According to the guy who is arguably the most plugged-in member of the Edmonton media, the Edmonton Oilers very well might do nothing on the trade front tomorrow.
630 CHED’s Bob Stauffer made the comments on Twitter this morning.
What it means
The Oilers are in a difficult position: in the playoff hunt, but on the outside looking in right now. Not long ago, the speculation was that the team would be wise to move its pending unrestricted free agents; Stauffer’s comments suggest that the only players likely to be moved are ones the Oilers have decided they can replace internally.
Ryan Jones fits the bill because the Oilers have Teemu Hartikainen waiting in the minors. With a logjam on the wings, the only forwards the Oilers could demote without risking waivers were Hartikainen or Magnus Paajarvi, and Paajarvi’s strong play eliminated him from consideration. Hartikainen and Jones fill similar niches, and it’s probably fair to wonder whether the Oilers plans for next season include Jones.
Theo Peckham fits the bill because he hasn’t played much at all. With Mark Fistric on the roster, and Peckham’s difficulties out of training camp getting ice-time has been a real challenge – when Peckham’s played he has actually been pretty good, but there’s little reason to believe he’s a superior player to Fistric (who also hasn’t played all that much lately, thanks to Ryan Whitney). Peckham’s the team’s fifth-best left-side defenceman, so the question is less whether the Oilers are interested in moving him and more whether there’s another team out there interested in acquiring him.
It’s a cautious approach for the team, one that avoids sacrificing long-term assets for the sake of a playoff push that still has less than a 50% chance of working out. It also avoids gaining long-term assets at the price of pending free agents – like Whitney and goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin – who are seen as useful in the here-and-now.
Update: A minor trade
The Oilers have made a small deal, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.
Dane Byers was originally signed in the summer to a two-way deal, but has been disappointing in Oklahoma – he plays physical hockey but his scoring touch has completely evaporated. Stafford is also on a two-way deal that expires this year, but adds a competent right-side defenceman with some offence to the system (something the Barons have missed since the loss of Brett Clark).
The NHL ramifications of the deal are pretty much non-existent, but this should make the Barons a better team.
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