Daily Rumour Analysis: Oilers Need a Goalie?; Tortorella Wants Changes; Mitchell Done in Vancouver?
We have had the luxury of two days in a row of actual trade talk, and a lot of different sources to discuss. In the name of brevity, I will keep the analyzing down to three topics.
First, David Staples (Linked in David’s On the Beat column) suggests that it may be time for the Oilers to trade for an experienced goalie. With Khabibulin apparently done for a while longer (receiving cortisone shots), the Oilers are riding two rookies in goal. Jeff Deslauriers has played well, but has started 12 straight games, suggesting that backup Devan Dubnyk might not have the confidence of the coaching staff.
Should they decide to deal, it is an opportune time. Several goalies are thought to be available (with more guys in the minors), the Oilers could likely use some experience between the pipes. They have a number of defenders to possibly deal, and could dangle a forward like Andrew Cogliano (though he would probably be part of a bigger deal) in order to get some help in net or perhaps even up front.
To me, the silence surrounding Khabibulin suggests that his injury is severe and the Oilers should not expect him back. Having Dubnyk sit on the bench does the developing player no good, and his AHL team in Springfield could likely use the help. Both Deslauriers and Dubnyk are RFA’s next season, so the Oilers may be trying to decide who they are going to keep. If that is indeed the case, I would expect Dubnyk to see a little action before any deal is made.
Richard’s Morning Papers column features a couple of stories that suggest the time has come for the Rangers to make a move to shake up the moribund squad. While I agree with the sentiment, actual changes may be hard to come by. The Rangers are right up against the cap (less than a million dollars in room) and I can’t see there being a huge market for their spare parts. They could deal a player like Chris Higgins, who is a UFA, but he has underperformed and wouldn’t fetch a big return.
They have some good young defenders and could always deal draft picks or prospects, but I think Glen Sather has learned his lesson about mortgaging the future for limited gain. That said, the Ranger faithful don’t strike me as a patient bunch, so he may be forced into dealing one of their promising prospects for some immediate help.
Finally, a Vancouver Sun story linked on Spector’s site suggests defenceman Willie Mitchell might be the odd man out in Vancouver. Mitchell is a UFA at season’s end and could likely command a decent price at the deadline, or sooner. His departure would provide Vancouver with some valuable cap space going forward, but he plays should a steady and reliable game that they would surely notice his absence on the point.
With Luongo signed for a few more years, Vancouver is one of those window teams that I discussed earlier in the week. With him in net, the Canucks have a chance to win almost every night, and he is capable of stealing a series on his own. While there might be some long term gain to sending Mitchell out, the Canucks likely realize that having him in the lineup only increases their chances of winning the Cup. Don’t hold your breath waiting for him to be dealt.
As a postscript, there is a CNNSE article by John Haggerty that also concludes, just like yesterday’s DRA, that Alex Tanguay might be a target for the Boston Bruins. Check out the article, link is at Spector’s.