by Lisa McRitchie on 06/07/13 at 09:00 AM ET
Simmer down Oil Country, simmer down. The draft is fast approaching, the arena deal has come together and the Oilers have a new GM; things look good. Even better, the new GM is the cerebral and vocal Craig MacTavish who wants to be a man of action and take this team to where it was when he played. But just because he says that moving Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff would be best for all parties involved, that certainly doesn’t mean it will happen.
On the Mark Spector show on the Team 1260, MacT had a great opportunity to make up for the slip of the tongue seen at his “welcome back to the front office” press conference. You remember, the one where Kevin Lowe said that there were two classes of fans, the ones that had season tickets that mattered, and then everyone else. No he didn’t say it quite so harshly, but the sentiment that resonated with the fans was exactly that.
Speaking highly of the fans, saying all fans were stakeholders, MacT further encouraged all by speaking of draft strategy and also his intentions going forward. One of those intentions, he made public, is his thought that Oilers’ captain Shawn Horcoff and winger Ales Hemsky might be better served moved to another team.
That is well and good. Truly it is, and the same would be said if MacT mentioned Sam Gagner in the same sentence. But where the problem comes in is finding a trading partner for those players. For you see, in the next breath, MacT agreed that there were so many teams that will need to trade players to reach the cap ceiling next year. MacT and Spector agreed that the Oilers were in the wonderful position of having enough draft picks and prospects to trade with other teams for bona fide players. So why does anyone think that Horcoff is now likely to be traded, or essentially gone already?
Horcoff comes with that big contract, two more season of a $5.5M cap hit, and is exactly the first type of player that teams will be looking to move off of their roster if they have cap issues. That is of course not saying that Horcoff is a bad player, or that he doesn’t have value, but teams will struggle with the idea of paying his salary when they are looking to keep as many players are possible. You know, just like what the Oilers are looking at.
Yes, MacT said some exciting things. Yes MacT wants to win the cup. Yes MacT wants the fans to feel important and valued, but MacT can’t just make another team take the players he doesn’t see fitting on his roster, not without taking something in return. Making a very public announcement that he is looking to move these players also doesn’t help their trade value. I know we all remember Sheldon Souray, Chris Pronger and even look at Roberto Luongo, but a trade can still happen. Maybe.
Simmer down Oil Country. These are exciting times, the Stockton Thunder and Oklahoma City Barons were nearly champions in their respective leagues, the prospects are showing promise and developing and of course the young NHLers on the team are showing more promise every season, but let’s not assume that players are gone as of today, not if they need to be traded away. Okay?
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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.
Oil Patch focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, The Oklahoma City Barons and Team Canada Hockey with game coverage, news updates, speculation and interviews.
Although the Oilers have had a difficult past decade… or three, here at Oil Patch, the future looks bright.
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