Are there available players in Detroit who could help the Oilers?


One of Craig MacTavish’s more interesting lines at his end of season press conference related to the opportunities to acquire players that come along at the end of the first round of the playoffs. Could the Detroit Red Wings be a fit in that regard?

“When you finish out of the playoffs you know one thing for sure,” the Oilers general manager said at the time. “In ten days there are going to be eight more pissed off teams. That’s going to lead to opportunity; maybe we have a fit with a more experienced team to add some experience and add that piece and those are the things I’m going to be looking to do.”

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Mike Babcock

For the Red Wings, it’s clear that there’s at least some of that anger.

Mike Babcock also made it clear that there need to be changes:

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

I think the last two years we battled to get in the playoffs. To me that’s the measure of where we are. We’re a team that used to battle to win the Cup. Now, we’re battling to get in the playoffs. But what we have done if you look at our lineup, it’s a ton of kids… That’s kind of where we are. We’d like not to shut her down for 10 years and miss the playoffs for 10 years and get a whole bunch of first to fifth overall picks and do it that way. We’d like to do it on the fly.

Potential Fits

Joakim Andersson. The 25-year-old Swede is probably going to be a victim of a number of graduating Red Wings prospects who will need to clear waivers to be demoted next season. He averaged a hair under 11:00 per game at evens this year, and logged heavy minutes on the penalty kill. He also won 51.4 percent of his faceoffs and while he’s not huge (6’2”, 206 pounds) he has decent size. His underlying numbers are quite good for a fourth line forward and with 17 points in 65 games he’s clear of all of the Oilers’ current fourth-liners offensively.

Todd Bertuzzi. Just kidding.

Mitch Callahan. Callahan’s going to be in tough to crack the Red Wings, but he probably won’t clear waivers either coming off a 26-goal, 44-point season in Grand Rapids. He’s a physical, agitating right wing though he’s somewhat undersized (6’, 190 pounds) for the style that he plays. He’s likely ready to play fourth line minutes in the NHL.

Jakub Kindl. Kindl seems the logical departure from the Red Wings blue line, in that at his current age he basically is what he is: a middle of the road No. 5/6 left side defenceman.

Kyle Quincey. Quincey had a fairly decent season as the No. 4 man on the Detroit depth chart. He’s reasonably physical, brings decent size (6’2”, 207 pounds) to the mix and has some two-way ability, though he isn’t likely to match the 38 points he put up for Los Angeles five seasons ago.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Brendan Smith. Smith is less likely than Kindl to be on the trading block, but he’s a far more interesting player. The 25-year-old is a two-way defender who does everything well but (at this point at least) nothing great. He’s only 119 games into his NHL career and there very well might be something there.

Jordin Tootoo. The undersized but solidly built (5’9”, 199 pounds) sparkplug got buried by the Wings in the minors this season as a sort of Detroit equivalent of Ben Eager. He’s a probable buyout candidate and would probably come dirt cheap in free agency.

Stephen Weiss. What a gamble this would be. Weiss is signed long-term to a big-money deal, and he has all of eight points in his last two injury-plagued NHL seasons, during which time he’s played only 43 games. In the past he’s been a two-way 60-point centre with the Panthers, but he might never get back to that level.

For the Oilers

Craig MacTavish8

Weiss is a bad gamble, Tootoo’s 31 and was a fringe major league player for a long time before the Red Wings gave up on him, and Kindl brings size (6’3”, 216 pounds) but isn’t a good enough NHL player to make a big difference on the Edmonton blue line. So why are we talking about Detroit? Two reasons.

The first is the possibility of adding a defenceman. I don’t really think Smith gets moved unless Detroit can add some experience and a right-handed shot to the mix (Michigan native Jeff Petry might fit the bill, but that seems like a lateral move). Quincey’s interesting, though – MacTavish said he wasn’t going to add middle of the road defenders but Quincey would stabilize the back end, push down Klefbom for maybe half a season and give the Oilers the option to move one of their veteran left shot defenders (Andrew Ference, perhaps) at next season’s deadline.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

The other reason is because the Oilers have some decisions to make with their depth forwards. Anton Lander and Tyler Pitlick will both need to clear waivers next season, which they might not do, and so Edmonton has the choice of employing them at the NHL level or finding someone else to fill those roles.

