven’t given him enough opportunity to show how much he’s worth and aren’t likely to get equal value in return. But when you really look at how well he’s playing in the AHL, along with how *long* he’s been in the AHL, it really seems like the pressure is building and the cork is gonna pop. I think the Oilers need to be pointing the champagne bottle in the right direction or else they’re not managing this asset well.

      What do you (or anyone else) think?

      • Time Travelling Sean

        It’s a thin D, with not much depth, but out top 4 isn’t god awful in comparison to some other teams.

        Look at Calgary’s D or Florida’s, Washington’s, or Anaheim’s, Toronto’s? Boston’s? Montreal’s? They aren’t anything to brag about.

      • Lowetide

        It’s a D that features two younger guys maturing (Smid, Petry) a solid veteran who can play at evs, pp and pk (Gilbert) and a bunch of guys who can play third pairing. If Whitney were healthy that’s not a bad top group, and if they added another quality guy (I don’t know that it is Methot) to Sutton, Potter and the rest then I think we can say it’s a nice D.

        The progress of Smid and Petry has been a significant story this year, despite the won-loss record.

      • Time Travelling Sean

        I like the top 3 guys in Whitney, Smid, and Gilbert and the 5/6 roles can be filled by players like sutton and Potter.

        What the team really is missing is that “big minutes” player who plays in every situation. Nearly every Stanley Cup winner has had that player (Chara, Lidstrom, Pronger, Keith/Seabrook, etc).

        Unfortunately, that is not an easy guy to find!

        • O.C.

          Everyone says the same thing. Which of those player’s Teams (or anyone else) in their right mind would trade that player away if they had him?

          That isn’t happening.

  • misfit

    That’s the thing with Methot. Sure he can be a usefull player, but you’re definitely paying full freight. There are value contracts to be found if you’re willing to do a little searching, but the Bluejackets roster isn’t the place to look. I can’t remember the last player on that team who’s performance has matched his contract, let alone exceeded it.

  • Lowetide

    Jesse: I think Omark will be gone this summer if not at the deadline. His best chance just went away (as you noted) with the signing of 83.

    Edmonton management often talks about “3 scoring lines” but coach Renney flushed Omark really early and Paajarvi got caught in a numbers game.

    I think Omark came along at the wrong time. I don’t think they’ll get full value and Omark might have to spend another year in Europe before another team comes calling.

    Although my guess is there’s a team willing to take a chance on him. I think he’s a real talent.

    As for Paajarvi, I think he will be destined to play on a line below the scoring six. Two way guy, 15 goals a year. That’s an important item.

    • Spydyr

      I really like Omark myself.It would suck to lose him for very little.Don’t want to see another Satan error.We lost him for a bag a pucks then goes on to score 50 at least once.

      With Omark being a RFA this summer .What happens if the Oilers give him qualifying offer and he bolts to Europe or the KHL.Do the Oilers retain his NHL rights?

      If he signed overseas for a year. Lit it up. Then came back. It might not be a bad thing.The team would see how Hemsky did for the rest of this year and next.

      If Hemsky does not bounce back. You have the option of seeing if Omark wanted to give it another try over here or trade his rights at that point.

  • Gosh, that’s a shame. I’m a pretty big fan and he seems like an underdog.

    It seems to be a common theme that the Oilers need to be adding grit to their bottom six, and to me, Paajarvi doesn’t seem to be “that guy”, although Smyth is a perfect fit for that kind of a role going forward short-term. I am, however, a big Paajarvi fan, now that he’s moving away from being Magnus Perimeter-Svensson.

    The better and better that Eager plays the more he seems like less of a transition piece and more of a long term solution for the bottom 6. Seems to elevate his game come playoff time too.

  • I find Tom Gilbert to be highly under rated.Would be a big set back to trade him at this point unless it was for a better defenseman.In Linus’s case There is a history of letting smaller players go and having regrets like St. Louis and Ray Whitney.I have a feeling about Omark.

  • Spydyr

    Methots RelCorsi is supposed to be worst on the jackets. There is always the possibility that a change of scenery would turn that around but its a hell of a gamble at that ticket.

    If the plan is to draft grigorenko or galenchuk (sp) this summer and washington offered alzner or carlson for gagner, I would listen. If the oil can’t get back a player of that calibre, there is nno point in trading gagner.

    Washington could be desperate enough to take a deal like that though, especially if Green is coming back soon.

  • Gi JQE

    I think most of us oiler fans over value OMARK because he makes those plays that make your jaw drop.

    Problem is he doesn’t make enough of those plays and doesn’t put up enough offense. I also find it interesting how so many people feel we should ‘give him a real shot’ and also turn and discard GAGNER. Sam is 22, Linus is 25.

    I don’t see Linus in the NHL within 2 years. He is flashy with little finish at the end of the day. I hope we trade him in a package for something useful in actually winning games and not just getting on Youtube.

