So I'm gonna throw away what I think "Tambellini would do" and instead here's what I would do at the trade deadline.
Oilers Lineup Now
- Reddox/Penner Horcoff Hemsky
- Nilsson Gagner Cole
- Jacques Cogliano Pisani
- Reddox/Penner Brodziak Stortini
- Souray Staios
- Grebeshkov Gilbert
- Smid Strudwick
Oilers Potential Moves
- Trading Cole
- Trading Nilsson
- Trading Penner (Dustin deserves better, but the truth is he's only a 2nd line player)
Though I like Mike Knuble, it would be problematic to replace a pending UFA with another pending UFA unless you were convinced that what you gave up would be less valuable than what you got back. If Knuble could be landed for a low draft pick (3rd - 7th), I'd say git er done.
I would also trade for Marty Reasoner and Derek Morris in some capacity. I assume the Oilers have tried to acquire Guerin for a playoff run but going through with that would be akin to trying to cash in Nedved a second time: he's too old - it aint gonna work. Reasoner is worth a low draft pick, I'd say below 4th rounder. Morris would be worth considerably more. Another possibility is Brendan Witt, a veteran D-man.
We'd also have to land a 1st line LW to replace Penner after he is demoted to the 2nd line. Alexander Frolov has been tossed around as a possibility but what possible weakness on the LA Kings team could we actually fill through trade (assuming they would be willing to part with Frolov?). The LA Kings have two main weaknesses: goaltending and defensive forwards. Jarret Stoll is the only guy who truly fills that role on LA and we don't have anyone to offer except Kyle Brodziak, who would do benefit the Oilers more than the Kings. Also, we don't have any goalies to offer besides more rookies and they don't need any of those. The Kings have enough young talent to assume they would take a flyer on Nilsson and Schremp, the common names tossed around in potential trades. What I'm really trying to say is a Frolov trade is probably unlikely, unless LA is going to stock up on more young talent.
Keith Tkachuk is available but you can forget about him - past trade deadlines have already indicated what the Blues think he is worth.
Unfortunately, Ryan Smyth has a NTC or else I'd be on the phone trading him for Penner.
Some rental players out there are Ruslan Fedotenko and Miroslav Satan. Assuming the Penguins are serious about trying to make the playoffs, these characters are not available. Jordan Staal, if available, would be an interesting pick up but he would not be for the present - he would be for the future. In terms of guys who are going to help us excel in a potential playoff run, picking up Staal would make picking up a guy like Reasoner unnecessary. Unfortunately, the Oilers are not willing to part with certain prospects and a Staal trade is unlikely. Schremp played large parts of his AHL career in Wilkes-Barre and a trade to Pittsburgh in any Staal deal would likely see him involved.
The most likely scenario is that the Oilers acquire a top line player for Hemsky and Horcoff who is a familiar suspect. This narrows the list down to:
- Ray Whitney
I would also pick up some goaltending depth. Ottawa would be glad if we took Gerber off their hands. Being an unwanted player in Ottawa he probably wouldn't cost more than a low draft pick. Plus, he's a pending UFA so he won't be a problem next year.
Here's a recap of what the trade deadline would look like if I were Oilers' GM, with the assumption that the Morris trade would be too pricey.
To EDM: Mike Knuble (rental) for
To PHI: low draft pick and filler
To EDM: Brendan Witt (rental) for
To NYI: low draft pick and filler
To EDM: Jordan Staal for
To PIT: 2nd round pick, Rob Schremp, Taylor Chorney, Steve Staios (if this trade is not available, get Reasoner)
To EDM: Ray Whitney (worth re-signing) for
To CAR: Robert Nilsson and filler
To EDM: Martin Gerber (rental) and a low draft pick for
To OTT: Marc Antoine Pouliot
Oilers Lineup After Trades
- Whitney Horcoff Hemsky
- Penner Cogliano Cole
- Jacques Staal/Reasoner Pisani
- Reddox Brodziak Knuble
- Stortini (he's ahead of Big Mac considering he brings more than fighting)
- Gagner (Gagner would get chewed up and spit out in the playoffs)
- Gerber (emergency callup)
- Souray Gilbert
- Grebeshkov Smid
- Strudwick Witt
Bonuses to this new lineup
- Increased speed on the 1st line
- Increased size on the 2nd line
- Two effective checking lines (with or without Knuble, since we still have Big Mac and Stortini)
- Goaltending depth in case of injury to Roloson or DesLauriers
- Veteran presence in the absence of Moreau and Visnovsky (Whitney, Knuble, Witt)
Why Witt and not Staios?
Answer: I think Smid is already better than "Steady Steve," and he's ready to take the next step. Trading for Witt is not to replace Staios, it's to promote Smid.
Why Knuble and not Stortini or MacIntyre?
Answer: Knuble may be a rental but he's got that veteran leadership that the other two don't bring to the table.
Whitney is not exactly an elite LW player. Why him?
Answer: I agree with you. It's just that nobody else available is worth the price. If Smyth, Kovalchuk, or Frolov were as available as every wanted them to be, we wouldn't be having this dicussion.
Giving up Pouliot for Gerber - are you crazy?
Answer: No. Poo is useless. At least with Gerber, we have insurance for injury. If you recall in 2006, we were lucky to have Markkanen to take over for Roloson when he got injured. If Roloson ever got injured in the playoffs this year, our goaltending tandem would be DesLauriers and Dubnyk. This is not the AHL playoffs, and last time I checked, the Springfield Falcons are not in the running.
Whitney is 37. What makes him better than Guerin?
Answer: Whitney is a fast skater and a LW. Guerin is slow and he's a RW. This is a situation where what you give up is not worth what you get back - as in, what would we be giving up for Guerin? He's the only guy NYI has to offer so you'd expect them to want a lot in return to save their shinking ship of a franchise. GM Rutherford is probably going to keep stocking up on young talented players and start shipping off guys like Whitney, who can still play. Whitney is old but he's still got pluck (like Roberts) and brings the "desire" element missing in Penner.