Dreger's Mailbag: Khabibulin, the Flames and Semin

Darren Dreger
1/20/2012 11:53:33 AM
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Got a question on the latest news and rumours? E-mail Hockey Insider Darren Dreger and he'll answer your emails at!

Hey Darren,

Being an Oiler fan, having them rebuild is tough. However, the core nucleus - Hall, Eberle, and "the Nuge" are electrifying! My question for you is goaltending – obviously Khabibulin won't be part of the rebuild, what are the chances of the Oilers moving him to a playoff contender at the deadline - say maybe Tampa Bay? Also is there any remote chance the Oilers could make a deal for Cory Schneider or Jonathan Bernier, both of whom deserve to be starters on a full time basis and would be a great fit with our young team!
Your feedback is appreciated, keep up the great work!

Chris Gallant,
Edmonton, Alberta
A: Chris, rebuilding is never easy, but the Oilers have handled it the right way. The team was honest with its fans, explained the process and really haven't deviated from the plan. The future looks bright in Edmonton with an abundance of young talent up front and at least four prospect defencemen the organization believes will be very good in years to come. Tough call on Khabibulin. Given his age (39), the Oilers will listen to offers if interest is expressed, but he has one year remaining on his contract at $3.75 million and he and Devan Dubnyk have both played well when the team was healthy. Edmonton likes its goaltending depth, but it's young and if Khabibulin is moved, the Oilers would need to get a goalie back. It's hard to imagine Vancouver and Edmonton coming together on a trade that includes Schneider, but Bernier is interesting. If the Oilers included Hemsky in a bigger deal...Bernier might make some sense.  
Dregs, having just made the Cammy deal with the Canadiens, is there a possibility the Flames could be 'buying' more - like part of the JVR dealings? Or is that a pipe dream?
Ricky in C-Town
A:  Ricky, as you see below, I lump Calgary in with a group of teams that could be very active leading up to the Trade Deadline. The Cammalleri trade was made to better the Flames chances of a playoff spot. Calgary intends on making additional moves to make that happen and will try and utilize their crop of upcoming UFAs as part of a bait package. The Flames' needs remain the same...a quality, top line centre and another solid defenseman would rank high on the list.  Feaster's creativity shouldn't be underestimated as was evident in Calgary's run at Brad Richards last summer, however, if Philadelphia is going to move JVR, it's hard to imagine Paul Holmgren not demanding a quality defenceman in return. Not sure that's a price the Flames are either willing or capable of paying.
Hi Darren,
The contenders and pretenders are being filtered out by the day! Which teams do you feel are on the verge of doing a complete rebuilding (as opposed to re-tooling on the fly) after this season?
Hillsborough, NB
A: Steve - while there will be teams who clearly fall in to the category of "seller" between now and the NHL Trade Deadline, it's unlikely any team will fully embrace a full rebuild. The Columbus Blue Jackets may come close as this organization's annual quest for an identity and winning combination has yet again fallen short. Jeff Carter, Antoine Vermette and Derick Brassard will likely be among those dangled and despite the constant denials from the player, agent and management, I'm sure Rick Nash's name will surface in discussions leading up to the deadline. There will be many teams who may move key players, such as Buffalo, Carolina, Montreal and Tampa Bay in the East. While in the West, Minnesota's free-fall will soon have to be addressed to keep the Wild in the mix.  Anaheim and Calgary may also be active in the coming weeks. Calgary will do everything it can to make the playoffs this season and with nine players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on July 1, Jay Feaster and the Flames are facing a natural rebuild in the offseason. As we identified Thursday on the NHL on TSN, there are at least eight teams in the market for a Top 6 forward. It's a seller's market right now and prices are high for all players which is why the trading game appears to be on hold.
Hi Darren,
I don't think I've ever seen a player (Cammalleri) get pulled out of a game to be traded! In all your time tracking down/breaking deals, what's your best story on how a player found out he was dealt or any strange circumstances around a deal?
Mariam Cull,
A: Mariam, agreed the circumstances surrounding the Bourque-Cammalleri trade were bizarre and perhaps a first in terms of Cammalleri getting pulled from the game. Nothing really compares to that. There have been a number of players over the years either yanked from the morning skate or pulled after the warm up prior to a game, but in-game is a new one! In seeking quick reaction to trades I have informed many players they have been traded which is always somewhat awkward and every year players learn they have been moved on deadline day by watching TSN's TradeCentre coverage.
Hey Darren,

I've been hearing rumblings that the Caps would really like to move Semin's contract. With Mike Green out, are the Caps in the market for another puck moving defenceman? Have you heard anything on this? If not who do you think the Caps will covet come the deadline?
A: Devin, the Semin rumours have been swirling for months. At this point, I'm sure Caps GM George McPhee is willing to consider just about anything to improve his club.  Mike Green's chronic groin injury has had a tremendous impact on this team, but providing he recovers well from surgery, Washington expects Green will return just prior to the Feb. 27 trade deadline. If such is the case, Green's addition will seem as significant as a major trade and should pay instant dividends. If Green, who's in the final year of a 4 year contract is unable to return, I have no doubt McPhee will consider what's available at or near the deadline. Last year, the Caps acquired Dennis Wideman to offset injuries to Green and Poti and he may have to do the same this season, although, at this point that has yet to be determined.

Darren Dreger


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