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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Pitkanen available

The Edmonton Oilers have just acquired Lubomir Visnovsky from the LA Kings for Matt Greene and Jarret Stoll.

With Visnovsky now in the fold the Oilers have the following cap hits in terms of offensive d-men next season:

Visnovsky - 7 mil
Souray - 6.25 mil
Gilbert - 3.5

That's 15.75 million committed to 3 d-men...and here's the part that should interest Jackets fans -- that is without getting Joni Pitkanen signed.

This move clearly means that Edmonton has every intention of dealing Pitkanen. They certainly aren't going to have the money or desire now with Visnovsky in the fold to re-sign Pitkanen.

In fact with Visnovsky and without Stoll or Greene the Oilers currently have 50.4 million committed to 18 players. That doesn't leave a whole lot of room to flush out the roster. Certainly not enough room to give Pitkanen the 5 mil a year he most certainly wants.

Its no secret the Jackets need puck movers. We know Howson has a relationship with Oil GM Kevin Lowe. It wouldn't shock me at all if he weren't on the phone this very minute trying to work a deal for the rights to Pitkanen.

I've discussed Pitkanen in this space before. He's a 23 year old 6'3" 214 lb puck moving d-man. Sportsnet.ca's take on him:

Assets
Has tremendous size and strength for the blueline position. Oozes offensive potential and displays plenty of grit, toughness and character.

Flaws
Will need to play up to expectations in a tough sports city (Edmonton), which could be an intimidating factor throughout his career. Is somewhat fragile.

Career potential
No. 2 defenseman.

He didn't have the best of years last season only notching 26 points in 63 games but he does already have 3 season with 40+ points on the blueline. He's also played for Hitch in Philly.

If we are going to overpay this is the kind of guy I roll the dice on. I have absolutely no idea if we have the assets to acquire him but reading some reaction from Oil fans they all seem to think Pitkanen is gone and that they'll want cheap gritty players in return. Tollefsen/Fritsche/Brule may look a little more attractive to them right about now.

With a lack of puck moving d-men on the market - especially with Liles now off the board - this guy is a juicy trade target and if a deal can be swung before July 1st and it couldn't do anything but help the perception of Columbus as a UFA destination.

This is a guy I could see building a defense around and would fit great with our young core.

Keep you eye on Chicago though. I could see them making a big play for Pitkanen as well. Wouldn't that just be another blow to the gut.

-LTL

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dude...keep up the great work!!

Psycloud said...

Actually, those are next year's salaries for the Oilers, not the cap hits. The cap hits are:

Visnovsky: 5.6 mil
Souray: 5.4 mil
Gilbert: 4.0 mil

So it still adds up to 15 million, so it doesn't make a whole lot of difference. Pitkanen is likely going elsewhere.

Matt said...

I sure as hell hope we see Pitkanen move to us, at this point.

I really liked the Hejda pickup, grabbing Peca, and some of Howson's other moves last year, but this year, when it seems like Howson should not only have -every- reason to reach into the war chest, but a much deeper war chest than last year, it feels like he's fiddling until July 1st while teams around us snatch up the assets we need left and right.

C'mon, Scott! Show us you're doing -SOMETHING!-

wizworm said...

Pitkanen would be a great addition!

Neal said...

it would probably take Z to get him. rumors are Ottawa and Edmonton taking a Vermette for Pitkanen swap.

http://brochuishockey.blogspot.com/2008/06/nhl-and-hockey-rumors-for-june-30-2008.html

If Howson was willing to give up Z for Marleau, You'd have to think he'd dangle Z for Pitkanen. I like Z a lot, but I'd rather have Joni.

dan said...

i say let ottawa and edm trade ... then sign vermette and pitkanen to offer sheets :)