What I wanted to talk about is the decisions that Tambo has to make on draft day. There is a lot better analysis out there of who the Oilers should pick (on Lowetide, on Jonathan Willis, and on Coming Down the Pipe). Instead, I am going to list the top three decision that I think Tambo will have to make on draft day, excluding a decision to trade-up or down in the first round, or who to pick. There is just so much going on in those 48 hours, that the draft seems like an excuse to go to the party rather then the show it self.
1) Clear Cap Space. While every blogger come up with a half baked idea about how the Oilers could clear some cap space for impending free agency on a regular basis, I think this is Tambo first non-draft priority. The most common suggestion is to trade one of the big four defense men (Big Sexy, Vis, Acid Eater, or Gilbert), but I do not think this is going to happen at the draft. Because if the Oilers unload on of them and strike out swinging for the fences on Free Agency we are in a hole for the next year. IF one of the big four get traded, I think it will happen in the first few days of free agency after Bouwmeester and Komisarek signed and the market for a defense men increase (man I would love to have one of those two in our top four, someone who's calling card is defense on the defense, a novel idea). Instead I think we could see Tambo attempting to move veterans for picks since that is what will be moving on draft day, oh, and the occasional star.
- Pisani: I don't want him to go, since I think he is the key to our defensive 3rd line and the PK and he will for ever be a saint in my world (My brother and I even convinced his fiancee to name her budgie after him in the 2006 playoff run). For the reason's I like him, are also the reasons I think he could get us something back: I would put his value at a third round pick, or him and combined with another pick to move up (say Phili's 3rd and Pisani for another second). Savings 2.5 Million next year.
- Moreau: I would love for him to go. As most of you know I have been hating on him for a while, and finally the rest of Bring Back the Glory has all come around. His salary of $1.75 for the next two years is disgusting (remember it is a 2 million cap hit), but it might be the only time we could trade thecaptainoftheedmontonoilers. He did have a good boxcar season (14 goals, 26 pts, and 133 PiMs), and his reputation is legendary- if we believe the play-by-play men around the league (and I watch a lot of American Feeds, and the announcers love the guy, it makes me confused). Moreau is also coming off injury (eye and hand) so this may lower his trading value, but I honestly few it as the same as Pisani's! Not that I would trade for Moreau, but if you as a GM are looking for a veteran presence with leadership, ability to hit, and a limited role on the PK, them Moreau might sound good to you (say if you lived in the east and when to bed before the Oilers games started). Moreau gets you a third round pick and saves you 2 million dollars.
- Staios: Steady Steve is the last of the three veterans that could save you a lot of cap space for the next two years ($2.7 Million). I know lots of people see him as a waste of skin, but I think he is a valuable member of the defensive core: he plays some of the hardest competition with the crappiest partner on the team (and often with less talented forwards as well), he is the leader in blocking shots, and plays on the second pairing PK. As long as he is not playing over 20 minutes a night, Staios is a very useful player for the Oilers next year. The question in my mind is if his contract will hurt us in 2010/11, and my answer is yes. I think Staios will have a good season next year on any team he is on, and that most GMs know this. I think he has the best return of any of the three vets listed here: I'd say a second rounder.
2) Decisions on the lesser lights. The Oilers (and every other team) has a bunch of players that have not turned out as they expected: failed first rounders mainly, but the occasional wrong free agent signing. These players will not get the kind of return that I think the vets will get, so instead of 2nd or 3rd round picks, I am thinking 4th to 6th round picks. Schremp, Poo, Brule, Nilsson, and Petry are good examples of this. Petry value might be higher since he is still young, and has not screwed up in the NHL yet, so I don't think he'll be traded on draft day (unless the Oilers trade for a star, please Howson trade us Nash). But I would not be surprised if two of Nilsson/Brule/Schremp are cut lose at the draft: one for pick and the other in a package deal.
3) Is Penner the LW moving Forward. This is a big decision for Tambo, and could signal a final break from Lowe's tenure as GM. IF Penner was moved, it would be a clear sign that Lowe gave up much too much for him. Penner will never be able to get back what we paid for him. I am not even sure what he would get back with the contract he has: any ideas? But if Tambo thinks Penner is not aggressive enough, or is not the first line LW going into the next season, it would make the most sense to trade him at draft day. We would be clearing up a lot of salary, and gaining a piece in return that we could add to a package or a kid for the stable.
4) Trade for Danny Heatley!! Heatley can play LW, we need a first line left winger. Heatley is young (same age as me) which makes him in his prime. He can score, I am almost have an organism imagining him playing with Hemsky. When players demand a trade, they are worthless (shades of Pronger-gate). Come on Tambo, make this deal!! I'd try:
Cogs, 10th overall 2009 draft, Phili's third round selection 2009 draft, and Chorney/Petry. With a conditional first round selection if the Oilers win the Stanely in the next two years (half of Heatley's contract).
Heatley. yup that is all.
I think the deal is better the the BOS-SJS Thornton trade (for Ottawa at least), and it is very comparable to the Pronger trade (the ANA-EDM at least). I can't really think of another superstar trade since the lockout, so these are my comparables. This deal also figures out one problem: how to pay Cogs when his contract is up. But leaves a new one, how to cut salary: one of the big four is going to have to go I think.