Andersson is a little older, but he’s also bigger than Lander, he’s proven more at the NHL level, and he might be a nice fallback option if Edmonton can’t bring in a legitimate No. 3 centre to displace Boyd Gordon. Callahan, meanwhile, is a somewhat smaller, grittier version of Pitlick who doesn’t appear to have cursed legs.

In other words, if Edmonton doesn’t feel comfortable with their current bottom-six options, Detroit’s the kind of team that could help – they have plenty of forwards (and have for a while now) and the depth guys probably wouldn’t be too expensive to acquire.

In MacTavish’s shoes I’d be looking hard at Quincey. He’s the kind of guy who might be affordable and could well be overlooked in the opening days of free agency, but he’d probably be the best left-shooting defenceman in Edmonton immediately.

  • vetinari

    Babcock’s quote basically summarizes the Oilers “never-ending” rebuild model, doesn’t it? It also tells me that Detroit thinks that you can rebuild on the fly rather than torch everything and start fresh from ground zero.

    As for Detroit trade targets, while I would normally never turn down a Detroit trained blue liner, none of these guys are the “high end” help that we truly need.

    • CMG30

      I have no doubt that you can build a playoff contender on the fly but can you build a cup contender? Years ago I, (and most others) were all for the scorched earth approach so I’m not going to flip flop now. Having said that Tambi went way, way too far in torching this team.

      • acg5151

        Agreed. You can’t keep flipping NHL players for draft picks. You have to keep guys like Cogliano. Just because they suck in a top line or second line role doesn’t mean they can’t be good in a third line role or even a 4th line role. Guys like Brodziak, Cogliano, Penner, Visnovsky all would have made this team a lot better now.

        • 2004Z06

          I don’t disagree, but the bigger question is, outside of Penner and Visnovsky, Would Cogliano and Brodziak developed into the players they are today had they stayed in Edmonton’s system?

          I think a lot of players that leave teams only to go on and have success elsewhere is as much about where they go as it is who they are.

      • As an Oilers fan I’ll be WAY cool with having them be legit, regular playoff contenders. That’s all you want. Anything after that is a crap shoot for all but maybe 4 teams anyways. And let’s be honest, we can’t realistically expect to be top tier anytime soon. Besides, in 2006 we barely got in the door and that went pretty well.

      • camdog

        To be fair to Tambelinni the team was scorched before he even took over. Didn’t matter who the GM was of this organisation. The loyal veterans were over the hill, the new generation of veterans were mad at K-Lowe and didn’t want to be here and the organisations prospects all turned out to be busts.

  • vetinari

    What happens if SJ lose and Todd McLellan and becomes available to the Oiers

    What happens if STL fire Ken Hitchcock and becomes available to the Oilers

    Would you fire Eakins and take one

    • Derian Hatcher

      Many teams would, but not the Oilers. By the time Eakins gets to the level of a Hitchcock or McLellan, Hall, RNH & Ebs will be retired.

      Just sayin’

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Mike Babcock quote……That’s kind of where we are. We’d like not to shut her down for 10 years and miss the playoffs for 10 years and get a whole bunch of first to fifth overall picks and do it that way. We’d like to do it on the fly.


    This was not a shot at you Mr. Lowe, this, doing it on the fly phrase. We’d have to pull our faces from the mud, and then catapult our stupid arses up into the air first.

  • John Chambers

    I would gladly look at a Helm or Abdelkater for the bottom-6. Not sure what Detroit would be interested in from us though.

    Perhaps a bold idea would be to try and trade either Yakupov or the pick for Niklas Kronwall. Kronwall is 32, but signed to an attractive contract for several years. It would help Detroit get younger, while helping the Oilers fix their gaping wound.

