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

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Sunday, 16 October 2011

10/16/11 Odds & Ends: Ottawa Trade Rumor, Game 3, Ballard

Normally there is no reason to believe anything that Eklund says over at Hockeybuzz, but if there's any truth to this rumor, it could be interesting indeed. Ottawa is deep in high end defensive prospects, and the Oilers have forward depth, so there may be a deal here.

Pictured above is Jared Cowen, who was selected 9th overall in 2009. He almost certainly would have gone higher in that draft if he had not been injured part way through his draft year. The 6'5" and 235 pound Cowen had 18-30-48 in 58 games last year with the Spokane Chiefs, and was a fantastic plus-44.

If the term "major swap" is accurate, only a player like Cowen would qualify. It seems unlikely that the Oilers would be willing to make a move for Sergei Gonchar, Filip Kuba or Chris Phillips, so that leaves one of the Senators' three rising defensive stars. Erik Karlsson must be considered untouchable, and Ottawa traded for Rundblad, which means they must have faith in him.

Keep in mind that there is no reason to believe that Cowen is available, but the Senators are one of the few teams with enough young defensive depth to make a trade possible. If something did happen the price would be high, which would qualify this as a major deal.

- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins settled the issue of whether or not he'll be staying in the NHL on Saturday. The fact that he's 7 for 38 in faceoffs matters less and less the more that he scores. After having no shots in game 2, RNH had six in game 3. He's got a shooting percentage of 44.4%, so expect his scoring to come back down to Earth in the coming weeks. The good news is that he's got the tools to set up his linemates and put up points even when he isn't scoring, so his production doesn't necessarily have to slow if the goals dry up.

Again the Oilers fell flat in the third period. After outshooting the Canucks 12-8 and 14-9 in the first 40 minutes, the Oilers managed just 4 shots in the third. They still outshot Vancouver 30-26 and didn't get blown out by the Stanley Cup Finalist, which is enough to keep fans happy for now.

RNH has been stealing all the headlines, but there's nothing wrong with Hall and Eberle's point production so far. Both have 3 assists in the first 3 games.

- Ryan Keller has 2-4-6 in 4 games with the Barons down in Oklahoma City, and if he keeps it up he may earn himself a callup ahead of Teemu Hartikainen when injuries strike. Hartikainen has 1-1-2 in the first four contests on the farm.

- The Canucks would like to move Keith Ballard, but they may find that difficult considering his monster contract. Ballard might be able to help the Oilers blueline, but 4 more years at $4.2 million per is too much to commit to.

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