Friday, February 20, 2009

Let the games begin!

TSN has their prognosticators, but here at the Oil Patch, we have hard-nosed and intellectual rigpigs who’ve devised a list of the top five trade possibilities for the Oilers going into the deadline.

Sources, meanwhile, say GM Steve Tambellini is making some calls there is a chance we could hear about something in terms of a deal by the end of the weekend.

Enjoy the list.

NUMBER FIVE: Marty Reasoner and Boris Valabik from the Atlanta Thrashers.

This trade does seem like small potatoes, but it addresses two key issues with the Edmonton Oilers: face-off productivity and depth on defence.

Coach Craig MacTavish had urged Tambellini and Kevin Lowe to keep Reasoner before the player signed with Atlanta for a $1 million contract last summer.

And there’s a reason why MacT wanted Reasoner, and it shows this season on special teams simply because the Oilers can’t win a face-off. Reasoner was a tough penalty killer and consistent player in the circle.

Valabik is a six-foot-seven gritty and young defenseman on a weak Eastern Conference team. The addition of Valabik would answer the Oilers’ depth issue on the blueline after losing Lubomir Vishnovsky and Denis Grebeshkov to injury.

ASSETS TO GIVE UP: Marc Pouliot, a second round draft pick, and maybe Liam Reddox

NUMBER FOUR: Alex Kovalev from the Montreal Canadians

There’s a train wreck brewing in Montreal and GM Bob Gainey might be busy during the trade deadline because of it.

Not only is he dealing with a public backlash over making Kovalev sit at home for two games, he’s now dealing with a criminal scandal that links Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn and Roman Hamrlik.

With the mess, Gainey could be desperate in shipping out his slumping star forward, and there is some scuttlebutt that Tambellini is interested, says TSN.

Taking Kovalev is a risk, but with Ales Hemsky finding ways to pass him the puck, he might work well in Edmonton.

ASSETS TO GIVE UP: Dustin Penner, or Eric Cole.

NUMBER THREE: Ryan Whitney from the Pittsburg Penguins

The Pittsburg Penguins have a stockpile of defensemen — the Edmonton Oilers, on the other hand, don’t.

Sergei Gonchar is now back on the blueline and the Penguins are out looking to make a deal for some grit to get them back in the hunt.

Don't be surprise if Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero has already called Tambellini a few times in shipping Whitney who happens to be a young and promising blueliner on pace to reach 24 points this season in 49 games.

ASSETS TO GIVE UP: Kyle Brodziak or Marc Pouliot, Steve MacIntyre and a conditional draft pick.

NUMBER TWO: Scott Niedermayer from the Anaheim Ducks

With the economic downturn and the Ducks finally hitting reality with their overpriced talent, it will be sell, sell, sell in Disneyland.

Niedermayer as a rental player will add a potent offence on the blueline that will include a one-two punch with Sheldon Souray. That could be one hell of a powerplay.

Niedermayer’s one-two punch with Oiler nemesis Chris Pronger has turned a little stale as of late. Niedermayer has also struggled offensively in his last seven games all because the team is a mess.

There is no word or info out there that says Niedermayer has a trade clause in his contract, however.

ASSETS TO GIVE UP: The Ducks can have Dustin Penner back and a conditional draft pick or two. If not, they can take Eric Cole and a few draft picks.

NUMBER ONE: Ryan Smyth from the Colorado Avalanche

No, I’m not kidding.

The Colorado Avalanche is another team looking to unload because of the global recession. The problem is GM Francois Giguere has his hands tied because of the clause in Smyth’s contract.

Smyth will choose where he will get traded to and with a different ownership situation in Edmonton now with Daryl Katz as the owner, the City of Champions is suddenly more attractive than when he first left.

Fans saw Smyth when he was traded from Edmonton, especially that infamous teary news conference in the Edmonton International Airport.

It was tough pill to swallow, but with the Oilers on the verge of making the playoffs this season, Smyth might be looking for redemption after helping the Oil in that 2006 playoff run.

And if Tambellini does manage to make a deal, you can guarantee it will have Katz written all over it

The top line will be that much better, especially with Smyth’s skills in front of the net combined with Souray’s slap shot.

ASSETS TO GIVE UP: The Avs can’t take much salary, but they can take Eric Cole or prospect players like Rob Schrempf and/or Robert Nilsson, Marc Pouliot and/or Liam Reddox, along with a first round draft pick.

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