Fisher and Penner
I don’t understand how (most of) the media can be falling all over themselves congratulating Bryan Murray and Steve Tambellini for the kind of trades they’ve made. I don’t like what Ottawa has done and I think the Penner trade just sucks for the Edmonton faithful.
I don’t have any problems with Murray clearing out the deadwood (Ruutu, Elliot, Kovalev, Campoli) but he could not get rid of the really bad contracts Ottawa still holds going forward. Not surprisingly he was able to give away both Fisher and Kelly because both are useful players on reasonable contracts. But what did Ottawa get back? They got three middling draft picks, which means that in three or four years they might – might – have a player as good as Fisher is today. More likely, the Sens will still be losing this trade in three or four years. They could easily end up with nothing to show for these players.
On the other hand, Fisher and Kelly are players that are good enough and young enough to shorten the rebuild period. Dustin Penner is a similar story. The Oilers can’t win this trade on any reasonable time frame, and they may not be able to win it at all. And if they kept Penner, the Oilers might be in a position to push at a playoff spot in a couple of years. Tyler Dellow (and most of the commenters on his site) feel pretty much the same way.
So why did they do it? I don’t think much of either Bryan Murray or Steve Tambellini but I don’t think the answer is stupidity. I think the Oilers traded Penner and the Sens traded Fisher even though the trades make the rebuild road longer for one reason and one reason only: Money. Not cap space. Money.
Both teams save about $5 million over the next year and that $5 million will go directly into the owner’s pocket. Both teams were likely to miss the playoffs next year no matter what. They can miss the playoffs without Fisher or Penner as easily as they can miss them without Fisher and Penner.
And $5 million is $5 million.
Postscript: Actually, its a lot more than $5 million. The Oilers are going to end up spending well below the midpoint between the salary cap and the floor which gives them access to the escrow revenue sharing plan. This deal was probably worth $10 MM to the Oilers.
Postscript II: I like what the Canucks did yesterday, because I think they are marginally better with Lapierre and Higgins in the lineup than they are dressing Hodgson and Oreskevitch. They’ve added speed and experience at almost no cost.