The NHL trade deadline is fast approaching – and as I noted in my last Oilers file, GM Steve Tambellini and president Kevin Lowe almost assuredly have to be buyers if Edmonton has any shot at claiming one of the lower playoff seeds in the Western Conference.
As just about any GM will tell you, trades of the significant variety are harder to complete in the salary cap world than they ever were prior to the lockout. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t players out there who can help the Oilers.
Here are six guys who could – and I stress could – be available and able in that regard:
Ryan Smyth, Avalanche: The anti-Penner, who once represented the Oilers as well as anyone, is far from the top of Avalanche GM Francois Giguere’s to-trade list. But with the Avs treading water this season, it might be the perfect time to repatriate Smyth to Northern Alberta in exchange for a package including a prospect like, say, Rob Schremp. The further Colorado falls from playoff contention, the closer this scenario comes to reality.
Jay Bouwmeester, Panthers: Like Smyth and the Avs, Bouwmeester and the Panthers likely will stay together if the team is on track to make the post-season. Although defense isn’t the Oilers’ most pressing need, Tambellini and Lowe would be fools not to sell the 25-year-old blueliner on the rewards of playing in his hometown.
Bill Guerin/Doug Weight, Islanders: Speaking of bringing back former Oilers; both veteran forwards are having decent seasons on Long Island and would take the heat off some of Edmonton’s struggling youngsters. I would’ve included Mike Comrie in this group, but I don’t think neither he nor Edmontonians would welcome his return at this point.
Alexander Frolov, Kings: Frolov is a proven scorer L.A. GM Dean Lombardi will have a difficult time re-signing when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer. Depending on Lombardi’s demands, the Russian could be a low-risk/high-reward acquisition for Edmonton.
Nik Antropov, Maple Leafs: Wait a second… he plays for Toronto… and Toronto’s GM …is Brian Burke. Nevermind.
This column also appears in the Edmonton Metro newspaper.
Adam Proteau is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays, his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.
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