With the WHL trade deadline now officially in the books, the Edmonton Oil Kings look considerably different than they did just a couple of weeks ago. In all, GM Bob Green executed three deals between Christmas and the deadline which has seen 4 assets (all players) on the way out while a potential of 9 pieces are coming back his way.
Is the team better today than they were two weeks ago? Certainly not. Is the organization better off because of the choices Green and his staff have made? Almost definitely. Did the team do enough or were there more deals that should have been completed? Debatable.
Deal #1 December 27th - Clayton Cumiskey to Everett for Cameron Abney
I like this deal partly for the fact that Abney (Photo: Dylan Lynch/Edmonton Oil Kings) is an Oiler prospect so it's now easier for me to keep tabs on him than it was when he was with the Silvertips. For the Oil Kings, they get a lot tougher although, to date, Abney has picked up 10 PIM in 6 games with the Kings but they have all been minor penalties. He has the reputation of being one of the toughest guys in the WHL but so far he hasn't dropped the gloves yet as a member of the Oil Kings. Outside of of a couple of big collisions that he instigated, Abney hasn't actually done a whole lot in my opinion. I still like it though because he provides size to a roster that badly needed it, especially up front, and he's actually a pretty good skater which might surprise some people who want to label him as strictly a "goon".
Deal #2 December 30th - Brent Raedeke to Brandon for Klarc Wilson + a conditional 3rd round pick in 2011.
I like this trade more and more. No question in my mind that Brandon does well here getting a guy who can help them as hosts of the Memorial Cup this year but they do give up a really nice prospect in Wilson, a local product. Quite frankly, when I heard the Wheaties were one of the leading suitors for Raedeke I quickly scanned their roster and prospect list to see what I thought might be of interest to Edmonton. "OK, well they won't get Wilson so what else does Brandon have?"
Wilson (photo: Andy Devlin/EDM Oil Kings) didn't have great numbers in Brandon, only 2 points in 18 games, but I wonder if that was a case of playing down the depth chart behind a really impressively strong line up? It would make sense and Wilson (just 16 years old) will play a much bigger role in Edmonton. Listed at 6' and 198 lbs, Wilson should be a major player for this club over the next 2-3 years.
Deal #3 January 10th - Tomas Vincour + Brett Breitkreuz to Vancouver for Garry Nunn + Mike Piluso + Sebastian Svendsen + 5th in 2010 + 3rd in 2011 + conditional 3rd in 2012.
I was fairly indifferent to this at first glance, mostly because of my unfamiliarity with the players Edmonton was getting in exchange for Vincour and Breitkreuz. Vincour is a talented player and in my opinion should have been of the same, if not better value, as Raedeke. The fact that Edmonton didn't get a top 16-year-old is a bit disappointing to me although Bob Green told me two days ago that he didn't want too many 16-year-olds anyway.
The 3 warm bodies Edmonton brings in are all very small. Nunn (Photo: Paul Clarke/VAN Giants) is an overaged player who will not be back next year, is 5'9 but is basically a point-per-game player. Svendsen, an 18-year-old product of Denmark, checks in at a paltry 5'8 and this year he has just 6 points in 36 games with the Giants. Piluso is expected to bring some edge and leadership but he too is on the small side; 5'10 and 183 lbs.
Edmonton's addition of two draft picks, a 5th this summer and a 3rd in 2011, are OK. There is another 3rd in the deal should Vincour return to Vancouver next year but that will depend on what the Dallas Stars decide to do with him - most expect he'll be in the AHL.
The Oil Kings are now smaller, are without their top two scoring forwards and didn't replace their offence unless Nunn continues to produce at the same pace despite a weaker supporting cast. The chute was pulled on this season so really, the fact that the team will probably struggle on a nightly basis even more should hardly surprise anyone. An even weaker team won't help ticket sales but believe it or not, the franchise is probably much better moving forward after having made these moves.
Deal #4 NOT COMPLETED - Torrie Jung to Regina Pats
Rod Pedersen said it first and I've been told the same thing; there were talks between Regina and Edmonton for the services of overaged netminder Torrie Jung (Photo: Andy Devlin/EDM Oil Kings). a deal couldn't be agreed on and I know Bob Green has told me several times in the past that he wouldn't make a deal just for the sake of making a deal but... isn't getting anything for an expiring player better than getting nothing?
That really depends on who you ask. Jung is seen as a top quality person in the room and I know the organization likes the influence he has on their younger players. There is value in what Jung provides to the team in that sense. Surely he'll play much less in the second half in order to allow Cam Lanigan (Photo: Andy devlin/EDM Oil Kings) prime development time but Jung still has worth to the Oil Kings.
But is it enough to justify not getting anything at all back for him? Apparently it is and without knowing for sure what Regina was offering, it would make sense to assume it was in the territory of a 4th rounder. Kurtis Mucha went for that same cost earlier this year in a trade between Portland and Kamloops and he too is an overage netminder.
All in all... Oil Kings fans might find it hard to stomach in the short term but knowledgeable people should see that these were moves Green should and perhaps even had to make.