a·cu·men [ak-yuh-muhn] noun: keen insight; shrewdness

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Monday, 28 February 2011

02/28/11 1.1 Deadline Day Recap & Analysis

So, the deadline has come and gone and now Oiler fans have a whole lot of nothing to look forward to until the draft lottery day when the top five draft order is decided. Dustin Penner is gone, Colten Teubert and picks are coming in. What does it all mean?

First thing's first: it means that one of Magnus Paajarvi or Taylor Hall will slot in as the left winger on the top line for the forseeable future. The whole reason Penner was traded was because he was considered expendable with those two young players on the depth chart who project to be as good or better. My guess (and preference) for who fills the slot will be Taylor Hall. I liked the chemistry he showed with Hemsky, and I think it's inevitable that Hall will be there; so why not now?

The Oilers were clearly looking outside the organization for a marquee defenseman, as they were mentioned in connection to Atlanta's Zach Bogosian and Chicago's Brent Seabrook. Obviously neither player was available, and that type of player hardly ever is. Hence, the Oilers went out and got another first round pick.

Colten Teubert is a decent defensive prospect, but not a marquee one by any means. He's played with Jordan Eberle in Regina, and at the World Juniors, but he looks like he'd be a depth defender on a championship team. If you'd told me the year after he was drafted that the Oilers would acquire him I would have jumped for joy, but his development has been underwhelming since then. Teubert is not the centerpiece of this deal.

The first round pick is the centerpiece. It is extremely difficult to trade into the first round on draft day because of the nature of the market. On deadline day players are at a premium, and on draft day picks are at a premium, so the way to get another pick is at the deadline. To have another pick inside the first round is a good thing for the Oilers and head scout Stu Macgregor. Considering how well the Oilers did in the second round of last year's draft, a second first round pick is that much more valuable.

Also, the Oilers are now free to parlay that pick into another higher pick if they package it with a player like Andrew Cogliano and ship it to a team in need of a little offensive kick. If, by some divine miracle, the Oilers were able to trade up into the top ten of this year's draft, they could conceivably take both an impact center and a very good defenseman. It's clear that Steve Tambellini realized that he would be unable to add via trade the type of defenseman that this team needs, and I really believe that he's leaning toward drafting a center with (what could be) the first overall pick. Ergo, the second first round pick is all the more important. I have a feeling that the Oilers weren't going to get full value right now for a player like Cogliano, and they are going to wait out the season and hope his numbers improve so that his value increases and they can trade him with LA's pick to move up in the draft. That way, they can have their star center and a defenseman as well. If that happens, Teubert becomes a nice pickup as a depth guy, as he does bring a lot of grit that the Oilers lack.

LA was actually my second team this year since there are so many former Oilers on it, and I'd like to see Ryan Smyth win a cup, but now I have to cheer against them. Hard. If the Kings miss the playoffs, the pick the Oilers receive will be no lower than 14th overall. It would be a little easier to trade into the top ten from there, and even if they don't that's a decent pick. The chances of that happening are pretty slim, but at least Tambellini got some protection in that if the Kings win the cup (and their pick becomes #30), the third rounder the Kings gave up in 2012 becomes a second rounder. What the Oilers don't want to see happen is LA going to the final and losing. The 29th overall pick and a third rounder is the worst case scenario in a trade for your top goal scorer.
Only time will tell who wins this one. In the grand scheme of things, the Oilers end up trading first, second and third round picks (to acquire Penner) for two firsts and a third, which can be looked at as a win. If the stars somehow align and LA misses or is knocked out of the playoffs early, and if the Oilers properly manage the assets that the Kings gave up, it could end up being a big win for Edmonton. As of right now the LA Kings won this trade, but the Oilers are thinking in the long term, and it's the long term that will ultimately decide who came out on top.

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