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Oilers Will Be Sellers, But There are No Guaranteed Sales

Edmonton Oilers’ GM Steve Tambellini addressed the Edmonton media today and talked about all things Oilers and the trade rumour mill. There were a few surprises, but you also have to take what Tambellini said as a suggestion. Tambellini spoke of Hemsky, Hall, Khabibulin and Smyth saying that he is not shopping any of these players, but that certainly doesn’t mean that he isn’t open to suggestions or offers.

From everything Ales Hemsky and Steve Tambellini has said it is clear that Hemsky is looking for a multi-year contract, and that is certainly not something that the Oilers will look to do. Looking at the upcoming UFA pool, it’s not as though the Oilers believe that they will be able to get a player better than Hemsky, but that they won’t feel comfortable signing a player who has had injury issues to a long deal.

Someone will sign Hemsky to what he is looking for July 1st however. If the Oilers can’t sign or deal Hemsky, someone will sign him as a UFA this summer.

“I’m not going to discuss contract here publically. I’ll speak with Ales, I’ll speak with his agent, but I’m not going to do that here.” Tambellini said of the dealings with Hemsky. So, Tambellini did not say much, nothing new at least.

“I’m not willing to sell something that hurts our future and I hope that Sam [Gagner] can be a part of that.” Tambellini said, not writing off the idea of a trade, but not exactly saying that Gagner is here to stay either.

The Oilers are clearly sellers, but other teams are going to want the productive pieces, not the ones that just aren’t working out for the Oilers. If the right offer comes along, they will need to consider trading Sam Gagner. It’s not a personal decision, but with his trade value as high as it is, if the team can include Gagner for one of their missing pieces they need to consider it.

Tambellini did take a different approach discussing netminder Nikolai Khabibulin saying “Nik is a proven goaltender that’s won a Stanley Cup and is a good teammate. I don’t have any plans to move Nik at this point but I’m sure that I’ll get a lot of different calls for a lot of different players.”

When it comes to Khabibulin, like most of the Edmonton media have said, his “extra” year on his contract may be a deterrent. But also, what will the Oilers do next year? Dubnyk has had ups and downs this season and in order to make the playoffs next year, the team will need goaltending. Although the Oilers signed Yann Danis during the off-season, that was insurance in case Khabibulin had back issues.

Danis has been playing better than well in the AHL, but Danis is not Tim Thomas and has not stuck in the NHL yet. As well as Danis has been playing there are no guarantees that Danis would play any better or consistent in the NHL and with the expectations of the team next year, they can’t be taking too many risks that may result in further steps back in this rebuild. Fans have been patient to this point, but the team has to deliver, and soon.

“I have no plans to move Ryan Smyth” spoke Tambellini decidedly. “Ryan has made it quite clear that he wants to be here. He enjoys playing for the Oilers and regardless I don’t have any plans to move Ryan.” And Smyth certainly doesn’t want to go anywhere else. Smyth caused a stir during the off-season requesting a trade from Los Angeles, and Smyth is one of many players that is concerned about his integrity. And so in order for Smyth to be traded, even as a rental player, he would need to waive his no trade clause. Doing that would take away credibility from his request to move for family reasons and make it appear as though he just didn’t want to be in LA and didn’t want to say as much.

Smyth’s career is certainly winding down, and not even Smyth knows what his future with hockey will look like so it is smart of him to keep respectable and clear. Smyth would like to have his name on the Stanley Cup, there is no doubting that, but the reality is that there are many talented and hard working players that never reach that goal.

Tambellini will certainly field calls about any of the above players but also players such as Ryan Jones and even Jordan Eberle. After all, you don’t know if you don’t ask right? There are definitely players that Tambellini will never move, no matter the price, but there are players that can and will be moved if the price is right. What is most interesting is that the Oilers will be looking in return for a top pairing defenceman, just like all of the buyers out there. And so, even though the Oilers are sellers, whether or not they actually make a deal is yet to be determined.

Filed in: Edmonton Oilers, | Oil Patch | Permalink


OlderThanChelios's avatar

Ryan has made it quite clear that he wants to be here. He enjoys playing for the Oilers and regardless I don’t have any plans to move Ryan.

That’s a shame because Smyth would have been the perfect replacement for Homer in Detroit next year. But knowing that he’s absolutely certain to resign with the losers in Edmonton next summer (what an idiot), he’s worth no more than a third-round pick as a rental player (and maybe not even that much).

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 02/15/12 at 02:22 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

If the Oil has to start leaking their former first rounders to the trade market, they will finally be the NHL’s version of the Cleveland Indians - a world class developmental team.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 02/15/12 at 12:14 PM ET

Lisa Brown's avatar

You mean Sam Gagner? They have already been trading some former first round picks like Andrew Cogliano and I’m becoming more and more convinced that defenceman Alex Plante doesn’t fit into their long term plans.

I would say the only completely untouchable players right now are Hall, Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins, despite what Tambo says. I think any GM mentioning those names will be hung up on, any other player, Tambellini will at least listen.

Posted by Lisa Brown on 02/15/12 at 12:30 PM ET

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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.

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