The NHL's trade deadline is within a month, February 28 being the exact date. Every single team in the NHL is one of two things, a seller or a buyer. The Edmonton Oilers are in a great position for the upcoming manic Monday that will be Deadline day. The Oilers are one of only five teams that can really say they are sellers at the deadline (Oilers, Devils, Islanders, Leafs, Panthers).
The Oilers have a log-jam of players too, which is perfect for a seller. The Oilers will be trying to move the following:
Ales Hemsky/Dustin Penner: A lot of people will ask "Why move two of your best forwards when you are rebuilding?" Well the simply answer is that in July of 2012, both will be UFA's, and the Oilers won't want to spend the money to re-sign both knowing that just a year from then, guys like Hall will be needing a new contract.
Hemsky is the one that I personally think will be gone. We have heard many rumors over the past year talking about Hemsky being possibly moved, and not much on Dustin Penner. The Oilers, without doubt, like Penner's size, and on top of that he is usually healthy, something Hemsky can't say.
While both these players are very good offensive talent, there isn't enough room to keep both going forward. Hemsky can get the Oilers another first round pick, and if you call the right team, maybe its a top 10 pick. The Bruins are a team to look for here. They just lost Savard and need to replace that offense. Ales Hemsky for the Maple Leafs first round pick could be the basis of something come deadline day.
Andrew Cogliano and Gilbert Brule: I put these two together because they are almost the same player. After two 18-goal seasons to start his career, Cogliano was horrible last season and at the start of this season.
While he has turned it around in the sense that his two-way play has gotten much better, I highly doubt he sticks around. Teams have interest in him, and he is a guy who can be a top six forward on another team. Cogliano to the Toronto Maple Leafs is something to possibly look for. Look to see the Oilers try to get a second-third round pick for him too, if they deal him.
As for Gilbert Brule, it appears he has lost his spot in Edmonton. Brule was good last season, but it was the only good season of his pro career. He doesn't fit into the top six in Edmonton, and simply is too small for the bottom six. If he were to be put on the trading block, which I think he will on deadline day, there will be teams will to take a shot on Gilbert for, lets say a second round pick in the draft. The Penguins, Sens and Leafs make sense to me here.
Colin Fraser and JF Jacques: Again, these two are paired up because the issue is the same. Fraser was brought in to the Oilers organization to win face-offs, play PK and be a physical forward. Sadly to say, he has done none of that in the way anyone thought he would, and has been a total bust for the Oilers. I expect them to put Colin on the block, and try to dump him for a sixth or seventh rounder. Wonder who will bite.
As for Jacques, he is a big boy, who I like as a player, actually. If he wasn't hurt all the time, we might be talking about a solid bottom six option, but JFJ is an oft-injured player that can't play his role with the back-issues he has. Montreal always likes their French guys, but I look at waivers, Montreal, and Dallas as the top possible sights for JFJ.
Jim Vandermeer: Vandy is going to be a UFA on July 1st, and I don't care what anyone says, he hasn't been bad for these Oilers. Vandermeer isn't a terrific defender to start with, but the Oilers were asking too much from him from the start. He really has tried his hardest to fill the role, and has done better than anyone thought he would. Jim is one tough cookie, and I think a team on the way to the playoffs would love to rent him as a fifth/sixth defender in their line-up. Look for teams like the Rangers, Kings, Sharks, and even Habs look at Jimmy on deadline day.
Other Possible moving players: Kurtis Foster has been a huge bust in Edmonton, mainly because he is in a top four role, when in reality all he is a guy with a huge shot and no real defensive skills. He is in too big of a role right now, and would normally be a No. 5 on most teams with lots of PP time. Something yells Dallas Stars at me with him, but I think teams will wait to till the summer to make a deal on Foster.
Tom Gilbert: Teams will be interested in Gilbert, but he won't move. As much as the fans scream at him (and I do too, a lot actually), Tom has played really well in a huge role as of late, and is showing some talent of being a top four defender in the NHL. If you get an offer in which the return is good, then you take it, but I think there is only a five percent chance Gilbert is moved at the deadline, which is a good thing because he is growing on me again.
I was just gonna end my blog with the Tom Gilbert note on other possible moving players, but the Oilers have started moving bodies today, which is a really good thing.
A lot of people thought the Oilers would make the mistake of waiving Liam Reddox as Ales Hemsky and Jordan Eberle return to the Oilers lineup. Tambellini and co. stunned everyone today by placing forward Zach Stortini on waivers. Something tells me that fight against the Stars was the last straw for Zach.
Before I go any further I just want to point out that Storts put forth 110 percent effort EVERYTIME he went on the ice, and really played for the logo on the front of the jersey, which is something I will always respect in his game. He would never quit on his team, and was guy that loved the Oilers and the city. Its sad, but in all honesty, he was an AHL talent playing in the NHL. He simply isn't feared enough as a fighter and he simply wasn't good enough to make it in the NHL.
I wish the best of luck to Stortini no matter where he ends up. Now, I am glad that the Oilers realized Storts wasn't helping them. Reddox has won a roster spot, which is great because he deserves it and he very well could be a bottom six forward that we see for many more years in Edmonton.
This also means that Steve MacIntyre should see increased playing time, meaning the cheap shots on the kids are OVER. Look out, because Big Mac isn't afraid to really hurt someone in a fight. This also means that only one of JFJ and MacIntyre will be moved, and my money is on JFJ being traded at the deadline, and Mac kept around the rest of the season for protection.
As always, I wanna hear what you have to say, leave a comment about what you think about the Oilers at the deadline, and your thoughts on Stortini being waived. I'll respond to each comment after its posted. Follow me on Twitter @AToilfan83