Monday, January 9, 2006

Pronger trade revisited

For those of you that feared the Chris Pronger trade might come back to hurt the Oilers, you shouldn't feel worried just yet, or probably ever. Defenceman Doug Lynch was demoted to the ECHL after struggling with the Peoria Rivermen of the AHL. The Rivermen, who have lost 9 straight, also carry another player from the Pronger trade, Jeff Woywitka, who was sent down to the AHL after making the Blues team out of camp (and apparently almost got sent down to the ECHL himself). Eric Brewer, hampered by injuries, has also struggled with the second worst plus/minus at minus 15:

------------------ GP.....G.....A.....PTS
Eric Brewer.......... 29..... 6.....3......9
Jeff Woywitka...... 10..... 0.....0......0

............................. 23......1.....3......4 (AHL)
Doug Lynch ......... 29......0.....2......2 (AHL)

I've watched a few Blues games this year (the odd Columbus/St. Louis matchups is one of the many glories of the NHL Centre Ice cable package), and Brewer looks as timid as a field mouse. Bad teams can make you look bad, I guess. And anyone who watched the Roadrunners wouldn't be too surprised to hear the news about the younger D, but it is a pretty big step down for the Oilers top two D prospects from 2003.

From the Peoria Journal-Star:

"Lynch just needs to play, and he has some things he
needs to work on," Rivermen coach Steve Pleau said of the player taken by
Edmonton in the second round (43rd overall) in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. "I
think he needs to play a simpler game and be more physical. It'll be a good
place for him to play and work it out."

"I think Woywitka is a good player at this level [AHL]," Pleau said. "He
still has some things in his game he needs to work on. We've had injuries, and
he's had to play in expanded roles, and that has exposed those things he needs
to work on."
Not that many people complained when we got Pronger (4 G, 21 A, 25 PTS), but it's always worth keeping track of what we give up in deals. Pronger's been great this season, and if anyone says his offensive numbers are subpar just punch him in the face, even if it's your dad. Su, uh: Kevin Lowe, Huzzay!


Garnet said...

Obviously the Oilers seldom draft well, but they have been pretty good at dealing their prospects before anyone quite knows they suck -- the deal for Hamrlik being a classic case.

Anonymous said...

I was never really too worried about it, sure he's expensive, but he's a damn good player. Then again I was excited about getting Michael "empty-nets-are-so-hard-to-hit" Peca.
Peca's getting better though.

Colby Cosh said...

Brewer turning into a giant stool dipped in flopsweat is a damn sweet part of that trade, maybe almost as sweet as getting Chris freakin' Pronger in return. It's not only good for the actual team, but it puts two fingers up English-style to the deluded souls who thought Brewer was any good, including a whole lot of Oiler fans.

I don't know if Lowe clearly foresaw that the "new NHL" would expose Brewer's weaknesses and highlight Pronger's hidden strengths, but if he did, he was practically alone on the planet. He made a courageous decision that couldn't possibly have turned out better.

Steve said...

Let's not go nuts, here - Lowe wasn't really being courageous by giving up a guy that an ever-diminishing number of people thought might some day be an all-star in exchange for a Norris Trophy winner. This deal was an obvious winner for the Oilers from the get-go, and the only people claiming otherwise were the people who like to prove that they're smarter than everybody else by automatically rejecting all conventional wisdom out of hand (you know the ones: they were most recently seen going off about how great the Thornton deal was for Boston).

The question was never whether this deal was good for the Oilers; the question was whether this deal was the best possible deal for the Oilers, and I admit that I was among those who felt that the budget room that Pronger's salary took up could have been better used at getting us some even-strength offense (I thought this because I didn't realize how much better Hemsky, Horcoff, and, especially, Stoll were going to be this year. Or that Torres was going to go back to being streaky, as opposed to being consistently bad).

Colby Cosh said...

Actually, I was one of the guys who liked the Thornton deal for both teams, and since the Bears are 8-6-1 in the league's hardest division since the trigger was pulled, you'll have a hard time dissuading me. Still, point taken.