Extracting maximum value for Ryan Whitney

Jonathan Willis
March 29 2013 01:51PM

There’s news out of Boston regarding the possibility of a Ryan Whitney trade, and it suggests that the Edmonton Oilers aren’t looking to just off-load the pending unrestricted free agent for whatever they can get. They’re looking for maximum return.

Here’s the key paragraph from Boston beat writer Joe Haggerty’s latest blog:

Ryan Whitney: The Bruins are looking for a defenseman and there’s little doubt the Massachusetts native would love to play for the Black and Gold. The Bruins have made phone calls about Whitney and it seemed like things might have been progressing on that front Wednesday when the Iginla deal looked imminent. But now it’s cooled off a little as the Bruins regroup and go for Plan B. The Edmonton Oilers are said to be looking for a Douglas Murray-type return (two second round picks) or a goaltender (Niklas Svedberg) in exchange for Whitney, and neither of those is going to happen. It isn’t out of the realm of possibility to see a Jordan Caron-for-Ryan Whitney still happen if the Bruins need to get an offensive defenseman.

Lowetide wrote about Caron and Svedberg earlier; Svedberg is enjoying an excellent rookie season in the AHL after some strong work in Sweden and would be a legitimate backup for Edmonton. It’s understandable both why the Oilers would be interested and why the Bruins would be unwilling to make that deal. Caron has first-round draft pedigree but results in both the AHL and NHL haven’t been particularly overwhelming to date.

The return on Murray was steep and not likely to be duplicated in a Whitney deal, but with the trade deadline still days away the Oilers have time to try and negotiate the best return possible. The steep ask is wise, and while it will doubtless need to drop to get a deal done that can wait. Barring injury, the value of veteran defencemen doesn’t decrease as the deadline gets closer.

The Bigger Trade

After describing Hockey Buzz as “highly entertaining”, Haggerty promptly dismisses the notion that Milan Lucic is in play at all, let alone for the site’s rumoured package of Magnus Paajarvi, Ryan Whitney and a draft pick. It’s well known the Bruins are hoping to add a winger for the playoffs; Haggerty suggests that a trade could expand to include Paajarvi or Hemsky, but makes it clear that Lucic is not going the other way. Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald also added another Edmonton name to the list – Ryan Smyth – as a possible trade target for the Bruins. We might speculate that Ryan Jones, another pending unrestricted free agent, is a possibility as well if the Bruins really are interested in Smyth.

Is a bigger trade possible? Yes. The Bruins are in a position where they have a legitimate shot at winning the Stanley Cup, so if the Oilers wish to move a winger Boston is a logical partner. Hemsky played (successfully) with David Krejci during the lockout, which might make him more appealing, while with Nail Yakupov in the system the Oilers might not be averse to moving him. Paajarvi seems less plausible as a trade candidate, simply because he’s a good fit for the Oilers’ age cluster, while Smyth and Jones could obviously be dealt.

On the other hand, Oilers Nation's Jason Gregor suggested that the Bruins and Oilers weren't really discussing a forward as part of a deal:

With Jarome Iginla landing in Pittsburgh, not Boston like it was reported last night, you wonder if the Oilers/Bruins trade talks will continue. Two sources told me that nothing was imminent, but that some minor "tire-kicking" had gone on between the Oilers and Bruins. Ryan Whitney's name was involved, and then Boston reporter Joe Haggerty tweeted that he heard a forward was also involved. He mentioned Ales Hemsky in one tweet and then Magnus Paajarvi in another. A source from Edmonton suggested there has been no talk regarding a forward.

As common as big trades at the deadline are in rumour, they’re more difficult to execute in reality. The most likely outcome is probably the simple move that happens a lot at the deadline: Ryan Whitney to Boston for a draft pick or a prospect.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#2 Spydyr
March 29 2013, 07:41PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

That's a 1,500 word comment. Go get a blog. If you persist in this, I'm going to start deleting everything after 300 words that you post.

