It's the last day of August, and Northern Alberta is going through it's most significant heat wave of the summer. Perhaps Mother Nature knows hockey season and training camp are soon to get underway, and is giving the players a chance to get in some golf before all the work begins.
Oil Country is buzzing with the Kessel rumors. In my opinion, Kessel would be a better addition than Heatley; not that he is a better player, but because he's 22 and comes with less baggage. Apparently he will miss training camp and the beginning of the season due to a shoulder injury, so it's not all good news with a potential trade. Players who miss camp usually end up starting slowly when they do come back, so the Oilers are going to have to be better without him for a while to be playoff bound this season.
I suspect if there is any substance to the Kessel rumors that the Oilers will want to speak with his camp to discuss a long-term deal before a trade is made. My guess? Five years/$25 million. I could see the Oilers offering as much as a seven year deal to secure his services long-term. Phil will be a very wealthy man by the end of this.
There are questions that need to be addressed. First, what do the Oilers give up? A quick look at the Boston line-up shows that the Bruins would most benefit from a puck moving defenseman. Problem is, the Bruins are almost capped out, with less than $2mil of wiggle room. Unless the Bruins move someone else, Grebeshkov, Gilbert, Visnovsky and Souray all will not be part of a Kessel deal.
With the addition of Kessel, I believe the Oilers will make the decision to move Andrew Cogliano. It isn't that Andrew isn't loved in Edmonton; it's a size issue. The Oilers have so many small forwards, and Andrew isn't a great face-off guy. They will never trade Gagner, and I think Eberle is untouchable too. Andrew's contract number is acceptable for the Bruins, and he is young and talented.
So my guess? Phil Kessel to Edmonton for Andrew Cogliano, a defensive prospect (likely either Jeff Petry or Taylor Chorney), and a draft pick in 2010.
Even with Cogliano's salary off the books, the Oilers payroll can not fit Phil Kessel in, so a second move would be necessary. Who could be moved?
- There is some interest in Dustin Penner. He could be moved to San Jose so he could be included as part of a deal between the Sharks and the Senators for Dany Heatley. I guess the same could be said about Laddy Smid. San Jose is serious about Heater, but Cheechoo just isn't going to land him. They need to acquire players the Sens would be interested in.
- There is interest in LA for Sheldon Souray.
- There would be interest in a number of cities for one of Edmonton's defenseman. The Top 4, Souray, Visnovsky, Grebeshkov and Gilbert would all be movable, but certain teams like Atlanta might also consider Steve Staios, who they thought highly of when he played there.
Let's assume the Oilers acquire Kessel for Cogliano and prospects, and the Oilers find a way to make everything work under the cap. What happens with the lines? Does Phil play the wing with Horcoff and Hemsky, or does Horcoff become the second or third line Center? For some reason, I see the KHH line more possible, as Kessel is better on the wing.
If Penner does end up getting moved, the Oilers could seek a Centre in return, could sign an available UFA like Petr Sykora or faceoff demon Blair Betts (cap room permitting), or could move Brule to the third line, with Pouliot on the fourth.
Finally, I will end this blog with an extremely ridiculous suggestion: Could Kessel be moved to Edmonton for prospects, and Cogs, Smid and Penner be moved for Heatley? Would Dany be more willing to play in Edmonton on a line with Kessel and Hemsky? You never know folks. It's the NHL, and the Oilers have done some insane stuff in the past. So you just never know.