Does anyone remember the days of Trader Phil? The moniker the media gave to Phil Esposito when he was a GM, because he made so many deals? Well, today, I am Trader Richard. As the new GM of the Oilers, I am trying to answer the conundrum, “how do we improve the Oilers forward lines?” The following are some trade and UFA possibilities.
Marc Savard, Boston – Why? He’s a scoring center the Oilers could stick on the first line. Why Not? Asking price would be high, and contract makes him a UFA next year. Available? Not likely. Would play in Edmonton? Not likely.
Patrice Bergeron, Boston – Why? Potential to be a scoring machine if he is healthy. Why Not? Injury concerns. Available? Yes. Would play in Edmonton? Maybe
Phil Kessel, Boston – Why? Outstanding young center who can skate. Why Not? It would cost the Oilers three young top end prospects. Available? No. Despite what you read, Boston will find a way to hold on to him. Would he play in Edmonton? Something tells me no.
Thomas Vanek, Buffalo – Why? Would score 100 pts per season playing with Hemsky. Why Not? Contract is ridiculous, thanks to Lowe’s meddling. Available? Likely not, but perhaps because of his contract, and if the Oil would trade a load of young top end players. Would play in Edmonton? Yes. He owes the Oilers a favor.
Patrick Sharp, Chicago – Why? Because the Hawks need to move a forward, and he has an acceptable contract. Why Not? No reason not to. Available? Could be for the right price. Would play in Edmonton? Yes
Marian Hossa, Chicago – Why? Because the Oilers would gain an almost elite player. Why Not? Because he is overpriced. Available? Might be. His contract got the GM fired. Would play in Edmonton? Doubt it. He’s had his chance and rejected them.
Patrick Kane, Chicago – Why? Because he has tons of skill and is close friends with Sam Gagner. Why Not? Because Chicago won’t trade him unless they have to. Available? Perhaps. Players who have criminal messes often get moved to “start fresh.” Would he play in Edmonton? Yes, because of Gagner.
R.J. Umberger, Columbus – Why? He was great in Philly. Can play in both ends of the rink. Why Not? Is not the top scoring forward the Oilers crave. Available? Maybe. Has not paned out in Columbus as hoped. Would he play in Edmonton? If he’s willing to play in Columbus…
Antoine Vermette, Columbus – Why? The Oilers have always liked his speed and offensive skills. Why Not? Yet another small forward; becomes a UFA in a season Available? Likely as a rental player. Would he play in Edmonton? Yes
Jakub Voracek,Columbus – Why? Young star on the rise; potential power forward the Oilers would love to have. Why Not? The Oilers would have to trade lots to get him, and Columbus loves him almost as much as Filatov. Available? Doubt it. Would he play in Edmonton? Yes
Jarrett Stoll, Los Angeles – Why? Two-way center that dominates in the face-off circle. Why not? He dumped hot older girlfriend before wedding; questionable judgment, has history of concussions which could explain dumping of hot girlfriend. Available? You never know. Would he play in Edmonton? Maybe.
Dustin Brown, Los Angeles – Why? The Oilers need forwards with size that can score. Has a great contract. Why not? The Oilers have too many forwards, and LA would want a Top 4 D-man in return. Likely Souray. Available? Perhaps. Would he play in Edmonton? Likely
Alex Frolov, Los Angeles – Why? Decent rental player with offensive talent. Why not? Rental players always seem to suffer in Edmonton, and are never resigned. Available? Yes. Would he play in Edmonton? Yes. But the question is, could the Oilers sign him to a long-term extension?
Tomas Plekanec, Montreal – Why? Two-way center that could win a face-off sometimes. Why Not? Rental player; doesn’t have enough offensive skill to be a factor; does not have enough size. Available? Yes, but likely for a defenseman. Would he play in Edmonton? Yes.
Guillaume Latendresse, Montreal – Why? Because he is big, can hit, and has potential to become a scorer. At age 22, still young. Why not? Hasn’t developed as hoped in Montreal. Skating is suspect. His name is hard to pronounce. Available? Yes. Is having problems developing in the fishbowl that is Montreal. Is suffering under the pressure and needs a change of environment. Available? Yes, but the asking price will be higher than his current worth. Would he play in Edmonton? Yes.
Patrick Elias, New Jersey – Why? Star forward, terrific skater, great in both ends of rink. Why not? Older player on downwards end of career; asking price would be significant. Available? Not likely. Would he play in Edmonton? Not likely.
Brandon Dubinsky, New York Rangers – Why? Young two-way center oozing with potential. Why not? Asking price will be very high. Available? Only if the Rangers are forced into making a deal to fit under the salary cap. Would he play in Edmonton? Yes
Jason Spezza, Ottawa – Why? The Oilers love Spezza, and have tried to trade for him a number of times. A complete player. Why not? Because the Oilers would need to give up Gagner, and/or Cogliano, plus other young players and draft picks. Available? You never know. Ottawa has cap issues; Murray has IQ issues. Would he play in Edmonton? You’d think he wouldn’t want to, but he is a classy guy and might be willing to consider it.
Dany Heatley, Ottawa – Why? Because he is one of the top 3 goal scorers in the league. Why not? He is one of the top 3 jackasses in the league. No character whatsoever. Available? Yes. Would he play in Edmonton? If he was forced to, and for only one season. Expect a tantrum and trade demand the second his first season ends.
