Trade Brewing Between Edmonton and Columbus?

I have it on absolutely no good authority, I've heard no little birdy or read between any lines. I'm simply suggesting the following and did a little proactive reasoning as a solution to a glaring hole in the Oilers line-up. To me a trade between the Edmonton Oilers and the Columbus Blue Jackets makes a lot of sense. They are logistical trade partners (sure they're both in the West but at least not within the division), have something the other wants and would be moving parts they can spare (at least in some cases).

So, what would that trade be?

If I was in control and Scott Howson was willing to give up value for that puck moving defenceman he covets, the trade would look something like this:

To Edmonton - Antoine Vermette and Jason Chimera

To Columbus - Denis Grebeshkov, Robert Nilsson and Marc-Antoine Pouliot

Whether Columbus chooses to accept the spare parts and then immediately waive them or stick them in their bottom six forward group is not really the gist of this trade. Where this trade works, is for Columbus who badly needs a puck moving defenceman and have gone on record as saying as much. They tried to pluck Erhoff from San Jose, they were in on the Kaberle talks and the Edmonton Oilers Denis Grebeshkov fits that bill. Vermette seems like a lot to give up, but on a team that has the depth at centre Columbus does, maybe not.

At $3.15 million, Grebeshkov is a tad overpaid and each year his one year term comes due, it seems like a challenge for Edmonton to re-sign him. The Oilers have players like Taylor Chorney, Dean Arsene, Alex Plante and Theo Peckham (after injury) waiting in the wings, and with three other puck movers in Visnovsky, Souray and Gilbert, Grebeshkov is in some ways overkill. He's got what Columbus needs in a potential top two puck moving d-man, they can take the cap hit and he has some cache that can fetch a fair return.

Robert Nillson is on the bubble as is, and his two years at $2 million per might be hard to move if not for the Blue Jackets $11 million plus in cap space still available. He shows glimpses of being the most skilled and offensively potent weapon the Oilers dress in any given night and Columbus might be willing to take a chance on him. He's inconsistent, but in the right location might flourish.

Pouliot is a throw in and contract clear for the Oilers that the Blue Jackets might be willing to take on out of their sheer desparation for a top four puck mover on the blue line and their want to move Chimera. It's not as though Pouliot doesn't have some value, it's simply that he's comparable in terms of a gritty 3rd or 4th liner like Chimera (only less) and hasn't shown the consistency to get dirty. They may pop him in the bottom six, they may not use him at all, but Columbus seems to have a knack for or at least a willingness, to make something out of the Oilers little or nothing. See Jan Hejda and Raffi Torres if your looking for examples.

For Edmonton, both Vermette and Chimera provide something the team needs. Chimera was actively shopped with no takers so the asking price isn't steep. He's much more willing to go to the hard areas of the ice and work for his production. In fact, he's made a career of it. Vermette while not the most likely candidate to leave Columbus and part of the Pascal Laclaire trade, could be considered spare parts with the likes of Derick Brassard, RJ Umberger and Sammy Pahlsson ready to step in and fill all the roles at centre including faceoffs. Hence the reason Columbus didn't lose sleep over letting Malhotra walk.

Speaking of faceoffs, Vermette is a killer in the dot. He has wheels which is something the Oilers have always looked for in a run and gun style and while small is a much better fit for the Oilers in a group of smaller forwards than Nilsson or Pouliot would be right now. Columbus has too many good top six players ready to play top six minutes and perhaps the Oilers can find a place for this trade to work. We know that conversations between Howson and the Oilers happen frequently, so there is no reason to suggest the two haven't already talked about Chimera and we're finding out quickly how hard it can be for some teams to move extra bodies for value.



The Oilers still don't have a great deal of faceoff strength, but it's miles better with this line-up and takes major heat off of Shawn Horcoff. There is a group of versatile forwards able to play more than one position. These forwards have speed, a very strong potential to fill holes due to injury and the Oilers keep value to make further trades as Moreau and Jacques at this point still might be attractive for other teams.

Think I'm way off? What would your trade look like?


I am gonna throw out Fredrik Modin. I think out of all the guys they have, he could be expendable. He's in his last year of his contract and why lose him for nothing? Give them Pouliot, Nilsson and Grebeshkov and we get Modin and Chimera.

So I'm probably wrong, but I hope I'm right.

September 25, 2009 at 2:43 PM comment-delete

Vermette just signed an extension with Columbus so there's no chance he'd be included. He'd look good on the Oil, though.

September 25, 2009 at 3:01 PM comment-delete

I agree that Vermette is the painful give up for Columbus, but when I look at their other options, Vermette just looks expendable to me.

Long term contracts are not always the best thing in the world when you have too many forwards. The Oilers have discovered that the hard way.

Maybe Columbus sees an opportunity there. Who knows.

September 25, 2009 at 3:17 PM comment-delete

no chance on Vermette... Howson finally has 2 skilled centers for top 2 lines, no way he deals one. Umberger, while able to player center, he proved last year he is much better suited for the wing.

September 25, 2009 at 3:41 PM comment-delete

It may not matter, I'm hearing now with some actual legs behind it, that the Oilers are considering a trade involving Pisani and Nilsson with Nashville for Hamhuis and Tootoo.

I'm not sure I like the idea of that trade even though Hamhuis has is a good d-man. Not sure where he fits though and Tootoo is just...well let's say an interesting option.

September 25, 2009 at 5:51 PM comment-delete

Great read.
The numbers cap-wise work. However, I respectfully disagree w/ the Oilers need for Vermette. Yes, he's fantastic, but I beleive they're just as deep at C, and Comrie has been doing well there recently. True, Grebs is overkill depth.

I also believe Gagner will be their #2 C by Nov, and will come out of the gate flyin.

October 1, 2009 at 2:38 PM comment-delete

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