Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Burning down the house
That's not the infamous 2001 Canada Day "riot" up there, but the 2006 Stanley Cup "riots." (note to cops, media and hooligans: it's not a riot until a cop car gets flipped and set on fire. A busted window at Tops convenience store and a few purloined copies of "Juggs" do not a riot make). Speaking of 2006, one of the guys on that year's Cup winning Hurricanes squad is an Oiler today. That, friends, is called a segue.
Former Eisbaren Berlin star Erik "Vertebrae" Cole comes over from tobacco country for enigmatic and oft-injured young Finn Joni Pitkanen. Now, I always believed that Pitkanen was the most skilled player on the Oilers roster next to Hemsky and that his character issues were overblown. Guess not.The question marks were enough for the Oilers to send out a kid who's already a real difference maker for a guy in the last year of his deal who scores at rates that make Shawn Horcoff not at all jealous.
So far, Kevin Lowe's off-season looks like this:
Pikanen for Cole
Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene to L.A. for D Lubomir Visnovsky.
Raffi Torres to the Columbus Blue Jackets for 21-year-old centre Gilbert Brule.
In terms of assets coming in, the Oilers get a veteran offensive defenceman coming off a bad year, a pint-size former first round pick and a big, physical winger that can play some tough minutes. Brule is a bust and in losing Torres, the Oil give up a physical prescence (though a maddeningly inconsistent one) and a decent ES player, which is weird given how few of those they have. He was kind of a douchebag, I guess, and that makes this deal okay for some.
All in all, I'm having a hard time seeing any of these as big upgrades. I've always been a fan of Lobo, but he effectively takes Pitkanen's spot. Cole more than effectively replaces Torres, but I'd be a lot happier if he came with an extension or additional assets as insurance for if/when he walks at the end of what will almost certainly be another year on the fringes. He will also likely bump Dustin Penner off the first line, another clear addmission by Lowe that he fucked up that offer sheet deal.
"Creme" Brule? By all accounts he's as useless as tits on a boar.
The Oilers are older today and a little better, but not by a whole lot. We'll see what, if anything, happens next.
Posted by LittleFury at 12:00 PM