I hate to do stuff like that, but we've had so many complaints about your inability to make simple points succinctly that I really don't have a choice any more. Cut it back.

Now, to two of your points:

- Whitney's improvement is a mirage; in terms of scoring chances his numbers are the same now as they ever were. But he's on a nice run of pucks going into the net.

- Those PIT comments were in direct reference to the Doug Murray trade alone. Last week, PIT presented a paper at an analytics conference detailing the way analytics helped them decide to trade for James Neal. So you're pretty much 100% wrong there. Few NHL teams have embraced stats as publicly as PIT.

I find his posts easier to skip then DSF.He just takes over some of the comment sections.It is much simpler scrolling past one post then 52 with DSF's name in it somewhere.

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#3 vetinari
March 29 2013, 02:22PM
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I'm surprised that the Oilers aren't dangling their cap room as an incentive for teams to trade with them. For example, they could offer Whitney AND keep most of his salary/cap for the balance of the year under their cap room. Surely, this would be valuable to a team like Boston to load up on players. C'mon, Tambi, use some creativity and think outside of the box to make something happen for a change.

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#4 Oilersman
March 29 2013, 07:00PM
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Props to post #54. Seriously, I cannot go through that long of a post. I just skip it outright. I week enjoy reading everyone's posts but those long ones are ridiculous. Much like this one.

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#5 Sox and Oil
March 29 2013, 02:10PM
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oilers2k10 wrote:

I wonder what the asking price would be for Nathan Horton.. Hemsky, Whitney, 2013 1st round pick?

My guess is Horton's pretty much untouchable, but I'd make that trade I could.

Are you drunk?

Horton is UFA at the end of the year, thats a massive overpay for 15 games of a injury prone forward.

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#6 Muji
March 29 2013, 02:17PM
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Tkachev wrote:

Is seguin untouchable? Would oilers first round pick and hemsky be enough? I would make that trade.

That's more than enough. If we throw in a 4th rounder and Theo Peckham, they'll probably give us Dougie Hamilton too.

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#7 vetinari
March 29 2013, 04:30PM
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Also, DeKeyser just signed with Detroit-- he's off the market.

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#8 smokinjoe
March 29 2013, 06:36PM
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flames suck

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#9 106 and 106
March 29 2013, 02:10PM
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It'll be hard to pry pieces away from a team looking to go into June and compete with Pittsburgh - The pens gave up picks and prospects, not NHL players.

I see your last sentence as being most true, unless Hemmer is involved. Then it's a player + prospect.

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#10 HardBoiledOil
March 29 2013, 02:14PM
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reality check time....the Oilers aren't getting Lucic or Horton, and neither would stay long term, IMO, so i don't want them here! the Bruins are being extremely stingy in my point of view if they aren't willing to give up more than Jordan Caron and/or picks and second rate prospects. lord, despite his great AHL record and the fact the Bruins have Subban in the system as their potential future #1 goalie, the Oilers can't even squeeze goalie Svedberg out of the Bruins! i say maybe the Bruins aren't the best trading partners for the Oilers right now?

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#11 DieHard
March 29 2013, 02:56PM
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A simple trade is coming. Whitney for a 3rd or 4th rounder (on Wednesday).

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#12 Gerald R. Ford
March 29 2013, 03:36PM
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Lowebellini vs. Chiarelli in a battle of wits = certain catastrophic failure. Might as well jump into a piranha tank wearing a meat suit and hope for the best.

Keep Whitney.

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#13 dougtheslug
March 29 2013, 11:18PM
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outdoorzguy wrote:

So will Kessy be in the lineup against Vancouver? Or in 2015? Maybe 2016. It may be 2020 before we are comfortably in the playoffs.

Why do you ask? Was Reider going to lead Oilers to the Promised Land? What are you getting so excited about? Reider was unlikely to have a role in Edmonton considering where he was on the depth chart. Kessy might (MIGHT) have a better chance, given his style of play. We'll know in 2-4 years. Let it go.

