NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 02:  Lubomir Visnovsky #71 of the Edmonton Oilers skates against the Nashville Predators on March 2, 2010 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

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.

Comments (6)

  1. Umm…the last few years the Oilers have drafted quite well. Being a few rankings down in the NHL wouldn’t have secured them that much better of draft picks. Guys like Eberle, Svensson, Gagner in the last three years have been pretty damn good picks. Do you really think if they would have iced a crappier team they would have had WAY better draft picks?

  2. The Trade deadline was just the beginning for the Oilers obviously more moves are to come in the off season. Wheter it’s by trade of buy out and by the looks of things their could be a lot of buy outs. There’s decisions to make with the goaltending. Decision to make with guys like Brule, Pouliot, and Cogliano. And what to do with Souray. It was a good start and while not nearly the cleaning house fans wanted it is a step in the right direction.

  3. Devon – its a start. I think he might have done a better job but Ty Dellow made the point that not knowing what’s out there what are we to say and of course he’s right. My beef isn’t with the rebuild so much as that we could be years into it already if they played their cards right.

    Ryan – well Gagner was the year they traded Smyth so I agree with that point. That summer though they signed Penner and Souray. With those guys Anaheim ended up with the twelfth pick overall. Without them first of all the Oilers would have had the pick and it would have been top ten. They already had the Eberle pick from Anaheim. Plus they would have had the second and third the Ducks got. And without Cole and Lubo and Penner and Souray last year they probably would have been lottery bound again. I like MPS but how about a top three pick instead like Duchesne?

    Its all guesswork but even if they did not move Horcoff and Roloson and I think they could have gotten at least a second for each, maybe more, here is what they have gathered up: Gagner, Plante, Nash, Eberle, MPS

    I don’t think its a reach to say they could have had the same guys except for MPS plus the 2nd and 3rd for Penner plus the first for Penner which would have been top ten plus a probable lottery pick last year plus three younger guys in Pitkanen, Greene and Stoll.

    Better, don’t you think?

  4. hindsight is 20/20. Being an Oilers fan I saw Stoll perform during the 06/07 season and he was looking like a player that was irrevocably changed by two concussions. He just seemed to meander around the ice, he didn’t fore-check like he used to and was making a lot of bad choices with the puck defensively, and his defensive play in Edmonton was always better than his offense. Both he and Raffi were regular scratches during that season. Pitkanen’s play was about as irregular as Torres and Stoll. Dealing Greene was also a bad choice as he has all the assets as a player that the Oilers defense is missing.

    I do agree that the Penner signing was a bad choice. When they couldn’t get Vanek they should have let it be because at that point they weren’t going to get value for trying to sign another RFA because there were no other guys who had 40 goal/season potential. They could have definitely used those picks to select very good players. Their 2008 1st rounder was the 12th overall pick and Tyler Myers would be the answer for their blue line. However the 2nd and 3rd round picks probably would have been more long term investments as there weren’t any early round gems.

    I’m not totally defending their choices as I believe the Oilers should overhaul their Management staff as they did do an admirable job when they were a small market club that were forced to really watch their budget, but as a club that has maximum cap space they can’t seem to allocate players cap value/worth on their own. The fact is Kevin Lowe, like Glen Sather, just can’t seem to adapt to the new NHL structure. I wonder if the Oilers could have brought in Pat Quinn and Tom Renney as GM and coach respectively and then tried to hire on a new scouting staff and Pres. of Operations, or even promoted Tambellini as he has had a long relationship with both Quinn and Renney. Pat has been in the NHL a long time and developed relationships with a lot of other guys in NHL management positions and the relationships could have been useful in terms of dealing with other teams.

  5. Andrew – totally agree with the thought that Lowe, like Sather, was a better manager when he had a lot less to work with.

    I’m aware of Pitkanen and Stoll’s flaws. My point is that if the club had decided to rebuild after they dealt Smyth then they would have had more patience with these players. They were both young and as you said Stoll was coming off of a serious concussion. Trading them for older players just didn’t make sense when the team had so many other holes which management did not fill.

    And yes the second and third round picks would be investments in the future just as the ones they picked up just now are. Still, you need those picks. Those players would be twenty now if my math is right. And the first for Penner would be too. Like I said I think that pick probably would have been top ten. Take Penner/Souray off that club and they would have dropped a couple of spots at least I think.

    jmo though

  6. Being a resident here though I see first hand the pressure and the unreasonable nature of the fans. But I agree the management and the organization has to realize that yes the fans do call the shots to a point because they buy the tickets but ultimately trying to force a winning team on the ice every season is an unreasonable expectation.
    I also agree with the dealing of Ryan Smyth as a signal for a rebuild. They probably should have tried to move Horcoff as well as he had much better value back then as an impending FA who made about 3.1M a year and he was only 29. Penner was a bad sigining, I don’t think anyone can argue with that, even with the year he’s having this season. Souray wasn’t a horrible signing but I was surprised as he was in his early thirties and I thought that move seemed in stark contrast to some of the Oilers other moves of trading cornerstone players away that signalled that aforementioned rebuild.

    I didn’t want them to move Stoll and was dissapointed when they did as he was hailed as a future captain and second line center for the club and was hands down their best face off man, very good two way center, and a right handed shot from the point.

    I was especially surprised when they moved him and Greene for Visnovsky. That deal puzzled me as they had tried to acquire Visnovsky the previous off season and then settled for Pitkanen when they couldn’t get Lombardi to budge on Visnovsky. Edmonton should have stood by their decision as Pitkanen was also a cheaper option as I believe his salary ranged in the 3.5M/season. Edmonton’s three puck movers Grebeshkov, Gilbert, and Pitkanen did a serviceable job and all were in their early-mid twenties which fit in for a rebuilding team.

    The pick dropping a few spots is interesting. If the Oilers had gotten Cody Hodgson that would be unbelievable as it would reunite team canada linemates in Eberle and Hodgson. Then if the Oilers do win the lottery this season then that brings in Taylor Hall as well. A first line of Hall-Hodgson-Eberle would be fantastic as they’ve all played together before and shown good chemistry, and all show signs of being elite offensive players. Then MPS on the second line with the likes of Gagner and Hemsky would be great as MPS possesses the qualities to balance out finesse players, with his puck possession control along the boards, underrated passing ability, and how he likes to use his speed to drive the net. During the WJC he looked a lot like a hybrid of Forsberg/Alfredsson (not at their calibre but possessing skills and qualities of both).

    Come to think of it in complete agreeement with Pat Mc. The Oilers need to fire everybody accountable for these bad personnel decisions (KEVIN LOWE) and bring back Scott Howson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *