Tuesday, April 02, 2013

What The Bouwmeester Deal Means

So far no news from the Oilers which is good I think. Leaf fans are in the same boat, watching them fret about what may happen is like looking into an enormous mirror, smudged with angst, with cracks running here and there, the whole thing ready to shatter from the collective outrage when management either trades someone good, acquires someone useless or worst of all trades someone good for someone useless.

 If I had a nickel for every time I saw, heard or was told that GMs or sports reporters know better than someone because, you know, authority, I would be a wealthy man and at the deadline I would basically be able to earn enough to buy a home somewhere, maybe Spain, which would be nice. The deadline brings out the crazy in people. Pierre Maguire calls Ales Hemsky a centre and a grunt like Douglas Murray suddenly has value and hey whoa not only should a team with good goaltending acquire someone like Kipper but they should also EXTEND HIM. And meanwhile Mark Spector, he who has no use for Euros or any skill, who would replace Paajarvi with Ben Eager, wonders why San Jose is dumping their 'good players'. Haha.

It was interesting watching Sportsnet's table of failed GMs last night, mostly because they confirmed what I and many of you certainly believe. Some of what happens at the deadline (and at other times) is the result of an owner stepping in and saying 'DO THIS!' often with horrible results. Some of what happens is all smoke and mirrors, as Doug MacLean explained. Teams don't really want to do anything but they have to appear to be trying to do something to appease the fans. Oiler fans will recognize this gambit from draft day every year. (Oilers really worked at moving up to get so and so but just couldn't do it). Of course with the Oilers when they like a guy in junior they just wait a decade and then trade a good player for that guy and use that as part of the reasoning. Because they're dummies.

 Thankfully the Oilers are a point out of the playoffs right now so there's no way anybody of value heads out the door. Could you imagine Tambellini trying to sell moving Ales Hemsky for magic beans to the fans? Could you imagine him trying to sell that to the team? Not going to happen. I expect minor moves, if any.

 And here is the other thing we have learned from these past two days as the cream of the crop of guys on the market get picked up. Despite deadline prices usually being high guys are being picked up for nothing more than picks and middling prospects and this isn't just the UFAs but a guy like Bouwmeester who the Blues have under contract for another year. Bouwmeester is no Pronger in his prime but a guy who logs all of those minutes is pretty valuable and he cost the Blues no more than Penner did a couple of years back. Unreal.

 And this speaks to a point that I have been making for a while. Come the summer when the Oilers need to make some moves to finally balance out this team they can add what they need and not give up a Paajarvi or a Hemsky or a Gagner. They can pick up that top four Dman (or ideally two) and that top nine winger without paying a mediocre free agent the world or gutting their still shallow depth chart or dealing a Klefbom or Marancin. Of course if their target is a #1 Dman of the Subban or Pietrangelo family then they'll have to deal off serious assets but if we're looking at the Streits and Michaleks and Visnovskys of the world, you know the guys, solid top four guys, then this can be done and it can be done on the cheap.

That's what last night tells us. Hopefully it tells Oilers' management the same thing.

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