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#14 The real minnow
March 29 2013, 02:02PM
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Fist?

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#15 oilers2k10
March 29 2013, 02:04PM
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I wonder what the asking price would be for Nathan Horton.. Hemsky, Whitney, 2013 1st round pick?

My guess is Horton's pretty much untouchable, but I'd make that trade I could.

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#16 Racki
March 29 2013, 02:09PM
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Do we think Whitney will be back next year? If so, I guess shipping him away for a pick or some longshot prospect isn't a good idea. If we think he's gone anyways, then I'd say get what we can for him, and if that's all we can get... pull the trigger. We're not going to win the cup or anything this year, and it's doubtful we'll make the playoffs. I don't see Ryan Whitney being a huge factor in our attempt to make the playoffs either. I am pretty sure Whitney's value is low though on the trade market, so I don't see this ending too well.

I honestly would have to wonder why Whitney would want to re-sign with us. Judging by a tweet of his yesterday (?) he obviously is aware fans want him traded, so would you want to come back to this? I don't think so.. but I don't know what's going on in his head.

All the message board / blog commenters will remind us that we screwed up trading Whitney, but if we don't, I feel like we'll lose him for nothing. Kinda damned if we do, damned if we don't.

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#17 Tkachev
March 29 2013, 02:09PM
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Is seguin untouchable? Would oilers first round pick and hemsky be enough? I would make that trade.

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#18 Tkachev
March 29 2013, 02:09PM
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Is seguin untouchable? Would oilers first round pick and hemsky be enough? I would make that trade.

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#19 a lg dubl dubl
March 29 2013, 02:11PM
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@Tkachev

me thinks Yakupov would have to be included in that.

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#20 Smokey
March 29 2013, 02:13PM
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oilers2k10 wrote:

I wonder what the asking price would be for Nathan Horton.. Hemsky, Whitney, 2013 1st round pick?

My guess is Horton's pretty much untouchable, but I'd make that trade I could.

Ouch, for a great but often injured player.

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#21 a lg dubl dubl
March 29 2013, 02:14PM
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@Sox and Oil

So are Hemsky and Whitney. How do you know Horton wouldnt resign here?

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#22 Racki
March 29 2013, 02:17PM
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Tkachev wrote:

Is seguin untouchable? Would oilers first round pick and hemsky be enough? I would make that trade.

I would think he would be extremely hard to get if he were available (which I doubt he is.. he's probably not untouchable, but close enough to it, like Lucic would be). I'm not sure what the asking cost would be, but I can say that Hemsky + our 1st definitely would not do it.

If we were willing to give up Yakupov, then the Bruins might talk to us, but I'd imagine that they'd feel they need more out of that deal too.

Let's put it in context we can understand.. would you trade Taylor Hall for Artem Anisimov and Columbus' first round pick? I would hope not.

I like the thought of trying hard for a young skilled center though. But it will cost us for sure, and it will cost a young skilled player too.

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#25 Chet134
March 29 2013, 02:24PM
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Why would Boston trade sequin for yakupov and players. Yakupov won't be good for a couple years. They go backwards in that trade. Boston wants to win now. They will trade prospects and draft picks for any of our players.

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#26 Racki
March 29 2013, 02:27PM
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@vetinari

That's a good point re: Hemsky too. At $2.5M cap hit (if we retained the max 50% cap hit) he might be a lot more enticing to a team.

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#27 Oiler Al
March 29 2013, 02:35PM
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The Bruins, are chasing Lord Stanley, dont expect them to give up roster players. You might be able to make a trade in the summer with them , if they need to shake some Cap. If would not resign Whitney, so you might as well get something for him its a second rounder etc.

Bruins couldnt or wouldn't cut a deal for a Iginla, so it tells you they are throwing around to much to make a deal. Besides, Whitney in all fairness, isnt going to get you much no matter where you pitch your lure.

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#28 Quicksilver ballet
March 29 2013, 03:24PM
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Wait and try to fleece that first rounder out of the Bruins. Whitney, and perhaps Omark can be Chiarellis butler for a year, or something along those lines. Why even bother with a 3rd or 4th rd pick that is accompanied with a near 93% fail rate.

In Whitneys case it's almost worth it to just let him walk at the end of the season and allocate the capspace elsewhere next yr. With his time ending here the way it is, Tambo sure looks like he was rolled in that Visnovky deal. Whitney was damaged goods from close to day 1.

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#29 Curcro
March 29 2013, 03:37PM
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vetinari wrote:

I'm surprised that the Oilers aren't dangling their cap room as an incentive for teams to trade with them. For example, they could offer Whitney AND keep most of his salary/cap for the balance of the year under their cap room. Surely, this would be valuable to a team like Boston to load up on players. C'mon, Tambi, use some creativity and think outside of the box to make something happen for a change.

If needed to be done fine, but the only team that can't afford Whitney's cap hit are the Canucks.

If they start doing that with players like Hemsky. (@Racki)

The Oilers need the cap room this summer. The RFA market will heat up a bit, because of the number of team that will struggle even with the 2 compliance buyouts to make the salary cap. The buyout have to be done in June prior to Free Agency.

Even the Bruins, they have $6.1M of cap space to sign 3 Forwards & 2 Goalies.

At NHL minimum that leaves $3.8M to sign Rask.

That presumes that they let Caron go. If they want to sign Caron, then they don't currently have money to sign Rask.

Even if the Bruins were to fix up this situation, there are teams like the Rangers, with Stepan, Hagelin, & McDonagh to resign with only $11M to do it.

Or the Blues who have Pietrangelo, Russell, Cole & Shattenkirk to resign, and an ownership group that doesn't like to spend money.

That is just 3 teams, and there are several out there.

With patience, we can get a stud RFA NHL ready player in the summer, if we hold on to our cap room.

Not to mention in the UFA market, a guy like Horton is not going to be resigned by the Bruins - they don't have the space for him.

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#30 michael
March 29 2013, 03:39PM
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JW would Calgary be willing to trade with the Oilers for Jay Bowmeester? Is it possible? I think that the time would b rip to to kick som tirs and see what pric you would need to pay.

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#31 Bucknuck
March 29 2013, 03:43PM
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Looking at the standings and seeing the Oilers just three points back of the playoff spot makes me wonder why the Oil aren't trying to be buyers instead of worrying about UFA's, maybe they should be worrying about holes in the lineup and trying to fill them. You know... like Ray Shero?

I would like the Oiler's playoff chances better if they moved some draft picks and prospects and got real players back for the stretch drive. They should be talking to Philadelphia and Florida, Not Boston.

I'm so tired of the losing mentality. The Oil-change could start this week...

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#32 DigDeepNBleedBlue
March 29 2013, 03:52PM
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Gotta trade Whitney, IMO, and if you can get a 2nd it's a win.

Does the trade hurt the OIL for the rest of the season? Maybe a little. His outlet pass can be very helpful, but I wonder how much his absence would effect the team.

I'd guess not by much.

Plus, I think Teddy Peckham needs to play the rest of the way. Need to find out whether to cut bait or not on him.

Hemsky is the most interesting possible trade. I think he garners a 1st. Maybe more. If he goes the asset he brings back may help now, in the future or as part of a trade.

If Hemsky is traded the return had better be good.

The next few days should be fun.

On a negative note: College UFA DeKesyer signs with DET. No dice on that one.

Yale product Laganiere's team wins today, so we'll have to wait for the big winger to sign with an NHL team.

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#33 DigDeepNBleedBlue
March 29 2013, 04:15PM
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Reider to PHX. Guess we don't need to sign him. As per Oilers Twitter.

