Monday, February 28, 2011
You know you have little faith in your club's management when you hope that the trade deadline passes with no movement, not because you think your club should stand pat but because you know that they are likely to screw things up.
And Steve Tambellini, as always, did not disappoint today. With the frenzy of the past few weeks today was quiet, so quiet indeed that it was the Oilers who made the biggest splash, moving Dustin Penner to LA for a first, Colton Teubert and a third round pick that could become a second rounder if the Kings win the Cup.
The Kings are a middling shot to do so. They have a good club, as good as anyone in the West outside of Vancouver and Detroit, and once the playoffs get rolling as we all know anything can happen. The Kings are deep and they are better today than they were yesterday. And they did this without giving up a player on their roster or any of their best prospects.
If that last statement rings a bell it should. Since they shipped Pronger out of town the Oilers have always ended up with plenty of assets when they make their moves. The problem is they seem to have an unerring ability to zero in on the other club's second or third best men.
Now this could be one of two things. The Oilers either ask for the guys they get which shows that they have poor judgement when it comes to talent evaluation or they can't close the deal, blinking when their trade partners say no to their requests.
Chris Pronger brought in Lupul instead of Getzlaf, Perry or Penner. Ryan Smyth brought in Robert Nilsson and Ryan O'Marra. And now Dustin Penner has brought in a guy who is the Kings' fourth or fifth defensive prospect, a guy who had been a healthy scratch in the AHL this season, something which apparently Tambellini was unaware of.
If this is the case then Tambellini and his boss should be fired. Of course they should have been fired for signing Khabibulin, for the Smyth trade, for five years out of the playoffs. Michael Farber remarked today that Tambellini has support from the fans. When the local media almost uniformly fails to criticize this club's management despite what they have done to this franchise than there is no wonder why.
Dustin Penner was an interesting player. Even these past two years when he really began to come into his own he always left many fans wanting for more. He looked disinterested at times and he was not the physical force you hoped for. He was also a guy who scored thirty goals last year, probably was good for close to that this year. He was a guy who kept lousy linemates afloat. He also seemed like a bright guy and he certainly had a good sense of humour which counts for points in my book. And apparently he treated Joey Moss like gold, which speaks to his character as well. He was a good NHL player, one of few on this Edmonton club. And now he is gone, following a long long list of good NHL players who have been sent packing in the last five years, mostly for little or no return.
Pronger was one of the best players in the league and he did bring in picks and Laddy Smid but the only NHL player he brought back was Lupul. Lupul wasn't good enough to bring in Pitkanen so Jason Smith had to go with him. Pitkanen was dumped for Cole who was turned into O'Sullivan who is pretty well done. They did manage to get Vandermeer for O'Sullivan but he will be UFA this summer.
Peca, Samsonov, Spacek, Dvorak all left as UFAs. So did Dwayne Roloson and Petr Sykora and Marty Reasoner. And Jan Hejda. Patrick Thoresen was lost on waivers. Ryan Smyth brought back Robert Nilsson who was bought out and Ryan O'Marra who toils in the AHL four years later. Grebeshkov went for a pick. Glencross for nothing. Brodziak for two later round picks. Pisani left as a UFA, not good enough for the Oilers, good enough to play on the defending Cup champions.
And the guys sent out for a decent return show an organization without direction. Two youngsters, Stoll and Greene, were sent out for a quality veteran who was then moved out for a younger player less than two years later. Decent return in both cases but just a mess that reveals a lack of judgement with management. You don't move two good building blocks for Visnovsky and move Pitkanen for Cole and sign Khabibulin if you think you are rebuilding. You do this if you think you are a contender. And yet shortly after the Oilers realize they are rebuilding?
A couple of weeks ago I opined that the Oilers should sign both Penner and Hemsky and based on his comments today I think they might have gotten an extension from Penner. If they could not sign him then I was okay with a move but they needed to get an NHL ready player back, which means they would have had to move him at the draft.
And this is the biggest disappointment of course. Once again, as they have for over two decades, the Oilers moved out a good player for less than full value. A pick that at best will be in the high teens, unless the Kings absolutely collapse. A prospect who has had injury issues, may have an attitude problem (multiple sources spoke to him sulking over not making the Kings) and who is projected as maybe being a second pairing guy at best.
A team that had four top six wingers now only has three. Paajarvi will move up the depth chart and he will probably be a good one but it means that someone (Jones?) will move up the depth chart into his spot and it means that the club is worse today than it was yesterday and it means that next season they will be angling for the lottery again. If they weren't then they would have kept Penner. A bad season and they might have moved him at the deadline, probably for not much less than they got today. Now its looking like this is the plan. Its the Nordiques all over again with the media on board for the ride.
So it will be six years out then and then it will be Whitney and Gilbert's turn to go and there wil be fans who say good riddance and those fans, the same who are asking why Hemsky wasn't also traded today for picks, will get what they deserve.
An Alberta based version of the New York Islanders.
Posted by Black Dog at 8:00 PM