    Yakupov to the Wings for Kronwall and Helm? Game-changer.

    • NJ

      Yakupov for Kronwall and Helm?

      Detroit isn’t trading both of those players for EBERLE, let alone Yakupov. You said it, Kronwall is signed to an attractive contract for 7 years. *le sigh*

      I can mention all sorts of game changers… like Gagne for Crosby. OH! How about our first rounder for MacKinnon? We can continue dreaming about our “dream team” but the facts are Yakupov has no value right now as does most on the team.

      Also, the waiver wire is not the solution to our problems as is suggested. Waiver wire pickups are simply players bound for the AHL that can’t make REAL NHL teams. Our options in free agency are also not super tempting either.

      Which leaves Offer Sheet, Draft, and Trade in no particular order. Get it done Big Mac.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    It’s gonna be a tough summer. Hopefully Mac T does not take the Tambi route and does nothing.

    I can see why he’s so trepidacious about selling one of the kids at low value. Think of how long it took the Oilers to get these top picks. Sending them away now could mean another decade ‘rebuilding’. And no one wants that.

    I have to believe though that through some combination of overpaying in free agency and trade, the Oilers can get the pieces that they need.

    Willis, do you think Brad Richards will be bought out? With all the players the Rangers are going to have to resign this year, they will either be up against it, or lose some really key guys.

  • We’d like not to shut her down for 10 years and miss the playoffs for 10 years and get a whole bunch of first to fifth overall picks and do it that way. We’d like to do it on the fly.

    Awesome Oilers bitch slap by Babcock, one of the premier minds in the modern game.

  • A-Mc

    I don’t see much in Detroit that I’d want.

    I’d be more interested in what might shake loose in STL if STL wants to make more room for signing Miller. We managed to snag Perron from them for $ reasons, i would love to snag another!

    Tampa is hurting and i could see them looking to do something for next year; Their showing was pathetic – almost Oileresque – in this years playoffs.

    I’m most excited for Philly to lose out. Their loose GM could allow us to pull the trigger on something!

    I dont see a 1st round knockout being much of a factor for the west teams; they are all very strong. If any of them were in the east, they’d do well(with the exception of maybe dallas)

  • A-Mc

    Hey JW,

    You should write up a “Are there any new GM’s who could help the Oilers?” blog.

    In light of all the new changes around the leagues I’d be curious if there are any contract players who might now appear available?

  • When you can draft Pavel and Henrik in later rounds that become core elite players you have the option to build on the fly.

    I am not giving any excuses to Oilers management of taking this long because it is pathetic. However Detroit totally lucked out with those 2.

    • Reg Dunlop

      Doesn’t that just sum it up? Add to that list Lidstrom. If Detroit was so certain of his ability they would have taken him ahead of Bob Boughner.

      The same argument applies to the Oil glory drafts 1979 and 1980. Shawn Babcock ahead of Kurri? That Barry Fraser was a wizard, no luck involved there.

    • Zarny

      People should also remember that Detroit was also able to get decent players through free agency. The Oilers can not get decent free agents right now or since 2006. Now that Detroit’s core is getting to old, and the same with the Canucks, they are no longer a legitimate threat of winning the cup. The Oilers did the right thing by doing a total rebuild and getting the high draft picks. The rebuild was supposed to take five years and we are four years into it. I wish that the Oilers were already a playoff team just as much as the next fan, but at this point we should all just continue to be patient and stay the course. We will get another great player at this years draft, but don’t expect who ever we take to be a star next year, but in a few more years when we are not just a playoff team, but a contender, then this years draft pick will be part of the reason why the team will be a contender. Everybody should know that the hardest things for good teams to get are top 6 forwards and top 2 defenceman. The Oilers are a lot closer than a lot of fans think they are.

  • CMG30

    Detroit has done a good job with player development.(Something the Oilers don’t understand) Many of the Wings players are late draft picks, that turned out well.

    I don’t see any players on this list, as a significant improvement for the Oil. No one wants Tootoo. He went unclaimed on wavers. Weiss is injury prone. He has been a bust for Detroit. Smith is an inexperienced blue liner. The Oil has those.