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#34 DigDeepNBleedBlue
March 29 2013, 04:16PM
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Edmonton Oilers ‏@EdmontonOilers 3m Left-winger Kessy (6-3, 202) scored 43 pts in 60 gms in @TheWHL this season, currently in playoffs with @blazerhockey #NHLTrade

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#35 Thinker
March 29 2013, 04:17PM
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Only way we get nhl players back is if we trade with sellers, and they will play hardball with us because of our position in the standings and prospect pool. The areas we still need to fill will best be addressed in the summer via draft and free agency. Right now we have to concentrate on getting max value for anyone who isn't part of the future. While picks may not be directly linked to our success from this point forward (much of the core is already assembled), we can use them as assets to bolster our roster for a playoff run down the road. Whitney, khabi, ect should all be dealt as the playoffs are a distant bell. Also keep in mind that we are building something bigger than a playoff team, hurting our chances this year will likely pay off down the road.

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#36 DigDeepNBleedBlue
March 29 2013, 04:23PM
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Kale Kessy is same draft year as Rieder. 2011. They will need to sign him this year as it doesn't look like he has a contract per Capgeek.

Looks like the Oil are dumping some of their small, skilled prospects (one) for a bigger body. Can't argue with that, but, has anyone seen Kessy play? Hits? Fights?

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#37 Sox and Oil
March 29 2013, 04:32PM
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DigDeepNBleedBlue wrote:

Kale Kessy is same draft year as Rieder. 2011. They will need to sign him this year as it doesn't look like he has a contract per Capgeek.

Looks like the Oil are dumping some of their small, skilled prospects (one) for a bigger body. Can't argue with that, but, has anyone seen Kessy play? Hits? Fights?

According to Luedeke on twitter "tough sonuva gun" for Kessy.

My first reaction was anger at this trade as Rieder has shown ridiculous talent and return based on his draft number. Its obvious he brings a redundant skill set to the organization but I thought he would yield a greater return (maybe after a year or two in the AHL).

But, when it comes to the WHL I trust Stu completely and he must feel Kessy is a Lucic type. Hopefully not just a skill for coke machine trade.

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#38 DigDeepNBleedBlue
March 29 2013, 04:32PM
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Here's a take on him from Hockey's Future:

Talent Analysis

A tall, rangy winger, Kessy is a highly aggressive player who will hit and challenge anyone. Doesn’t possess a great deal of offensive ability but is an energetic player who certainly won’t shy away from a fisticuffs.

Future

Likely to return for his overage junior season, Kessy projects to purely be a grinder who provides a spark through his physical play and willingness to drop the gloves.

Sounds like my kind of addition! No offense, though.

Maybe this transaction gets things moving from a management stand point. I hope. Tinker away!

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#39 Rama Lama
March 29 2013, 04:37PM
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The only player on the Bruins that is interesting is Lucic.......Horton is the same type of player except his history with concussions scares me.

No way Boston is parting with Lucic so the only player I would consider is BM......small and tough and never backs down.......small and tough......did I say small and tough, never mind.........I'm in Costa Rica and the beer is good!

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#40 DigDeepNBleedBlue
March 29 2013, 04:38PM
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Sox and Oil wrote:

According to Luedeke on twitter "tough sonuva gun" for Kessy.

My first reaction was anger at this trade as Rieder has shown ridiculous talent and return based on his draft number. Its obvious he brings a redundant skill set to the organization but I thought he would yield a greater return (maybe after a year or two in the AHL).

But, when it comes to the WHL I trust Stu completely and he must feel Kessy is a Lucic type. Hopefully not just a skill for coke machine trade.

Lets hope.

He had an average regular season. 31-12-13-25 +7 44pim, but has 4 goals in 4 playoff games.

I think Rajala's success so far made Rieder expendable.

So far I like the transaction. I do want to see him play, however.

