Tuesday, January 30, 2007
With a month to go before the deadline and the Oilers treading water the question has become buy or sell. With Staios' return this is suddenly a far more competitive team and the guess here is the same as its been for a while - this team is going to hang around. There will be no freefall. In other words Lowe is going to have to make a tough decision. Does he tear it down? Or does he go for it?
Knowing Lowe he will not wave the white flag unless this team falls apart. Its possible but unlikely.
But what has been ignored amongst the questions of who would go if they sell (Smyth, Smith, Sykora, Markannen, Tjarnqvist etc) and who would come in if they buy (Stuart, Dvorak, Brewer, Tkachuk etc) is the third possibility.
That Lowe takes stock of his team and does what he does in 2003 - make some moves that may be unpopular but turn out to be alright. Remember the uproar when he moved Niinimaa and Carter? Well Carter has become Brent Ashton, new team every year, and Janne, well, poor Janne is pretty well done. Seems Lowe made the right move moving him while he could despite the unpopularity of it.
Coming the Oilers' way - two years plus of Dvorak and a year and a half of Cory Cross for Carter and Torres and Isbister for Janne.
Not a home run but I think the Carter deal was a win and if you look at how Janne has fallen to pieces you might say the second deal was as well. Isbister was a disaster, one of those guys like Cleary or Kilger who everyone waited on to blossom but he never even made it to that level. But Raffi is a useful player.
I'm thinking we may see more of the same this spring. I think Lowe has identified who he is keeping and who he is willing to move.
Staying for sure: Horcoff, Hemsky, Stoll, Pisani, Moreau, Thoresen, Stortini, Staios, Smid, Roloson
Probably staying: Smyth, Torres, Reasoner, Hejda, Greene
Gone: Winchester, Markannen
Staying or going?: Sykora, Tjarnqvist, Bergeron, Smith
We're not going to see Bergeron and Smith going for a couple of UFAs, like that ridiculous rumour out of Boston but Smith is a definite possibility to move. The reasons - his contract. Whoever picks him up gets him for two years at a reasonable price. And the Janne factor. When Gator declines it could be fast and ugly. I love Smith but can you get on board with him getting four years at big money next summer? He's got a lot of miles on him. I could see him get moved to a team for either a Stuart (UFA who agrees to a contract before the trade) or a younger Dman ready to step into a bigger role. (less likely - would have to be a legitimate contender with a closing window - San Jose? Anaheim? Buffalo? Ottawa?)
We'll see - I can see Lowe making this type of a move, while selling Sykora for a prospect he likes while moving a prospect for a replacement for Sykora. Move another pick or prospect for a depth Dman. Lateral moves. Try and improve. Selling and buying at the same time.
Posted by Black Dog at 8:24 PM