Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Anatomy of a Trade(s)

Yesterday at LT's I commented that the only way the last two days make a lot of sense is if you assume Pitkanen advised Lowe and the Oilers management, whether directly or indirectly, that he had no intention of re-signing with Edmonton, much in the way Pronger demanded a trade. I think if you look at the last two days not only are the moves more forgivable if you disagree with them, but they prove to actually be quite shrewed. Here's the evidence:

April 11th: Tom Gilbert is signed to a brand new $24 million/6 year contract.

April 14th: Denis Grebeshkov is signed to a one year contract.

Interpretation: Much like how Horcoff, Moreau, Pisani and Staios were signed before Smyth, the Oilers seem to prioritize the importance of their players based on the date on which they're signed. Tom Gilbert and Denis Grebeshkov were obviously higher priorities than Joni Pitkanen.

June 30th: Kevin Lowe trades Matt Greene and Jarret Stoll to the Los Angeles Kings for Lubomir Visnovsky, a puck moving defenceman in the vein of Joni Pitkanen. Lubomir Visnovsky is significantly older and more expensive than Pitkanen.

Interpretation: I'll ask one question: if there was a chance of signing Pitkanen, why trade for a(n approximate) duplicate player.

July 1: Joni Pitkanen, an RFA is traded to the Carolina Hurricanes for Eric Cole who is on the last year of a 3 year $4 million contract and is due to become a UFA at seasons end. He will almost certainly get a pay raise.

Interpretation: This could just be Lowe addressing a need and using a redundant piece to get it, but again, why the Visnovsky move? Couldn't Lowe have just traded Greene and Stoll (and potentially add Torres to the mix) for a forward like Cole? Jonathan also mentioned today that there must be a market for a guy like Souray as well, and I agree with him. Any of those guys could have been packaged for a Cole like player. So why Pitkanen?

July 2: Joni Pitkanen signs a three year deal with the Carolina Hurricanes at an average of $4 million per year ($3.5, $4.0, $4.5).

Interpretation: Pitkanen is immediately signed to a pretty reasonable $12 million/3 year, less that I (and I assume others) would have predicted he would get. About the same as Gilbert, although less years.

Length of term of course may have been an issue; Pitkanen may have not wanted to commit to Edmonton for 6 years and maybe would have taken 3 years. But then, if length of term was the issue, why trade for a guy who's signed for one year?

Add to that MacT's comments today on the Team 1260 (via Rod over at LT's):

"MacT interview on the Team 1260 (after the Katz presser) was very revealing. Topic of Pitkanen started out about a "difference in philosophy" as the reason he's gone. MacT said that was a "complimentary way of phrasing it". MacT went on to say he didn't see a commitment to win from Pitkanen (particularly a team game). Strides were made through the year though, so MacT thought they were making some progress (conversation at the end of the year reinforced that apparently).

Then, from what MacT said, Pitkanen informed the Oil he didn't want to come back. MacT figured that might become a pattern for Pitkanen and that he'll be a nomad."

I think we can safely assume by the known events and comments made by Oilers staff that Joni Pitkanen was simply uninterested in returning as an Edmonton Oiler and the Oilers built their 08-09 roster around that assumption.

That said, I think Lowe did an alright job with the hand he was dealt, mainly assuming he manages to extend Horcoff and re-sign Cole.


Iffy said...

At least Pitkanen didn't have his agent leak it to the media while he was sitting on a beach somewhere. Nice post!

therealdeal said...

He's one step up from Chrissy! YAY!