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#41 Sox and Oil
March 29 2013, 04:40PM
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This is from Bruins Draft Watch 2011. It was from Nov 2010 Central Scouting Prelim WHL Rankings, at which had Kessy ranked number 11 in the WHL.

At 11, Kale Kessy is one player B2011DW has had eyes on as a power forward prospect who brings a similar kind of offensive element and toughness to Milan Lucic. The similarities between Kessy and Lucic are eerie: neither player was picked in the WHL bantam draft, but were picked up by their hometown clubs the Medicine Hat Tigers and Vancouver Giants because they hung around the local rinks and showed enough to the GMs and coaches to get a shot. Neither was a very good skater coming out of junior; Lucic had good straight line speed, but had problems with his starts, stops and turns. Kessy's burst and straight-line speed is poor, but he's more agile and can turn defenders better than Lucic could. Both have nice hands and the ability to set up the play and finish. And, both can really fight.

What does that mean for Kessy? Late first-round or top-half of the second round. Book it. NHL teams absolutely covet the guy who can hit, fight and score-- and they've seen enough of Lucic to know the kind of value he brings as a momentum changer.

"I like that guy a lot," said one scout when asked about Kessy. "They don't give him enough credit for his skills, smarts."

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#42 DigDeepNBleedBlue
March 29 2013, 04:41PM
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Correction:

Those stats were from one team. He played on three this year.

21G 22A +8 106pim

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#43 DigDeepNBleedBlue
March 29 2013, 04:44PM
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@Sox and Oil

Now we're talking! Lets hope he just gets close. Fingers crossed.

Love the quote: "They don't give him enough credit for his skills, smarts."

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#44 wiseguy
March 29 2013, 04:44PM
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Oilers just traded for Kale Kessy. WHLer for Tobias Reider. Sideways move?

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#45 Sox and Oil
March 29 2013, 04:51PM
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@DigDeepNBleedBlue

I dunno hopefully. I mean we already have Moroz, Ewanyk, and Czerwonka in the system and I'm sure I'm missing someone(s).

I understand (barely) not needing Rieder but would rather have thrown him in a package deal for a better quality D or C.

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#46 messy EH!
March 29 2013, 04:53PM
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Reider traded FFS. I am losing hope.

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#47 DigDeepNBleedBlue
March 29 2013, 04:57PM
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Sox and Oil wrote:

I dunno hopefully. I mean we already have Moroz, Ewanyk, and Czerwonka in the system and I'm sure I'm missing someone(s).

I understand (barely) not needing Rieder but would rather have thrown him in a package deal for a better quality D or C.

You never know and if this cat scores 20 in the show and provides toughness it works with the team we have. The need to get bigger/tougher is apparent, IMO.

When trying to get a power forward more prospects is better because they hardly come to fruition.

Keep the cupboards stocked!

I do, however, believe Czerwonka retired because of injuries.

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#48 ed in mexico
March 29 2013, 05:04PM
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Although I think that it is important that the Oil are at least in a playoff race this year and therefore should not see themselves as "sellers", Whitney to Boston should be considered. He has been a healthy scratch often enough to not be a crucial element.

BTW teams cannot use their cap space to entice a trade, which I believe some have suggested. When a player moves his cap hit moves with him.

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#49 outdoorzguy
March 29 2013, 05:09PM
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Wow Kessy for Reider. Who for who? Thats the way to earn the big bucks Timid Tambellini and Loser Lowe. Who came up with this deal, Hopeless Howson?

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#50 Thrush
March 29 2013, 05:17PM
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If it is truly about maximizing return and the Bruins are the team interested, the player they should be chasing is Alexander Khokhlachev. We already know the Bruins are willing to part ways with the Russian. Although small, he could provide something completely necessary to the Oilers success next year... part of a package deal for a Legitimate #1 or #2 defenseman. With the cap going down next year GM's will be looking for a guy like Khokhlachev in return not players drafted in the second round of this springs entry draft.

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