A Busy Day Before Free Agency

The Oilers have been busy. We said they would be and it was obvious there was a short window of time, but so far some shrewd moves by Steve Tambellini and what seems to be a clearer understanding of the cap, buyouts and team needs has us thinking the Oilers are being smarter this off-season than ever before.

First came the buyouts of Ethan Moreau, Patrick O'Sullivan and Robert Nilsson. It was expected all three would clear waivers and all three would be bought out. The cap situation wouldn't have been critical (somewhere around an additional $1.5 million per season for the next two years), but not helpful either.

Then came some good news.

Moreau Wears a New Jacket

Ethan Moreau was picked up off waivers by Scott Howson and the Columbus Blue Jackets. There must be some sentiment here from Howson that Moreau wouldn't have either a) come to Columbus as a free agent or b) that Moreau was worth his $2 million dollar salary, but not enough to trade an asset and pay that money.

Howson did say that he expects Moreau to give some much needed help to the 3rd line for the Jackets playing along side Sammy Pahlsson and I see a fit there I suppose, but more important is that the Oilers were cleared of having to pay any additional monies to Moreau over the next two years and his cap hit of $2 million is no longer the Oilers problem.

Good for Moreau. I'm not sure Columbus would have been his first choice, but he quickly finds a new home.

Patty O' for Vandermeer

Then in even better news, the Oilers were actually able to get an asset they needed for Patrick O'Sullivan. POS was easily the worst plus/minus player in the Oilers organization and the largest cap hit of the Oilers in terms of a buyout, so picking up a rugged, mean and able to fight defenceman in Vandermeer is great news.

We've learned that O'Sullivan will be bought out by the Coyotes. No surprise there. Because O'Sullivan's buyout is $795,583 the Coyotes will take the hit because that hit would be far less than the hit required in buying out Vandermeer who is older and buyout rules make him more steep to get rid of. Not an issue for Edmonton who will keep Vandermeer and add his toughness to their thin defence corps.

Vandermeer is a 30-year-old defenceman who had 12 points and 60 penalty minutes in 62 games with the Coyotes last season. His salary cap hit will be $2.3 million next season. If he doesn't work out, the Oilers just don't give him a new contract next year. If he does, perhaps they sign him cheap next season or he becomes trade deadline deal bait for a team willing to part with a draft pick. Should suit the Oilers fine who will continue to look to the draft next year and the year after.

Sheldon Souray Wants To Come Back Now?

Holy crap, what is the deal here? First he can't stand the Oilers, now he'd be willing to come back if the option was there? At least this is what Darren Dreger and Bob Mackenzie are reportedly repeating after hearing it from Souray or his camp.

Of course, this comes conveniently at the same the Oilers have a trade in the works with the St. Louis Blues to bring back Eric Brewer in exchange for Souray.

Is it too little too late? Even if Souray has had a legitimate change of heart, in my opinion it should be.

I think Souray is a better option when healthy and provides scary offense if he's on his game, but to talk the way he did about this team and Oilers management, only to change his mind when a team like St. Louis is in the mix smells of a player taking the lesser of two evils and hardly something we want around the kids coming in.

Plus, I have nothing against adding Eric Brewer. While he's not exactly loved by all fans in St. Louis (if you look at the message boards there), he still can be counted on for tons of ice-time, he was (is) their captain and he's a big boy who plays with a physical edge.

Brewer is often injured thanks to nagging back injuries, but so is Souray who has a bad hand, shoulder and obviously brain. Brewer also has age and salary on his side. He has one year left at $4.5 million vs Souray's $5.4 for two years and Brewer is 31, not 34.

Nilsson Next?

It seems unlikely, but there is still a glimmer of hope that Nashville who we heard had slight interest has interest. The odds are that Nilsson will get bought out and Tambellini can't go three for three, but wouldn't that be something? How fast would fans jump on the Tambo-wagon?

As it is, Tambellini has done some good work so far and if the Souray trade goes through tomorrow, his depth chart looks like...





This gives Edmonton a chance to add another more stable defenceman but it isn't critical. If he can't get it done via free agency, the Oilers are in much better shape today than they were yesterday at this time.


I am freaking PUMPED that Tambo has been able to pull off some magic on both the Moreau and POS front. I am SOOOOO happy that we got something back for POS cause I thought that was a complete right off. Tambo is a freaking magician. I think this is the start of something amazing with Tambo. I have always respected his hockey sense but he is really turning this team around.

In terms of Souray for Brewer ... I don't like it. Brew Crew has been a minus machine and I didn't like him when he was with the Oil. I was really hoping to unload him for very little in return ... didn't really want a contract back. If we look at it from a monetary point of view, it makes sense but in terms of a winning team ... I don't like it.

I can tell for sure what to expect next year. Are we going to be respectable or are we going after another lottery pick? Either way, I am excited for the future.

Next year's Calder Trophy Candidates: Taylor Hall, MPS, Jordan Eberle.

BTW ... do you know if it is a fact that if Khabby gets a sentence for his DUI that the Oilers can walk away from his contract?

June 30, 2010 at 12:45 PM comment-delete

Unfortunately I don't know the situation with Bulin and what happens if there's jail time. I've tried to look into it and made calls on it. Seems like a lot of people aren't sure.

If there is one instance for a team to be free and clear it would be this, but with the jail time it might be minimal.

Often times they'll give jail time around a persons way of making a living so he could serve time during the summer, but its all still unclear.

With Brewer, I agree it would be nice to get somehting else in return, but I think the options are few. Brewer is by far the better of the two options.

Souray would have to beg to come back and beg to be the captain here to prove he's worth it for me to even think he'd be worth another look.

June 30, 2010 at 12:57 PM comment-delete

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