I'll start off today's post by passing on my condolances to Eklund and family for the loss of their beloved dog Burt. My name on Hockeybuzz, "Maxbone," is in honor of my dog Max who died approximately five years ago. From the time my family got him, I called him Maxbone, as he reminded me of the Wishbone dog on tv that went around telling stories and recalling world history. Max was a Welsh Corgi; an absolutely brilliant dog who, among other things, saved my mother's life once. He also would be inseparable from you if you had a bad day or needed love. Us humans could learn a thing or two about unconditional love from the Max's and Burt's of the world. Like I use to say to my parents, "Max is good people!" And so was Burt.
Okay, back to hockey...There was an article in the Edmonton Journal recently discussing the decision of Oilers management to send Dany Heatley some video of the team to influence his decision to come to Edmonton. I personally have no opinion on such a move by management - Perhaps they are showing tremendous interest by doing this, or perhaps they are showing just how desperate they are. Meh. I think the Oilers players and management could all stand on their heads while spinning plates on their toes, and Heatley would still be unimpressed. Let it go, Oilers; Heatley isn't coming to Edmonton.
The signing of Denis Grebshekov was mixed result. $3.15mil per season is fine, but the one year-ness of it kinda stinks. Grebs will be a $5mil per D-man very soon; it would have been nice to see him locked up into a deal comparable to Tom Gilbert (6 year, $4mil per). It sounds like Denis's camp is fully aware of his potential value, and want to hold out for the big bucks a year or two from now.
The Oilers salary cap situation sits at about $3mil in head and leg room, but the number is somewhat misleading. The Oil are filled with a number of borderline players that may start with the big club, or may end up in Springfield and not count against the cap. If only a few players could be moved, regardless of the return, the cap situation would be such that one or two reasonable moves could take place before the start of training camp. Since this is a hockey rumor website, let's throw a few rumors out there, just to make for interesting conversation.
The first player on the Oilers radar is Nik Zherdev from the Rangers. While Nikky would be yet another problem child, and would come in as being a decent cap hit (somewhere in the $4mil to $5mil range), he would be the most offensively skilled player on the team aside from Hemsky. Zherdev and Hemmer could find some chemistry, and put up some serious points together. Then again, do the Oilers really need another headcase? My vote is for adding him, mainly because if they stay status quo, they aren't making the playoffs. It would likely have to be a defenseman going the other way for Zherdev. Could the Oilers send Smid and a forward like Nilsson or Rob Schremp to the NYR? Or would Zherdev and a prospect come over to Edmonton for Sheldon Souray?
I suspect the Oilers are considering the addition of UFA Mike Grier. Rosey should be in the $1.5mil range, and would bring two elements the Oilers are seriously lacking: Size up front, and penalty killing skill. I saw Mike in West Edmonton Mall once, and he is a house on legs. The Oilers should definitely be targetting him.
How's this for a little rumor action: I do believe Dany Heatley will be forced to stay with the Ottawa Senators this season. If Heater is in Ottawa, and the Sens are having cap issues as it is, could Jason Spezza be headed to Edmonton instead? Everyone knows the Oilers have tried to trade for Jason for years now, and for my money, he'd be a better addition to the team than Heatley. Could it be Penner, Cogliano, and a defensive prospect like Chorney or Petry, plus a draft pick, headed to Ottawa for Jason? Spezza's price would definitely need to be higher than Heater's.
I still think there is a strong possibility that the LA Kings and Oilers will be dance partners. Rumor is the Kings are big fans of Sheldon Souray, and the Oil would like to add more muscle up front. Dustin Brown has a decent contract and a playing style that would be quite beneficial to the Oilers. Edmonton also likes the skill of Frolov from LA, and he could be included in a deal. Or here's a bit of comedy: What if Jarret Stoll was moved back to Edmonton? The Oil really suffered without Jarret's face-off taking and defensive zone abilities. Jarret brings fire and competitiveness to the game and motivation is lacking in too many Oilers players right now.
Other names to consider: Patrick Sharp from Chicago is a real possibility, with a package of prospects or picks going the other way from Edmonton. Edmonton has also always liked Vermette, who is now in Columbus, and the Blue Jackets and Oilers often will move players between them. The Oilers once tried to pry Patrick Elias from the New Jersey Devils. Could that be the makings of a blockbuster? Of course, there is still the Philly situation, whereas one of Briere or Gagne could easily be moved. Or could Edmonton be possibly getting in on the Patrick Marleau or Johnathan Cheechoo sweepstakes? The best thing about trading for Marleau would be, if he was an Oiler, he wouldn't keep scoring on them like he seems to do every time Edmonton and San Jose play.
Don't pay too much attention to me, boys and girls. I am just trying to stir up the pot and get some interesting stories out there. If you were KLowe or STambi, who would you be looking to move? What would be your targets before training camp?