Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Why Joni Pitkanen May Be Traded

Kevin Lowe wasted little time prioritizing and getting a signature from the likes of Tom Gilbert, Robert Nilsson, and Denis Grebeshkov.

On the flip side of the coin are: Joni Pitkanen. Jarrett Stoll. Marc-Antoine Pouliot. Zach Stortini. JF Jacques. 5 assets of the Edmonton Oilers that are vulnerable to an RFA offersheet. The latter three will have minimal interest around the league. With Jarrett Stoll, the compensation may be sufficient. However, Joni Pitkanen’s situation is coming eerily disturbing every counting day he is left unsigned.

Joni Pitkanen has been whispered to be on the market the moment he was traded to the Oilers last July. If there are few sources, you are inclined to dismiss these rumours without second thought. However, when the sea is bursting, you are left with little discretion but to gaze. From NY, to LA, to Carolina, there appears strong interest in obtaining the young Finnish defenseman. Given that Pitkanen wasn’t prioritized at the top of the global urban food chain, and left vulnerable to the RFA offersheet (Team elected arbitration was not applicable), you really wonder how devoted Kevin Lowe is retaining his services.

According to, the compensation for an RFA Offersheet will be:

Amount Compensation Due
$863,156 or less None
$863,156 - $1,307,811 3rd round pick
$1,307,811 - $2,615,623 2nd round pick
$2,615,623 - $3,923,434 1st and 3rd round pick
$3,923,434 - $5,231,246 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round pick
$5,231,246 - $6,539,061 Two 1st's, one 2nd, one 3rd round pick
$6,539,061 or more Four 1st round picks

The upper end of the bolded category is what I fear. Too much to the extent that it is no longer a value contract in the short term; and too low to the extent that the compensation is insufficient for a young man who was the Oilers best defenceman last season and has Norris-Trophy Potential.

Perhaps Kevin Lowe realizes this. Perhaps he realizes the possibility that negotiating with Joni will not be an effortless task. Perhaps he realizes that he will be put in a very tough position if the offersheet is received at the end of July; too late to dip in the free agent market and find a sufficient value contract, and insufficient compensation levels that will most certainly leave the 2008 Oilers defence corps in an unsightly position. Perhaps Kevin Lowe realizes all of the above.

Which is why, and not necessarily saying I be of the same opinion, believe there is a good possibility that Joni Pitkanen will be traded within the next 15 days.


Jonathan said...

Fun question: if you had to choose, would you rather have Pitkanen or Penner?

PDO said...

Pitkanen 100/100 times.

spOILer said...

If Pitkanen gets an offer sheet for big money, it will likely also include a lot of years.

Getting Joni to sign a long term contract has been a big part of the problem.

I think Lowe hopes that happens and matches if it's $5.2M or less, because the contract will have term and Joni will be locked up based on poorer numbers.

I can't see a three year or less deal coming Joni's way unless it's for less money (who's going to risk 3 picks on a 2 year rental?), in which case we'll be in Weber territory and Lowe matches easily.