No doubt about it, the Edmonton Oilers blue-line has been thin for quite some time now, many fans agree that this is an issue that management must address and soon. How long has it been, two, three, four, five seasons? In 2006 the Oilers iced a defensive group oozing with experience and battle scars. This defensive group was anchored with Jason Smith, Chris Pronger, Steve Staios and young Marc-Andre Bergeron with a few other D-men rounding out the back end. A respectful defensive group, I’d say.
The season following the cup run of ’06 the Oilers defence changed, along with the rest of the team, and as fans of the Edmonton Oilers we all know the bumpy ride it’s been. Since the lockout we’ve witnessed a few “block-buster” type deals go down and I wish to examine some of the notable deals involving the “big name” defensemen.
To the Edmonton Oilers:
Chris Pronger (D)
Edmonton receives an elite calibre defenseman in Chris Pronger, a number one defensemen with grit, nastiness, offensive capabilities and the ability to log a ton of minutes. What is going the other way?
To the St. Louis Blues:
Eric Brewer (D)
Jeff Woywitka (D)
Doug Lynch (D)
Larry Pleau may have sugar coated Brewer a little bit but he was a promising young d-man that had some upside, with a ceiling of becoming a top pairing guy. (Please correct me if I’m wrong).
“Eric Brewer (26) has been a premier defenseman in the National Hockey League for the past several seasons and we are very excited about the talents he brings to the Blues,” said Pleau. “We are also adding two skilled younger defensemen who are clearly up-and-coming players at this level. We’re looking forward to having all three of these players in our lineup together one day in the future.” – Larry Pleau St. Louis Blues Senior Vice President & General Manager
Jeff Woywitka and Doug Lynch
These were two bubbling defensive prospects in the system that showed promise at the time of the trade.
At the time Blues seemed press financially, so sending salary heavy Chris Pronger to Edmonton for young, promising Eric Brewer and futures, a deal was made.
To the Toronto Maple Leafs:
Dion Phaneuf (D) ($6.5 Mil Cap hit until 2013/14)
Dredrik Sjostrom (LW/RW) ($750k Cap hit until 2010/11
Keith Aulie (D) (Prospect)
I think Burke sums up the trade pretty good. Phaneuf was obviously the big name in this trade but also getting prospect Keith Aulie was pretty important too.
“It takes some offence out of our lineup and that’s the next question … who replaces that offence we lost today, but it puts a major weapon on the blueline and makes us much more difficult to play.” – Brian Burke
To the Calgary Flames:
Matt Stajan (C) (UFA)
Niklas Hagman (LW/RW) ($3 Mil Cap hit until 2011/12)
Jamal Mayers (F) (UFA)
Ian White (D) (RFA)
To get a good grasp on what was coming to Calgary I think reading Kent Wilson’s post at MatchsticksandGasoline gives us good insight from the Flames perspective.
“Stajan seems to get similar press to Daymond Langkow: good secondary center, but not a legit first line guy. The 27 year old is on pace for a career season this year (61 points) and he’s only crested 50 points once. That said, he’s right in the meaty curve of his development arc, has managed more than 2 points per 60 minutes at ES this year (despite a rancid on-ice SH% and PDO) and leads the Maple Leafs in terms of PP efficiency with 4.37 PPP/60. Those are all favorable signs for a club desperate for more scoring.”
“Toronto’s leading goal scorer is fast and relatively capable at both ends of the ice. Hagman is the second most efficient producer of points at ES for TOR this year behind Alexei Ponikarovsky (who I would have liked, but whatchagonnado?). Hagman is 30 and signed long-term for $3M/ season. I laughed at the Leafs when they signed Hagman after his 27 goal outburst in Dallas, but he’s been a legit top 6 forward during his time in Toronto.
Like Stajan, his level of competition was middling.”
“This player might actually be the jewel of the deal from a Calgary perspective. White is to the Maple Leafs what Giordano is to the Flames. A big time scorer in junior, the only defender facing tougher minutes than White this season was Francios Beauchemin.“
“No need to include his stats. Mayers is a physical 4th line option. He’s probably no better than Nystrom, Sjostrom, Prust, etc. and was probably a salary throw-in. He drops the gloves on occassion and you don’t want him caught on the ice against good players.”
To me, this deal seemed like a “shake-up” for the Flames with the opportunity of adding some potential offense but more importantly being more flexible with the cap. Although Burke paid with offense and roster d-man, he never sent a “big name”, top line/number one pairing guy the other way to get Phaneuf a warrior and potential stud d-man patrolling the blue for years to come (personally I’m not a fan of the ogre).
To the Colorado Avalanche:
Erik Johnson (D)
Jay McClement (F)
Conditional 1st Round Pick 2011 or 2012
To the St. Louis Blues:
Chris Stewart (F)
Kevin Shattenkirk (D)
Conditional 2nd Round Pick 2011 or 2012-01-19
“We’re very excited to acquire a young emerging power forward in Chris Stewart and a top young NHL defenceman in Kevin Shattenkirk.
These are two solid young players who will help us now as we continue to grow and improve our team.” – Doug Armstrong St. Louis Blues GM
This deal in my eyes was a good ol’ hockey trade. Focusing more on the players in transaction rather than the cap. Erik Johnson traded to the Avalanche, a number one pick who may have not been reaching expectations of his draft pedigree in St. Louis. In my opinion he was a solid addition to the Avalanche blue line, even if it will take him some more time to develop I think the Avalanche added a key piece to their blue-line and future. I also believe that the Avalanche paid quite a hefty price in this trade, sending young offensive d-man Shattenkirk (22) (7G 19A 46GP at the time) and young powerforward Stewart (23) (13G 17A 36GP) but time will tell.
With Shea Weber going through arbitration this summer signing the one year deal worth $7.5 Million, rumours and arm chair proposals have been running rampant ever since. Will Shea Weber actually sign in Nashville? With the long term deal Pekka Rinne signed earlier this season, management has shown that they have money and are willing to spend it on their players but are their players willing to stay? Shea Weber may be an RFA but as the deadline and off-season approach Ryan Suter contract negotiations still remain a mystery.
Seeing a few of the trades above what do you think it would take to acquire Ryan Suter or even Shea Weber? As is right now what do you think it would take before the deadline? How about after the deadline and in the off-season, knowing that one of or either of the guys are not willing to sign in Nashville? There are a lot of scenarios to to think of but looking at the trades above the deal seems possible without using our big three in RNH, Hall or Eberle. Our 2012 1st Round Pick would be a pretty substantial addition to any trade proposal but do you think we can get a trade done for a defenseman without it? I think the possibility is there.
Our blue line is young, thin and suffering growing pains. Drafting a defenseman is a possibility but with that usually comes a lot of time in development. We could potentially speed up the process of the rebuild solidifying our blue-line and acquiring that number one d-man. So what’s it going to take?