Oilers GM Craig MacTavish held a media availability on Tuesday, fielding questions about the trade deadline, the team’s goaltending and its coaches. The whole thing is well worth watching, but particularly telling was MacTavish’s comments on where he saw the team’s rental players: as fallback options for other NHL teams.
The Full Availability
MacTavish made it clear during the press conference that a lot of the guys the Oilers are looking to move aren’t going to be at the top of the list for teams looking to add help:
I think a lot of our guys are going to be secondary market players. Everybody’s going to be looking for the high profile guys, the real high-end guys. We maybe have one or two of those guys but outside of that I think we’re a secondary market and that’s when we’ll try and get some interest and try and get some activity in the market.
In a follow-up appearance on Oilers Now, MacTavish was asked by host Bob Stauffer whether he expected to see people like Thomas Vanek or Matt Moulson dealt, and that question allowed MacTavish to expand on the reasons why Edmonton players might not be at the top of other teams’ lists:
I think so because there are a number of teams that when you’re looking to add players are looking to add the player that can help you the most. Clearly the higher level guys are the guys garnering the most attention.
Hemsky et al.
It’s a sensible take. Given the choice between Thomas Vanek and Ales Hemsky, every team in the league is going to prefer Vanek. Vanek will cost more, but for teams with a legitimate shot at the Stanley Cup that’s not going to be a serious stumbling block. Moulson isn’t head and shoulders above Hemsky; he’s a little bigger and has scored a little more this year but Hemsky has more history in critical situations and has played tougher minutes this year.
Somebody’s going to get Vanek. Moulson’s likely on the block, but not necessarily going to be dealt, given that he’s made it clear he’d be open to staying in Buffalo. But if both are available, it wouldn’t be crazy to think that Hemsky won’t be moved until teams know they’re out of the running for both Vanek and Moulson.
As for the other guys the Oilers are doubtless looking to trade – people like Nick Schultz and perhaps Ryan Jones – the situation is the same, except more so.