    • Just wondering… what are you basing comments like, “he doesn’t make enough of those plays and doesn’t put up enough offense” on? Are you basing that on the 5 GP in the NHL this season? Gosh, if you measured any other player by a sample size like that you could doubt anybody’s offensive production.

      In 28 GP in the AHL this season he’s got 31 pts, and keep in mind he’s also come back from an injury and bounced back quite well.

      So, in honest curiosity, what are you basing your claims on?

      • Time Travelling Sean

        I think he has 14 points in 15 AHL games this season according to the OKC and AHL websites. Still nice numbers though.

        I’m not a big Omark fan. He just turned 25…how many impact players crack an NHL lineup on a regular basis for the first time at age 25? Most of us do not like Omark point to his 5 goals in 57 NHL games…not exactly offensively staggering numbers for a guy who is suppose to be known for his offense.

        I’m much more of a Paajarvi fan. He is only 20 years old and just needs to find some consistency at the NHL level. I disagree with Lowetide about him being just a solid two-way player who plays out of the top 6. A lot of very good NHL players take a couple of seasons to develop (look no further than Claude Giroux)

        • Sorry about that, i was looking at his AHL stats for 10-11, and not for 11-12. However, as you say, 14 points in 15 games is pretty darn good.

          “how many impact players crack an NHL lineup on a regular basis for the first time at age 25?”

          I feel like this is a red-herring. If he *can* crack an NHL lineup at age 25, what does this matter? Look at Tim Thomas. His career had an unorthodox career path as well. Likewise with Martin St. Louis.

          My main point is that judging Omark on the 51 GP in his rookie year and on the 5 GP this year is not enough to write him off. The five games at the beginning of this year might as well be not considered IMO. So to judge a guy on his production in his first year playing in North America is not prudent, especially when he is obviously producing at the AHL level.

          • Romanus

            I hope you’re right and I’m wrong! To be quite honest, I haven’t seen a whole lot of Omark…I was working a lot of evenings last season when he was playing with the big club.

            St. Louis is a fair comparison, but these types of player are very rare. But again, I hope you are right…can never have enough talented forwards for either our team going forward or for good trade value.

  • Release the Hounds

    I am old enoughto remember when some guy named Ray whitney came to Oilers camp. To small. Lots of talent. Dosen’t compete defensively. What has he done since. Not much. Won a Cup. Played a 1000 games. Nah Omark can’t play/compete. Has no heart.Lots of talent. MacT told everyone dustin Penner could play and give him more. Nope. What did we do? Tossed MacT under the bus. Penner. He proved he could play. But proved it only when challenged and given the right circumstances.Omark. Oilers should look at signing him to a 2 way deal worth 750,000. Insurance against Hemsky getting injured or Hall. 2 year deal at 1.8. 2 way deal.

    It would be wise to keep Omark as insurance in the system. He also needs to sstill develop his NA game. It would be wise of him to consider a 2 way deal that sees him get paid a decent buck. There would be incentive for him and for the Oilers to see him get better. If he gets better then the Oilers have an asset that they can sell for more than the nothing they will get now.I like Omark but the difficiences in his game at this point make him more of a liability at the NHL level than an asset.

  • O.C.

    I can’t see Edm moving anyone to LA for Penner. They have almost no cap saving with him UFA at year end.

    I think the Oil fall under the category of Listeners instead of Buyers or Sellers. They aren’t trying to fill a roster spot for the playoff run. They might drop the odd player but is there a big push before off season?

  • O.C.

    Penner is a UFA. How much?1.8 maybe. He hasn’t lit the lamp often in the past year. Burke In TO might want him at that price. It will be interesting to see what happens with him tommorow. Plus if Belanger were to go to LA it would mean that he takes his curse with him. Its the old what did I do to deserve playing with him saying. I would rather Belanger take his defensive faceoff skills elsewhere. Heck even Gagner is at almost 50% now.

  • Release the Hounds

    In the games that I saw Omark play in, he could be a wizard with the puck in the O-zone. The reason the play would die with him is that he was usually held/tackled/crosschecked off the puck. If the zebras were doing their jobs, he should have drawn the opposition into taking a penalty every second shift he was on the ice. Really liked his effort . IMO, with more grooming in OKC, I think he might have a role to play on the Oilers down the road.

  • O.C.

    Regarding Penner returning I have to say that any GM who takes him on should lose his card to live on this planet.

    The Oil and the Oil fans have seen that movie and it doesn’t end well. We don’t need a flake like that on the team. He’s on the verge of ruining a perfectly good NHL career for only one reason…he is odd. Twenty-eight to 30+ goals notwithstanding. Penner is a coach killer and I wouldn’t want to be the coach who he is going to drive to distraction or the GM who wants to be a laughingstock.

    I vote no on Pens.

  • Professor Fatbot, PhD

    We have Whitney, Smid and Sutton on left side for defense, and on the right we have Petry, Gilbert and Potter. Potter can play both sides.