    In my opinion, best trade partners for the Oilers would be Boston, Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, and for some reason the Islanders.

  • acg5151

    You can solve a lot of problems using the waiver wire. Looking back through past waiver players for the last 3 years, there are a lot of bottom sixers and middle of the road NHL d-men that went through waivers that the Oilers could have used. Guys like Adam Hall, a valuable 4th liner in Philly and Tampa, Mike Santorelli, a decent third line option, Thomas Hickey, who has been a good second pairing d-man in New York, Dale Weise, Nik Hagman, Grant Clitsome.

    All those guys could have gone a long way towards making the Oilers forward depth a lot more solid. A good fourth line would allow the Oilers to focus on fixing their defense. Instead, the Oilers are going to have to overpay a lot of guys in free agency to fix their bottom six and it’s going to hamstring their cap situation.

    You can also solve a lot of problems with late round draft picks. Trade those fifth, sixth round draft picks for fourth line guys who are good on the PK. Believe it or not, looking back through the past 2-3 seasons, a lot of good depth players have gone for 6th or even 7th round draft picks. David Steckel would have been a good 4th liner for the Oilers and he went for next to nothing. Benoit Pouliot was worth a mediocre prospect and a 5th rounder, and he’s been great in New York. These guys can be had.

  • Lofty

    Anyone have any thoughts on what Abdelkader would cost?

    He played with outstanding players and didn’t produce. I think he’s falling out of favor in DET although he seems like what Babcock wants more of.

    If the purpose of pro scouting is to buy low and sell high (or get high production,) is he not of the size, age and salary the Oil are looking for?

    In no way should Perron be moved, but Detroit needs a 4th line center and we have an expensive one by the name of Gagner

  • paul wodehouse

    …The Detroit Model is something I’ve heard people speak about here…I like their idea…get your draft pick outside the top ten and in the process actually develop the assets with good coaching in the minor leagues then little by little let them loose on the big league…like where did these guys like Helm 140ish overall and Abdelkater 42nd overall come from? Both drafted in TWO THOUSAND AND FIVE…The Detroit Model has them play in excess of 100 hundred games in minors and in Abdelkaters’s case, college. These guys are now 27 years old and are at the peak of their games playing large minutes and Babcock says ” We weren’t a tough out at all”….wow ..if only there was EVER going to be an Edmonton model…it’s not the way it’s getting done now!

  • Wax Man Riley

    ok, I have tuned out a bit (read: totally) from hockey and just stop by Oilersnation for fun. So if it has been said in a previous post:


  • Spoils

    Interesting article – love working the first round exits. It reminded me of the Oilers nation post that exposed that all our GM moves have been bottom 6 player shuffles.

    contrary to Babcock’s view we are shutting down and getting big picks. but when you pick the consensus #1 you don’t pick the best fit.

    The avs traded each of their 3 consecutive #1s prior to winning the cup.

    So how about next article we start talking about who we should/could trade from our top 6…

    Gags + XXX + XXX for a #2C?

    How do we get the soon to exit Sharks player (fingers crossed) Ryan Johansen? a 225lb 21 year old Center that would age well with the team.

    we need BOLD MOVES

  • Spoils

    I’m going to rant a bit here. We all talk about aquiring UFA and RFA. I find it disgusting how many players do not have edmonton or many other canadian teams on there lists of desirable destinations.

    I get edmonton isn’t Miami or LA but where has the respect and loyalty gone? Edmonton is a hot bed for training and raising NHL players. Why the lack of reps ect for their own hometown? Their own home province? It makes me angry that this takes place. I consider it a waste of talent having good players play I’m useless markets (I.e. Stamkos in Tampa bay).

    It’s sad that Canada struggles to attract their own players. There is no loyalty to the coaches, family or the community that raised these plYers and trained them. Without the support of these people the players would not be where they are today. How about sown real pride in playing in Canada. It’s sad and I hope this trend ends.

