As per Lowetide (not sure where he got it from), the Oilers have trade Raffi Torres to Columbus in exchange for Gilbert Brule. My take: this is a salary dump.
I have talked a lot about Raffi Torres here; I am much sadder to see him dealt than I was to see either Stoll or Greene go. I expected that Lowe would make a deal with Columbus; we have too many forwards, they do not have enough.
This cannot be regarded as anything other than a downgrade in the here and now; Brule played soft minutes last year and not only did not score (0.87 Pts/60) but was also outscored by the competition. The upside is that he is a former 5th overall pick, and he is only 21, and he plays with a really fun crash-and-bang mentality that will make him a nice replacement for Curtis Glencross on the 4th line right now. This makes LW shakier going forward; we are now forced to rely on Ethan Moreau to play 3rd line minutes, so if (and the odds are unfortunately high) he gets injured, this team could be in trouble.
All in all, a trade that could work for both teams. Edmonton saves approximately 1M in cap space next season and picks up a talented (if injury-prone) prospect who could still blossom. Columbus gets an elite checker in Torres, a guy who can play any kind of opposition but has consistency issues, and should fit in well there.
Two questions: What is Lowe going to do with the cap space he just cleared? Who goes out next in a cap-clearing move?
Update: Brule, at 21 years of age, can go to the minors without clearing waivers. I’m assuming that’s where he ends up. This, however, does not mean that Lowe cleared 2M+ (as some are suggesting) in cap space because Torres still needs to be replaced on the roster, and the guys the organization has at LW (Potulny, Schremp, Reddox) are going to be in the 750K range. So likely this clears up 1.5M in cap space.
Update II (Fun Comparisons): In 2002-03, at age 21, Raffi Torres had zero goals and five points in seventeen NHL games, to go along with 40 points in 50 games at the AHL level. He was a 6th overall pick who had yet to show his offensive touch, and the Oilers dumped salary in Janne Niinimaa to acquire him and project forward Brad Isbister. The next season, Torres scored 20 goals. And no, I am not saying that will happen with Brule, but I am saying it is not beyond the realm of possibility that Brule bounces back.