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

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Wednesday, 20 July 2011

07/20/11 11.8 Odds & Ends: Bogo Rumor, Cogliano, Arena Battle

Zach Bogosian

Despite the insistence of Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff that Zach Bogosian is staying put, the rumors continue to persist. In all likelihood they will continue until Bogosian is either signed or traded. Whether you believe in Treenasoil or not, even a broken clock is right twice a day. For a few days now, the hottest new supposed insider has been claiming that the Oilers and Jets have been talking about a deal that would see Bogosian come to Edmonton. If you have no idea who Treenasoil (or Tracy Lane) is, follow her here.

A lot of the tweets that she has put up are odd. At first it seemed that Gagner and Petry were on the trade block for Bogo, but the Jets didn't want Petry so the deal fell through. It's hard to imagine the Oilers wanting to part with either of those players right now, so the validity of her supposed source is immediately called into question. Lowetide just put up an excellent article on OilersNation which deals with Sam Gagner and his upward trajectory, which means trading him at this point wouldn't make much sense.

Then an interesting tweet appeared on the 18th, which claimed that the Jets asked for Magnus Paajarvi for Bogosian and the Oilers turned it down. That begs an interesting question. Whether this rumor is true or not, would a deal of MPS for Bogo be worth it?

I like Magnus Paajarvi, but Bogosian is exactly what the Oilers don't have. He is young, just about to enter his prime but he isn't a raw rookie, and he's got top pairing written all over him. Any Oilers prospects that might come close to Bogosian are still many years from being where Bogo is now, and although the defensive prospect depth is improved, there isn't necessarily a future top pairing D-man among them. Paajarvi will be a good NHLer, but his role is easier to fill than a top pairing defenseman is.

For the Jets' part, they went into this off season aware of the fact that they need more scoring punch in order to compete. Mark Scheifele might get there one day, but not next season. The Jets' other acquisitions have been mostly underwhelming and consist of minor leaguers or depth players. If they feel Paajarvi can be an impact player, he's worth looking at. With Byfuglien, Enstrom, Stuart, Hainsey and Oduya under contract, things might be a bit muddled when it comes to finding Bogosian a spot on the defense. He's an excellent cornerstone for Winnipeg's blueline, but he might be a luxury that gets moved for a scorer. There's no real evidence that the Jets think Paajarvi is their man, but if so it's worth the Oilers considering.

Andrew Cogliano's agent looked like a genius on Tuesday when he managed to wrestle $7.17 million out of the Anaheim Ducks over three years. Also coming out of this smelling like roses is Oilers GM Steve Tambellini. Cogliano's contract demands were obviously way out of whack with what the Oilers were willing to offer. The two sides wouldn't have even been close on this one, and an arbitrator was unlikely to see it all the Oilers' way.

Only Smyth, Horcoff, Hemsky and Hall would have had higher cap hits among the Oilers forwards. Paying Cogliano more than Gagner makes no sense at all for Edmonton, and it would only drive up the ask for Oilers players when they come up for contract negotiations. That second round pick in 2013 is looking awfully good right now.

That sucker looks forlorn doesn't it? It's time for a new arena already, but matters have been further complicated by the fact that Katz is shutting Northlands out of the negotiations.

To be fair to the Katz Group, there's no particular reason that they should have to include Northlands, because it's a separate business. However, Katz wants Northlands to sign a non-competition agreement which will ensure that the two venues won't fight over the same events. Needless to say, this would be a crippling blow to Northlands and asking them to please sign everything over is probably not going to go over too well.

Northlands came right out yesterday and said that they are going to fight the new arena for their share of the event pie. Add to that the fact that they want to replace 8000 seats in Rexall Place - the same Rexall Place that would be essentially redundant if Katz gets his way.

This could get ugly. When elephants fight, the ants get trampled and that's exactly what is happening to Edmontonians who deserve not only a new arena, but a revitalized downtown core.

Edmonton may not be big enough for both Katz and Northlands, but some healthy competition between the two might not be bad for the users of the facilities. They may try to outdo each other on pricing and the like in order to gain the upper hand. Or, Northlands might have to charge huge prices just to compete financially. We'll never know until the second arena gets built, but attempting to strong arm Northlands may only impede the progress.

After already conceding on the ticket tax he didn't want to include in the deal, Katz may have to stop getting in his own way and work toward a solution that can see construction crews break ground.

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