Daniel Briere, Philadelphia – Why? Because Philly has cap issues, and need to move someone, so Briere’s asking price would be reasonable. Why Not? Likely wouldn’t play in Edmonton; would be a rental player. Available? Yes. Would he play in Edmonton? No.
Simon Gagne, Philadelphia – Why? Unlike Briere, Simon has two years left on his contract. Great offensive talent. Why not? Asking price, with Philly being capped out, would be young prospects and draft picks. Could be a lot to give up for a two-season player. Available? Perhaps. You don’t hear anyone throw his name around too much. Would he play in Edmonton? Something tells me he would.
Shane Doan, Phoenix – Why? To make up for the Oilers taking Steve Kelly ahead of him at the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. What the heck was Edmonton thinking? Why Not? Because he is older and the Oilers should be going on a youth movement right now. Available? Not a chance. Gretzky loves this guy. Would he play in Edmonton? Yeah. Doan is a great person.
Kyle Turris, Phoenix – Why? The Oilers wanted to move up in the 2007 Entry Draft to take Turris, but didn’t pull it off. Turris is often compared to a young Steve Yzerman, but has yet to turn into a star player. Why Not? Plays small, and hasn’t turned out as hoped. Available? Could be. The Coyotes have many young forwards and need d-men badly. Would he play in Edmonton? I think so.
Jordan Staal, Pittsburgh – Why? Because the Staal family are winners. Jordan could play any role on a team and be great at it. On the right team, he could be a first-line center. Why not? Because there is little the Penguins would want off of Edmonton that could replace Staal. Available? No way. Would he come to Edmonton? Yes, because in Edmonton, he’d be top center.
Patrick Marleau, San Jose – Why? Marleau has absolutely everything you’d want in a top line player. Can score, make plays, skate, backcheck…Why Not? San Jose would rather trade Joe Thornton than Marleau. Available? Only if San Jose believes they can not resign him next season. Would he come to Edmonton? Could be talked into it. He would be the face of the team, playing in a fanatic hockey market. He could see it as an opportunity.
Joe Thornton, San Jose – Why? An elite player in the NHL. Why Not? Because his contract is massive. Has demonstrated severe throat inflammation during playoffs that results in choking. Also thought to mail in the effort on some nights. Available? You know what, I think he might be. San Jose needs to go a different direction, and he could reap a reward in a trade of several standout players. Would he play in Edmonton? Are you kidding? No way.
Jonathan Cheechoo, San Jose – Why? Decent contract amount for a player who has scored a bucket of goals a few seasons ago. Has coolest name in the NHL; sounds like a Weezer song title. Why Not? Doesn’t seem to be the same player he was a few seasons ago. Not a great skater. Value is dropping fast. Available? Yes, San Jose would love to trade him. Would he play in Edmonton? It beats the KHL.
Alexander Steen, St. Louis – Why? Still relatively young; plays strong two-way game; good bloodlines. Why Not? Played in TO and might be scarred for life because of it; is not a serious improvement to current players on roster. Available? Hard to say. Would he play in Edmonton? Yep.
Michael Nylander, Washington – Why? Because the Oilers need offense and Nylander can make things happen offensively. Why Not? Where to start? He jilted the Oilers once already, his contract is ridiculous, injury concerns, and hell hasn’t frozen over yet. Available? Washington would kiss the Oilers if they took him. Would he play in Edmonton? He said on August 3rd he regrets turning them down and would like to try. Grovel, peasant.
Maxim Afinogenov, UFA – Why? When he shows up, he is offensively dangerous. Why Not? The Oilers have a bunch of players that are good, “when they show up.” What they need are players who always show up. Available? Yes. He has to be getting nervous about not being signed yet. Would he play in Edmonton? For the right price, which in Edmonton terms, is overpriced.
Petr Sykora, UFA – Why? When MacT would let him play with Hemsky, the pair had decent chemistry together. Sykora said he liked playing in Edmonton, and he is a decent two-way player. Why Not? I am not sure why not, to be honest. I’d really like to see the Oilers add him this season. Available? Yes. Would he play in Edmonton? Yes.
Nikolai Zherdev, UFA – Why? Because the Oilers have only one pure scorer, and Zherdev, when he is on, would add tremendously to this team. Why Not? Considered lazy and a floater. Might have a swelled head. Might be overpriced for what he brings. Available? Yes, although I suspect he will end up signing with the KHL. Would he play in Edmonton? Maybe for the right money. I doubt the Oilers would sign him though, as he and Renney have a history, and it isn’t pretty.
Mike Grier, UFA – Why? Because the Oilers are undersized and Mike hits everything that moves. Also, he’s a character guy who can penalty kill and score the odd goal. Why Not? Not sure why not. Like Sykora, Grier would be a great player to add if possible. Available? Yes. Would he play in Edmonton? Likely.
Mats Sundin, UFA – Why? Because the Oilers are gluttons for punishment, and Mats Sundin has a sick sense of humor. Why Not? If you can’t think of a reason, invent one. This would be the worst marriage ever. Available? Yes. I mean no. I mean maybe. I’ll tell you next week. Maybe next month. I haven’t decided yet. I’ll get back to you. Would he play in Edmonton? It depends on the phases of the moon.