Trade Deadline: Bold Will Wait

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Even
with today’s signing of Ben Scrivens to a two-year contract, it’s understandable fans
of the Edmonton Oilers want to see GM Craig MacTavish make a big bang – a
“bold move,” to borrow from MacT — between now and the NHL trade
deadline. I don’t see it happening.

Given
what I know, what I’ve heard and what common sense suggests, it’s far more
likely MacTavish’s strategy going into the deadline will be to free up roster spots
and set the table for more substantial moves during the off-season by moving
pending unrestricted free agents and spare parts.

That
means moving Ales Hemsky, Nick Schultz and Ryan Smyth, to name three, for picks
and prospects. Not stop-the-presses stuff, but moves that make sense – like getting
ink on Scrivens done — and clear clutter before summer, when there’s more time
to work the phones without jumping the gun going into the stretch, when GMs are
looking for fast answers.

MacTavish
told us as much – at least as much as he wanted us to know – at an availability
back on Feb. 25. We haven’t heard from him since, but unless he’s received a
phone call that’s prompted him to think bold, there’s nothing to indicate fans
should expect more than housekeeping moves.

What He said…

not_rocket_science_by_bj_o23-d5ddhgv

“It’s
not rocket science where we are right now and what our strategy is moving
forward. We’ve got a number of guys that are UFAs that are veteran players that
are going to elicit some attention around the league for teams that are
preparing for a playoff run. It’s a tough market to predict, but we’ll be
having those discussions. We’re going to be aggressively making those calls to
let people know what our intentions are.”

MacTavish
expects calls about some of his core players – the names we know – but he won’t
go there. Hemsky? Absolutely. Sam Gagner? Sure, if it makes sense now, although
he’ll most likely wait. MacT expects the Oilers to be a “secondary
market” for teams loading up for the stretch.


. . . I think a lot of our guys are going to be secondary market players.
Everybody’s going to be looking for high-profile guys, the real high-end guys.
We maybe have one or two of those guys. Outside of that, I think we’re a
secondary market and we’ll try to get some interest and activity in that
market.”

As
for clearing up roster space for the stretch, MacTavish said: “We want to
free up some roster spots to give some of our young players that are playing
well down in the AHL an opportunity. This is an unfortunate circumstance, but
we have to take advantage of the position that we’re in right now and try to
accumulate as many assets as we can going into this deadline and open up spots
so our prospects down in the AHL can get a look.”


Again,
this was MacTavish’s take from seven days ago, so I’m not presenting what he
said as new, but with the trade deadline now right in front of us, I haven’t
heard one thing that leads me to believe anything has changed even though the
desire for a big move remains.

MY
TAKE . . .


Ales Hemsky

. . .
The way I see it, getting Scrivens wrapped up for two years with a $4.6-million
pact before he hits unrestricted free agency makes all kinds of sense for the
Oilers. Nice raise for Scrivens, a reasonable number for the Oilers.

We
got an indication something might be up a few days ago when connected Minnesota
beat writer Mike Russo reported Edmonton had offered the Wild Ilya Bryzgalov.
Unlikely the Oilers would make that offer unless a deal with Scrivens was
looming. Obviously, it was.

If
MacT can find a team that wants Bryzgalov as insurance by the deadline, he’ll
pull the trigger.

. . .
Hemsky remains the likeliest to move. Nothing has changed regarding my take on
No. 83. We’re hearing talk the New York Rangers have joined a list of
interested teams that includes Los Angeles, Detroit and Pittsburgh. Ray
Ferraro of TSN told Jason Gregor he sees Ottawa as a fit. That makes sense,
too. A second-rounder gets it done.

. . .
While MacTavish declined comment on whether he’s spoken to Smyth about being
moved as a rental player, I’m led to believe that conversation has been had and
that Smyth is open to the idea. Why not take a shot with a Cup contending team
and then sign on for one more season here?

Simply
put, I won’t be surprised if MacTavish is very busy at the deadline clearing
roster space, but I foresee a handful of smaller moves rather than anything in
the big bang category because that, barring a massive overpay by another team
desperate to get something done, is best left for the off-season.

Listen
to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason
Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • nuge2drai

    Oiler Domination To Follow

    I predicted the Fasth trade in comment #61 in Gregor’s article yesterday.

    It was unpopular.

    He’s worth a shot, he did have an amazing rookie season last year.

    • pkam

      Fasth’s cap hit is 2.9M this year and next. His actual salary is 2.4M this year and 3.4M next year.

      Scrivens is 550K this year and 2.3M next year.

      So salary this year will be 2.95M and 5.7M next year. Cap hit this year will be 3.45M and 5.2M next year. How do you come up with 4.7M?

  • Johnnydapunk

    I’m not a huge Fasth fan, but he is decent enough and a 2 year deal worth just under 6 is reasonable money as well. Apparently there is some debate about cap space and what it will be so putting 5mil in 2 goalies is more than fair. It’s a preemptive move as the silly season on free agency means players get over paid so I’m alright about the move.

    As for Bryz to Minnesota, yeah that seems reasonable, though 4 NHL goalies might be a bit excessive. But that’s their problem I guess. The Minnesota goalie circus might be fun to watch in the summer 🙂

    Looks like the Oil only gave up a 5th round pick in 14 and a 3rd in 15 so no big price to pay.

    Btw will Fasth be the 6th goalie the Oil use this year? Surely we must be close to an NHL or at least franchise record by now?