    I think Dennis Wideman would be a nice pick up who can play the right side, move the puck, is reasonably defensively sound and won’t cost Weber/Suter money.

    That 2LW hole is an issue that needs filled as well. I don’t know if Pajaarvi will be the answer going forward or if we have someone to fill that 2LW position. It’d be nice to get someone as a bigger power forward player type to add the mythical top six grit. Ryan Smyth is still an effective third liner and penalty killer, but I don’t know if he has what he needs to be in that top six.

    It is nice to see our depth chart filling out with something resembling real NHL players, though. I think with one more high caliber defenseman and a little bit of depth at defense from prospects and guys like Sutton or Potter we have a snowball’s chance. The other thing would be solidifying goaltending and filling that 2LW hole.

    We have five of our six top forwards and they all appear to be the real deal, the only one dangling on the edge is Gagner and this year has been his coming out party (especially when you keep in mind how close in age he is to Eberle) as far as winning draws and doing the little detail things.

    It’s not the whole roster that needs to go now, a lot of the pieces are there or they are coming as all of those high picks start to turn into something. Jeff Petry has been great this year and he is a 2006 draft pick. It doesn’t all happen instantly but now they are starting to pan out.

  • The Duke of Hafford

    Its great that we have been able to resign some of our vets so now our team next year is starting to look a lot like this years team….the 2nd worst in the NHL. Where is the change going to come from that gets us from a bottom team 3 years in a year to making the playoffs? Lets be realistic, changing 5/6 defensemen or 4th line forwards isn’t going to get us over the hump. Maybe its going to have to start with trading someone like Gilbert. We have been a 30th place team with Gilbert so we can’t get any worse by trading him.

  • Stack Pad Save

    I don’t know why anyone is high on the Oilers D. The ones who are supposed to be our best defencemen are not. Our 2 best D are Smid and Petry. I really like both of them and I think they would be an awesome second pairing. If they were both pushed down to 3 and 4 and we had a legitimate 1 and 2 (ex. Duncan and Seabrook), some kind of legitimate shutdown and legitimate puck moving defenceman, than I would be excited about the Oilers competing. Until then, I will not think the Oilers have a chance at competing for the playoffs, let alone a stanely cup anytime soon.

    • Lowetide, I just wanted to get your attention. I’d love to see an article stating that the Oilers should go ahead and trade Belanger to grab a little more cap space aka, save a million or so. I just crunched some very rough numbers and including a Gag’s resigning for about 4, Smyth 3, Petry 2.2; we have about 7 or so million to work with next year. What is your thoughts at going after a Parise in the off season for about 5-5.5? That’s a top 6 that can bang with the best of em. Try to get him and the rest of kids to hold the DET model of 5-5.5 for all the forwards and we win cups.

      • Lowetide

        I think the Oilers will spend their cap money on a defenseman if possible. If they ADD Parise to Hall, Eberle, Hemsky, Gagner and RNH?

        Wow. They’d have to employ a very inexpensive defense, though.

        Man they could do some things up front, though.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    @ lowetide/time traveler/Clarko

    The offense is average to above average, the goaltending has been average to slightly below average yet we are well positioned to draft 2nd overall.

    Something has to give here gentleman.

    • O.C.

      Our offense has not been average to above average. This team ranks 20th in goals scored (and this is despite scoring the 3rd most PP goals in the league). We rank 21st in goals against. So the offense and defense/goaltending are really both equally delinquent!

      The fact is that secondary scoring has been nearly non-existent. Smyth, Jones, and Horcoff all had good starts, but have tailed off dramatically since November. Hemsky has had an off-year, but has shown improvement over his last 20 games. Hall, Eberle, and Nuge have been great, and they are going to improve naturally and therefore improve the team over the next few seasons. Gagner may have just turned a corner and I really believe Paajarvi will be a solid NHLer.

      Like I said before, the defense is missing that one key guy. And like I said before, that player is extremely hard to get. I like the rest of the core though and think they will continue to improve as well.

      The goaltending is a mess. Khabby was good early, but has been just as inconsistent as Dubnyk lately. I’m not sure if the answer is already in our system or not, but it needs to be better.

      • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

        We are 12th in the league in scoring from forwards (With 2 games in hand on Colarado who is 11th with 2 more goals from their forwards)

        We’re 16th in goals/game

        The combined goaltending is a very respectable .911, I don’t have time to go through all the teams, but like I said… I bet that is average, or at very least slightly below average league wide.

        One thing I will say, going through the numbers I’m now under the impression that the team is 29th more by chance then by caliber of play, so that’s supringly reassuring.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Omark was producing 0.5 his rookieseason he was second in the team at draw penaltys, he was the best player the last 15 games and didnt bleeding. You cant judge him after a pretty good preseason when he played with a defensive belanger and a stone cold prv in 4 of his 5 games. He isnt evaluated yet, but i cant see any room for him and his waiver situation make it hard for the oilers, because they cant send him up and down (3-4 games more i think)