Kevin Lowe and, lately, Steve Tambellini were both always able to swing a deal or two on Trade Deadline Day simply because they both played it safe by giving themselves plenty of wiggle room in salary cap space.
With Mike Comrie now inked, and some other large contracts, the Oilers are now automatic sellers when it comes to this season’s trade deadline.
Picture this: The Oilers are fighting with Nashville, Vancouver, and maybe, say Calgary for a playoff spot and Team X is looking for it’s long term interests as it struggles all season.
Team X has a star forward who can score goals and that player wants out of town to play for a playoff bound team, but he’s a cap hit at $5 million.
While Comrie does come cheap at a cap hit of $1.125 million, the Oilers are now, officially, $800,000 over the $56.8 million salary cap.
Tambellini can’t pull off a deal with Team X even if he axed a player in his roster — something that he must do before Oct. 1.
Scuttlebutt says Robert Nilsson is the player Tambellini is looking to ship out of town, but Nilsson is only a $2 million cap hit. It’s still not enough to make an impact trade during the season.
And forget about Dustin Penner, Penner haters. You can’t ship out a big-sized player from a team that lacks size.
Yes, I’m happy for Comrie. He did a lot of growing up since he parted ways with the City of Champions. It’s nice to see he’s home and the fans will forgive him.
They won’t forgive Tambellini and Lowe, however, because Comrie just adds to a giant mess for the Oilers coaching staff.
Tambellini said it himself after firing Craig MacTavish. He told a packed room of reporters that this team lacks size and grit — a reason why this Comrie deal doesn’t make sense.
Now the Oilers have a bunch of small, 30 to 50-point players (Ales Hemsky, Comrie, Patrick O’Sullivan) and other players who are known for their speed (Gilbert Brule, Rob Schremp, etc.).
To make four solid lines out of what the roster is now would be like digging through a rain forest for Patt Quinn. You won’t have one or two solid checking lines with this team — the Oilers are too small.
With Comrie’s addition, here’s what Pat Quinn might do to:
LINE 1 : Comrie, Horcoff, Hemsky
LINE 2 : O’Sullivan, Gagner, Penner
LINE 3: Moreau, Cogliano, Pisani
LINE 4: Nilsson, Brule, Pouliot
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN: Schremp, Jacques, Stortini, Eberle, MacIntyre, and many, many more prospect forwards.
Comrie is a good news story for the Oilers after its struggles with the Dany Heatley saga, but fans and hockey pundits are wondering how Comrie will fit in the roster.
Makes you wonder why Tambo inked Comrie in the first place?