With the trade deadline now in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to check in with some of The Score’s other hockey writers to get their thoughts on what the Canadian teams did. Our first interview is with Pat McLean, the inimitable and delightfully off-colour writer behind Black Dog Hates Skunks. He already has a bunch of deadline stuff up at his site but was gracious enough to answer a few of my questions.
Overall impression of the day?
Surprise that Tambellini actually did anything, after all of that inertia he moved half of the Oilers’ blue line in less than 24 hours
One of the big issues the Oilers had resolved to deal with was their cap situation. How did they do in that regard?
OK. Moving Staios was a coup and Visnovsky was the biggest contract on the team, but they are still tight for next year which shows how badly management has managed the cap. If they can move Souray, Moreau, Nilsson, or O’Sullivan in any manner over the summer that would help, but at this point its scorched earth so it doesn’t really matter. They have the room to sign their kids like Gagner and that’s all they need right now.
Was the return of a second round pick enough for Denis Grebeshkov?
Based on the fact that pending UFAs got the same return, I would say no. Grebs is having a bad year but he’s had two good years and he’s playing on a terrible team with terrible goaltending. Considering he is still relatively young I would have preferred they keep him if that was the best that they could do. I expect that he will flourish in Nashville.
How will Ryan Whitney help the team and what changes with him on the blue line rather than Lubomir Visnovsky?
Well, Visnovsky was the Oilers’ best player. He drove results, when he was on the ice the puck moved the right way and the Oilers out-chanced the opposition. Whitney won’t have that impact. He’s bigger and younger and slightly cheaper but unless he realizes his potential he’s just filler for now as far as I am concerned. He doesn’t play big. He puts up points at about the same rate as Grebeshkov. He can eat minutes so I guess that’s a positive. He will be on the top pair for now, I guess.
What does Aaron Johnson bring to the team, and what do the Oilers lose with Steve Staios going to Calgary?
Steve Staios was a guy who always gave it his best effort. He was tough as nails and the Oilers are terribly soft so that will hurt. Having said that I remember Johnson injuring his finger badly last spring and barely missing a shift so I think he will bring it too. He’s a UFA so essentially I think he’s cap relief unless they sign him. Wouldn’t hurt to do so as he is a solid 6/7.
Overall, what effect will these trades have on the Oilers?
It ensures that they will have a top two pick this year and after they clear out more vets this summer, they will probably be in the running for next year as well. Their perceived strength going into this season was their D. Obviously changes had to be made, they are a last place club, but they are going to be younger on the back end, probably starting with auditions for Chorney and Peckham. Not a recipe for success. I think the end result is that they will be awful for the next few years. Considering that they have had no plan since 2006 and have lurched all over the place, it’s frustrating as a fan. They could have had the Penner picks, Stoll, Greene, Pitkanen and probably higher draft picks if they had not signed Souray and Penner and traded for Lubo and Cole. Plus they might have gotten value for guys like Roloson and Horcoff. Instead we have had four years of poor to mediocre teams spending to the cap and now we are starting a scorched earth rebuild. Very, very poor management.