Trimming the Fat

By , August 17, 2009 10:50 pm
Believe it or not, there are no Penner jokes in this post

Believe it or not, there are no Penner jokes in this post

So today I thought about how this team can free up some needed cash. Let’s face it, we have some needs on this team that this could help with (hello face-off/PKer, and perhaps a defensive D-man).

First off, let’s start with Robert Nilsson. I’ll skip the big reason why, as it’s been mentioned enough, but he brings the least to the table of our one-dimensional, skilled forwards (arguably, Gagner and Hemsky).

The other idea I have came from nosing around to see which teams are still below the floor for the cap. One – the Nashville Predators. Looking at their roster, I saw one other interesting thing – their defence is younger than ours. The average age is a mere 24-years old. The oldest d-man on the team (not including UFA Greg De Vries) is Dan Hamhuis at 26. Sounds like they could use a bit of cap hit and a d-man with some experience. Getting the hint yet? Steve Staios, perhaps? Granted, the Predators may just go the safe route and re-sign the player they know, De Vries. But he hasn’t shown to play the big minutes that Staios has. That would be 2.7M freed up if they are willing to take his contract on.

So, Nilsson’s 2M + Staios’ 2.7M leaves us 4.7M to sign Betts or Malhotra (finally), for starters. The rest left over gives some other options for us – trade for a sniper, or shutdown d-man, or save the cash for next year (since Grebeshkov, Gagner and Cogliano will need to be re-signed).

Just to close this off though, I will say that Staios is one of my favorite Oilers players (although granted every player is a favorite to a degree). He’s an Oiler in every sense, so seeing him go would be like seeing Smyth go, but on a lesser scale. I also think his grit would need to be replaced, and before we suggest Strudwick or Peckham (both of whom could easily replace that), we’re also losing one of only 2 of our right-handed d-men. So it would be nice to replace him with another right-hander somehow. But that’s a whole other matter.

4 Responses to “Trimming the Fat”

  1. Hockey Noob says:

    Hey Racki,

    Isn’t that Penner on the boat in the photo? lol j/k

    Yeah, Fake Craig McTavish–over on Lowetide, pretty much summed our cap situation best with the death by a 1000 paper cuts analogy. Nilsson clearly an optimal choice for reasons that many have already identified. Yeah, he doesn’t provide much offense for a 1 dimensional player. As well, his 5v5/60 is the worst among forward skaters on the team last season.

    I agree with you about Staios in terms of having respect for a veteran Oiler player. On the other hand his cap hit of $2.7 million is a ton of money for a 3rd pairing dman. Moving Staios and Nilsson would be a pretty good starting point to get some cap space.

    Lowetide seems to have a feeling that a trade might occur prior to the start of this up coming season. It would be great if he’s right.

  2. Horpensky says:

    So suppose we do move Staios and Nilsson, do we just give them away for a bag of pucks? What would we get in return.. future considerations? Jordin Tootoo? I guess Staios’ contract is only for another 2 years, which is nothing for Nashville, but seems like an eternity for us. Nashville has been pretty quiet this offseason.

  3. chucker says:

    I can agree with that. Especially Staios. Peckham can replace his grit. The RHD thing is an issue for sure, but he really isn’t used to that strength anyway in my opinion.

    Nilsson could easily be replaced by Schremp if need be for offense. He’s also cheaper. There is basically no skill loss by trading these two from what I can see. I’d rather have Malholtra in the lineup.

    Nilsson is a bit of an enigma though. He has tremendous skill rivalled only by Hemsky IMHO but doesn’t seem to be able to capitalize on it. It could bite us in the butt, however I would still do a deal for picks and prospects/defenssive D-man.

  4. Racki says:

    Noob: Ya, these smallish contracts may not seem like much, but they add up. Nilsson, Staios, Moreau and Pisani all have deceiving contracts. They may not seem like much, but a couple mill here and there adds up quick. I’m not saying let’s get rid of all of them (although I think Chucker would be on board with that!), however moving even a couple of them would do us wonders as I’m sure there are much cheaper alternatives out there.

    Horpensky: I’ve been suggesting sending Nilsson down to the minors (possibly claimed on waivers), but you know in 2 or 3 years if he suddenly finds his A-game, the fans are going to erupt. But honestly, while it is bad asset management, his value is likely at a low. We might be able to salvage a pick for him via trade. And I don’t really see a package of Nilsson and Staios being that appealing, but you never know. But I would say those would be separate transactions. As for Staios to Nashville, if he could weasel out Jordon Tootoo, I’d be surprised. Although maybe we could sweeten the deal a bit. However having him on our 4th line would be great. I know there’s a lot of people out there who can’t get over the hate for the guy, however.

    Chucker: yah there are a couple of guys here that can replace Nilsson if we lose him. And in 2 or 3 years we’ll have even more once some of our prospects are ready to step into the league.

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