Jim Matheson did up another one of those columns he is wont to do; quick hits on an assortment of Oilers’ news. Some of it is new information, and it’s all at the bottom of his Reddox/Potulny article.
Before we get into that, though, I couldn’t resist saying something about this comment:
But [Reddox] is ultracompetitive for his size and strong defensively. He was better than Marc Pouliot last year.
No, he wasn’t. I talked about this on OilersNation yesterday, but Marc Pouliot was in fact a very good fourth liner – not an AHL forward like Reddox. And yes, Reddox is an AHL forward at this point; he showed neither the offense nor the defense of a full-time NHL’er last year, which is quite probably why Craig MacTavish didn’t use him as one.
The Oilers are working on a multi-year deal with defenceman Ladislav Smid, who is part of the Dany Heatley trade package if Heatley ever agrees to play here. It may be in the $1.5-million-a-year range.
I’ve been a fan of Ladislav Smid for quite some time, and was disappointed to see him included in the Dany Heatley proposal. Injuries are the biggest concern I have for him; obviously he can take a lot of punishment but he just seems to put himself in situations where he’s going to get nailed, and I can’t help but think he’s going to get hurt eventually. Right now, he’s a third-pairing defenseman with a lot of experience at a young age and we have to wait and see if he can step up to the next level.
The Oilers are close to hiring a new video coach, reportedly from an Eastern-based team. Brian Ross, who was let go from that post, is still looking for work.
Random stuff, but I hope the video coach is coming out of Buffalo. I’m not sure how deep the well is over there right now, but the Sabres have been relying on video more than any other team in the league for scouting, and it would be nice to get an idea of what they’re doing, exactly. Columbus has already done this, snagging a video scout away from the team.
With Nikolai Khabibulin signing for four years, it's pretty obvious there will only be room for either Jeff Deslauriers or No. 1 farmhand Devan Dubnyk after this season. They aren't going to keep Dubnyk playing another year in the AHL.
Fearless prediction: Jeff Deslauriers will be OK this season, and then let go in the summer. There will be comments like "well, we really like Jeff, but we have to see what Dubnyk can do in the NHL…" coming from the organization, and it will be an open question why they’ve burned two years of roster space on a prospect who had no long-term future with the team.
The Oilers will be signing free-agent forward Rob Schremp, likely for one year. If he gets sent back to the AHL, he has to clear waivers and another NHL club could grab him. The Oilers tried to trade Schremp at the NHL entry draft, reportedly for a second-round pick, but there were no takers.
Given the log-jam of mid-sized (or smaller) young, offensively-talented forwards currently on the Oilers, it seems likely that Schremp is dealt to a bottom-feeder, probably at the draft this summer. If he fails to stick next season, his value will plummet to a point where he’s barely worth trading, and there simply isn’t a spot for him. The high-water mark for Schremp at this point is likely as a 50-60 point guy who is one-dimensional and runs the PP. The low water mark is a few more NHL games and lots and lots of packing. If he goes for a 2nd-3rd rounder at the draft, it would probably be fair value.
I think he’ll get dealt; surely he has some value and I can’t see him sticking with the Oilers given the makeup of the current roster. He should have been traded last season when he was coming off a strong AHL season, but instead he was left with a team that didn’t need him at the NHL level and he’s regressed.
The Oilers are down a pro scout with Rob Daum coaching their AHL club, but won't be hiring anybody else.
Probably because Daum was only stuck in the pro scouting role to make room for Kelly Buchberger on the Oilers’ coaching staff, and the Oilers didn’t feel like paying him to twiddle his thumbs.
The Oilers were intrigued by free-agent winger Tom Kostopoulos, but the hard-hitting former Montreal Canadiens forward signed in Carolina.
Kostopoulos parlayed a nice season in a sheltered role (low-level opponents, ranked 1st in Quality of Teammates) into a three year deal in Carolina at just under 1MM/season. He isn’t a bad player, but I think the Oilers were wise to pass at that term and dollar figure and with more pressing needs.
The Oilers aren't interested in free-agent winger Alex Tanguay(Habs).He's a playmaker. They need a shooter on the wing.
The more I think about it, the more I wonder if Patrick O’Sullivan, rather than Dustin Penner, isn’t the fallback choice for first-line left wing. He’s a frequent shooter, and he’s well-rounded enough to do the job. His play after coming over at the trade deadline didn’t do him any favours, but given his strong track record it seems reasonable to view that as an anomaly.