The Oilers haven't had an Ales not named "Hemsky" since the days of Ales Pisa, who departed to New York and subsequently Europe. Steve Tambellini has finally made his mark as a GM by making two seperate big deals on his first trade deadline. Seen above is Ales Kotalik, one of the new additions to the Edmonton Oilers team.
In comparison to today's deals, his acquisition of Dany Sabourin, Ryan Stone, and Steve MacIntyre were minuscule in influence. I was at first impressed that he could pawn off Mathieu Garon for more than the (at the time) market price of a 7th round pick established by Vancouver's acquisition of Jason LaBarbera. Heck, I didn't think Tambellini had the tenacity in him required to pull off some ballsy trades.
Boy was I wrong.
Sure, he didn't go the the extent of the New York Rangers and Calgary Flames, but boy, did Tambellini ever rip off the Los Angeles Kings in his trade deadline "coming out party." Maybe O'Sullivan is of little value to a team stocked full of young talent - maybe. But Justin Williams is a poor replacement for one of the leading shooters on the Los Angeles team. At age 24, he can still get much, much better. The best part is he plays both C and LW. I expect MacTavish to slot him alongside Horcoff and Hemsky. Further yet, the Oilers gave up pending UFA Erik Cole to get O'Sullivan who is signed for two more years at a contract similar to Robert Nilsson's.
It is now also clear why the Oilers didn't bite on Tuomo Ruutu, Vladimir Sobotka, and Miroslav Satan: with Patrick O'Sullivan in play, the others become secondary concerns. It could be possible that Carolina didn't want to give up on Ruutu (I know the Oilers love him) and it's also possible the Bruins didn't want to give up on Sobotka (who was not involved in deadline trade involving Matt Lashoff for Mark Recchi). With all things considered, the Oilers got the best man available from those four choices.
As for Kotalik, we got fair price for him. Early indications are that Kotalik is nothing like the European stereotype of a winger. In fact, he is often seen driving the net. We have to take it with a grain of salt, of course. He probably is a poor comparable for Erik Cole, I don't imagine he throws hits with the same regularity as the departed American winger. But can he create chances on the revamped 2nd line?
It will be interesting to see whether MacTavish keeps Penner on the Cogliano/Pisani line or whether or not he moves Penner up to 2nd line to play with the newly acquired Kotalik. I don't imagine Nilsson in a checking role, but stranger things have happened (see Liam Reddox).
I will be glad if Kotalik can keep playing his net-crashing style in Edmonton and hopefully it translates well from the Eastern Conference to the Western Conference. The last experiment (Cole) ended with limited success and hopefully Kotalik will find himself reborn in the Edmonton lineup. He is a rental player as of right now, but if things go right maybe he'll stick around.
One thing I felt that needed to be addressed at the deadline was goaltending and it didn't happen. Maybe the Oilers feel that DesLauriers, Sabourin, or Dubnyk are ready to take over should an injury occur to Dwayne Roloson.
I think this is ill-advised.
In 2005-06 we had Jussi Markkanen bringing in the rear, and he did an amiable job against the Carolina Hurricanes. We can only pray that one of the above have it in them to do the same.
With the quick recovery of Denis Grebeshkov the Oilers aren't in as dire a situation as would have originally been the case if he hadn't done so. Some may argue the Oilers D-core is too soft and I somewhat agree. But, we do have a couple sandpaper guys waiting in the wings in the form of AHL veteran Bryan Young, top-prospect Theo Peckham, and "give-me-one-more-chance" Mathieu Roy. My hope is that Steve Staios regains his former playoff form.