Numbers Game: Oilers, 'Canes, Kings swap wingers

Scott Cullen
3/5/2009 12:03:26 AM
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The biggest deal of the day was really a series of deals involving four teams, four wingers plus draft picks.

Numbers Game breaks down the deal that nets the Oilers two scoring wingers.

The Oilers Get: LW Ales Kotalik and LW Patrick O'Sullivan.

Kotalik is a 30-year-old career underachiever who hasn't been able to approach the 62 points he put up in 2005-2006, while continuing a streak of six straight minus seasons this year posting a minus-7 rating and 32 points in 56 games.

Nevertheless, the Oilers have been seeking more skill to upgrade their scoring and Kotalik could fit that role.  He's a shooter and could be a decent fit on a line with fellow Czech Ales Hemsky.  Given what's transpired on that line this year, it's hard to imagine Kotalik being any worse than Dustin Penner, Erik Cole or Robert Nilsson.

An unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, Kotalik is making $2.5-million this year.

O'Sullivan, 24, seemed to get buried at the start of the season following a protracted contract negotiation and his production suffered.

Even so, he's a talented young player who has 37 points in 62 games this year after tallying 53 points in 82 games last season.  O'Sullivan is versatile enough to kill penalties and play the power play, so he should be a nice addition for the Oilers in a top-six forward position.

At the same time, like many of the Oilers' young forwards, O'Sullivan needs to establish a more consistent level.

O'Sullivan will make a little under $2.4-million (with a cap hit of $2.9-million) over the next two seasons and will be a restricted free agent after that. By then, the Oilers should know if O'Sullivan is a legit 30-goal scorer and worth a more significant investment.

The Kings Get: RW Justin Williams.

Williams is currently sidelined by a broken hand and his last couple of seasons have been virtual write-offs because of injuries.  In 69 games over the past two seasons, Williams has just 12 goals, so he has a ways to go before he gets back to the 30-goal pace he was on in the previous two seasons.

Under contract for a couple more seasons, at a cost of $3.5-million, Williams will be expected to resume his ways as a scoring winger once he gets healthy.  He should get every opportunity playing for Terry Murray, who was on the Flyers' staff when Williams was early in his career.

The Hurricanes Get: Erik Cole, Calgary's second-round pick and Edmonton's fifth-round pick.

Cole's season in Edmonton wasn't going as planned as the 30-year-old is on pace for a career-low in points, scoring just 27 points in 63 games. 

In the previous three seasons with Carolina, Cole had averaged 57 points and played regularly with Eric Staal so, if he gets that opportunity again, it could help salvage his season.

Making $4-million this year, Cole will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer.  At that point, the Hurricanes can either save money since they don't have Williams' contract on the books any longer, or they can try and re-sign Cole to a new deal; that will likely depend on how the season finishes for Cole and the 'Canes.

A late second-round pick is also solid value to add into the deal and the fifth, well, it's something.

Buffalo Gets: Carolina's second-round pick.

With Thomas Vanek and Maxim Afinogenov returning from injury, the Sabres actually had a surplus on the wings anyway, so getting a pick for Kotalik, then turning around to use it in order to acquire Dominic Moore is a savvy move by Sabres GM Darcy Regier.

In the final analysis of the deal, the Oilers come out well ahead, adding two top-six forwards while the Kings and Hurricanes get players that the organization is familiar with, even if their value seems questionable at the moment.  Buffalo simply made the most of a good opportunity, dealing from a position of depth to improve another.

Scott Cullen can be reached at

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