Word on the street is there might be a big deal coming if the NHL gets back on track by December 1.
The source of all this commotion, outside of the usual basement dwellers, is none other than Bob Stauffer. The most connected media person in Edmonton had a few things to say on his Oilers
Commercial themed show “Oilers Now!” To sum up the image below, The Oilers are in a position to make a splash if the season starts soon and the CBA terms arent restrictive.
Before we blow our minds out wondering who it could be that’s gone and who could be coming in, why dont we take some time to explore the possibility that Stauffer might be full of shit? Point number 1 with a bullet, the Oilers havent exactly been the subject of any positive press lately. Katz has been under fire from politicians at the city and provincial level for months, and it doesnt look like it will end any time soon. The NHL has also locked out its fans, again, and the positives are hard to grasp here. Between the lockout, the arena, and the party donations the Oilers have been in dire need for some positive press. A little trade buzz could go a long way to keep that fan base motivated and looking forward to Oiler hockey. Bob Stauffer also added enough caveats (The CBA bit and the Start date bit) that if nothing happens then he has an out clause. “Hey I said all along that they needed Dec 1 and the CBA had to be favourable.”
The rumour could be completely bogus, or at very least the deal’s imminence could have been exaggerated.
But there might be a real fire behind all this smoke. The Oilers are in desperate need of a legit top 2 defenseman. Even if Justin Schultz is destined to be one some day, that day wont be in this (potential) NHL season. The Oil are stuck with a top 2 of Petry and Smid, a decent duo to be sure but are they really #1&2 defensemen? I dont think so. The Oilers have several good prospects at D like Klefbom, Marincin, Gernat, and Musil to complement Schultz but none of them are full time NHLers today. I doubt more than 1 of that 4 would be trade fodder, but the Oilers also have a fair amount of forwards that could go. There are NHLers like Hemsky and Gagner (a much needed Centre) and there are AHLers like Hartikainen, Pitlick, and Paajarvi whose size and grit might be appealing to other clubs as well.
In fact Jim Matheson noted just the other day that there were several scouts jotting down Teemu Hartikainen’s name after taking in some Barons games. When that article came out there were others that noted more scouts than usual at the Barons game. They werent there scouting Nuge and Eberle, who are widely considered untouchable. They were watching everyone else who doesnt have a spot locked down on the Oilers.
Also keep in mind that not too long after that the news broke that the Oilers’ Andy Sutton might have played his final game in an NHL uniform. The Oilers might need to upgrade their defense, and they have the parts to do a little better than a perennial 5-6 defenseman/thug. All we know about the rumour is that it is a “Wow” type of move that might happen.
The first name that pops to mind for most people, though, has been Roberto Luongo. His name has been floating out there for a while. His contract is relatively reasonable but the length is killer. He would absolutely be an upgrade in net, but the new CBA could wreak havok with how his cap is calculated or what will happen to it moving forward. That type of deal seems a little to volatile for my liking, and that probably means the sheer idea of it gives Tambellini vertigo.
For me, my bet is going to be a defenseman. PK Subban didnt get a new contract with Montreal, new Canadiens Pro Scout Ethan Moreau was notably in attendance for some games in Oklahoma and the Habs need big gritty forwards like Pitlick and Hartikainen even more than the Oilers do. Maybe PK could find a home in Oiler silks soon. Or maybe this whole thing is hogwash. Other than Bob Stauffer, who knows?