I feel like borrowing the "Blues Clues" title from Andy Strickland today. Because seriously, I'd like to have more of a clue of what the Oilers are up to right now. Things have went from strange to downright confusing in the last 24 hours.
Was I the only one who found it really strange that the Oil had a press conference on Friday to announce that they no longer wanted Dany Heatley? It kinda felt like high school when a girlfriend rejects you, so you immediately run around and say to everyone who will listen you dumped her first. After all, Dany never publicly rejected Edmonton, remember? He didn't say no, but he didn't say yes either.
Friday's public notice actually made the Oilers look worse and more desperate than the Heatley affair already made them look. Which is sad, because the Oilers have a good young core of players, and much potential under their new coaching staff. Tambi did address his current roster, stating that free agent signings and trades are unlikely to occur before the Oil go into training camp. Don't believe the hype. The Oilers may have given up on Heatley, but there are plenty more players out there willing to reject a trade to the Oilers.
Perhaps the point of the conference call was to announce to free agent players and other teams that the Oilers are back in business when it comes to talking trades and potential offer sheets. The math surrounding the team still doesn't make much sense, however. They still have too many forwards and too many defensemen on the roster. It could happen before or during camp, but players will be moved, even if there is no immediate help coming the other way. Players like Rob Schremp could be lost to waivers, or if he lives in the press box in Edmonton, will see his market value drop. As it is, the Oilers couldn't get a second round pick for his rights at the NHL Entry Draft in Montreal in June.
With the exception of Mike Grier, I do not see the Oilers being in a position to make much in the way of offers to UFA's. As mentioned before, I would enjoy seeing Petr Sykora added, but he will likely command $3mil per season to be signed, which is too rich for Edmonton's blood without a significant player move occurring first. If the Oilers trade a significant salary, it will be a defenseman in order to acquire a Top 6 forward, which would completely defeat the purpose of adding Sykora. Grier, on the other hand, is big, hits, and can kill penalties. All things the Oilers need, and at a price of half of Sykora.
The arbitration decision is to come down on Sunday for Zherdev, and Edmonton could definitely be in on a deal to acquire him. The suggestion of Phil Kessel being traded to Edmonton is nice, but likely impossible due to economics. What is more likely is that Boston will look to move other players in an attempt to keep Kessel and fit him under the cap. Could Marc Savard, who has one season left before he becomes a UFA, be the odd man out in Boston? Or would they more likely attempt to move Patrice Bergeron, who has two seasons left till becoming a UFA? And even if Boston trades either of these players, they still would need to acquire inexpensive players in return in order to fit Kessel's deal under the cap.
One final thought on this Saturday - The Oilers have tried to acquire Patrick Marleau from the Sharks on several occassions. With the Sharks rumored to be in the hunt for Heatley, could a three-team deal occur, with Marleau and another asset going to Edmonton, Penner, Cogliano and Smid going to Ottawa, and Heatley going to San Jose? Hmmm, I thought Edmonton was done with Dany Heatley. Like I said, don't believe the hype.