    • Sorensenator

      Is this serious or satire? When you’re the best in the world at what you do, you go where you make cake and enjoy yourself. Who would be crazy enough to choose Edmonton when there are a couple dozen better NHL cities to choose from?

    • I agree with you partly, however when you are at the point of having made the NHL, and you have given up your entire life (albeit in exchange for a handsome paycheque) to chase the dream of Stanley Cup, can you blame anyone for wanting to play for a team that has a legit shot at achieving this dream? Not like either AB team has had even a sniff in the 5-7 years…..

  • NJ

    #3. > “In MacTavish’s shoes I’d be looking hard at Quincey. He’s the kind of guy who might be affordable and could well be overlooked in the opening days of free agency, but he’d probably be the best left-shooting defenceman in Edmonton immediately”.

    I MUST ask J.W. ~ How many times have you seen Quincey play live..?

    Quincey better than Marincin & Klefbom (even at 27yrs old & after 375 GP ???) LOL..! 😉

    At least I’ll give you this…

    You’ve only finished IN 3rd place of ALL the opinions here so far in your blog…

    #1. > Yakupov to the Wings for Kronwall and Helm? Game-changer.

    #2. > How about the following? Offer sheets for PK Subban or Vanek (again?) Heatley, Markov, Boyle or hainsey?

    (Nothing better, more savvy, or impossible, than giving “Offer Sheets” to 5 UFA’s)

    You should be quite thankful for the Win & the Place posters, because they simply gifted you with the Show…


  • Quicksilver ballet

    Some interesting names for sure, but I would be uneasy taking a detroit castoff. If a Detroit can’t make a player fit, I don’t know who could.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Quincey had a fairly decent season as the No. 4 man on the Detroit depth chart.

    Babcock actually relied on Quincey more than anyone else (Kronwall, Ericsson, DeKeyser, Smith) at TOI/60 5×5

    Quincey’s interesting, though – MacTavish said he wasn’t going to add middle of the road defenders but Quincey would stabilize the back end

    Agreed. If MacT is going to ignore the “middle of the road” D available this free agency (Quincey, Fayne, Niskanen, Gilbert, Hainsey) and go looking for white whales, we’re going to be in for a very long summer.

    I wrote about this and Quincey here:

  • 15w40

    Unfortunately any higher rated players with NMC or NTC and UFA’s are not picking to come to Edmonton.

    This is in part why this rebuild is stretching out. The Oilers are forced to draft & build from within. (I say in part because there is also some management mis-steps that have also aided in stretching this thing out).

    Now they are praying that the cornerstone peices will stick it out for long enough for the rest of the pack to catch up and make a team.

    The UFA types won’t start looking north until the team has shown that they are immediate threats to contend

  • Setting sights a little Lowe, aren’t we? MacT is probably not going to hit a homerun this offseason, but let’s lie to ourselves at least until the draft, ok? It is time. This offseason is the one where the big trade of either Eberle or one of the 1st overall picks gets done and we bring in a defenceman that would be a top 2 on any team in the league. Remember that big Philly/LA trade a few years ago where both teams remade themselves? That’s what MacTavish needs to set his sights on this year. The Lowe cabal cannot (even with whatever dirty pictures he’s got of Katz)survive another failed season. They have to go for broke this year or they have to be gone the following year.

  • Zarny

    Now we’re cooking with gas. MacT’s comments are bang on; 29 teams fail every year and right now Det, Phi, StL, Col, TB, CBJ and Dal are crying in their Wheaties.

    It will be interesting to see what Det does to re-tool. Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Kronwall and Franzen are all 33+ in a young man’s game. Superstars in their 30’s can certainly be significant contributors but they won’t stir the drink anymore and Nyquist is the only F who may be able to take the torch. I suspect a “bold move” would be difficult but the Oilers could certainly use Helm, Abdelkader and some of the names already mentioned. Doubt Kronwall goes anywhere but Jonathan Ericsson might be available.

    Phi is the team I think MacT should target. Out in the 1st round with a variety of players the Oilers could use.