Thursday, July 13, 2006

In case you missed it...

It was kind of buried by what turned out to be an avalanche of moves by Montreal GM Bob Gainey yesterday, but Sergei Samsonov is now a Canadien.

I have to admit that I was foolishly holding out a little bit of hope that everyone's favourite man-wolf hybrid would re-sign with the Oilers, but in my heart of hearts, I knew this was a-comin'. While I'm not thrilled to see him go, I clearly would have had to run down to the cleaners and pick up my extra fancy spazzin' pants in order to properly freak out if Lowe had agreed to his hefty price tag of $7.05 million over two years.

Plus, when you get down to it, while he did show glimmers of genius on the ice, Samsonov was pretty much the prototype for the kind of guy who doesn't excel within the Oilers system. His exceedingly Russian style of play (great hands, doesn't do corners) would occasionally explode when he found some open ice and was feeling up to it at the time, but more often than not, his size and determination were lacking. Still, he was one of those guys whose great moments were so great, they made you forget it had been five games of impact-free perimeter-skating since the last great moment.

Sammy was a good rental, but ultimately not a solid piece of the puzzle, and I wish him well. He'll probably blend right in and put up some decent numbers on a slick, undersized team like Montreal, and will certainly line up on the powerplay with Koivu and Kovalev. At any rate, excelsior, little guy.

Aside from the Samsonov pickup, Gainey also signed David Aebischer for a year, punted Richard Zednik to Washington for a third-round pick and scooped up Phoenix forward Mike Johnson for a paltry fourth-rounder. All in all a pretty good day for Gainey, who had been suspiciously silent thus far in the off-season. Signing Aebischer to a $1.9-million contract is a no-brainer, as it's a good price for a promising goalie and Cristobal Huet will need a little fear of god to help him stay frosty. Plus, it's good to have someone other than Yann Danis around for insurance in case Huet pulls a Raycroft.

Zednik was gradually turning into a whole lot of nothing with a bloated $1.975-million price tag, so shoving him into the Well of Tears that has been collecting in Washington makes sense. But then Gainey goes and grabs Mike Johnson, who while he is a surprisingly underrated 50-point winger, makes almost exactly the same money as Zednik did. His paycheque is kind of steep in this NEW NHL, but he's a guy I'd take on my team any day for $500,000 less.

Meanwhile, in Oilerland, I'm still waiting for Lowe's big move. While a top-two defenceman has clearly become out of the question (a moot point for me anyhow, as I'm surprisingly optimistic about a defensive corps that includes Smid, Hejda, Tjarnqvist and Greene — but then again, I'm the guy who's so addicted to prospects in NHL 2006 that I trade away my top players every year for draft picks so I can develop another superstar), but there's a feeling in the wind that we might yet see a deal for a game-breaking forward.

Lowetide has been working overtime on his fantastic blog to fans the flames of pipe-dreamery, floating oddly reasonable-sounding trades like Stoll and prospects for Scott Gomez and suggesting that the Oilers are in talks for Eric Lindros, who despite possessing a cranium that is Faberge-egg-like in its preciousness and fragility, would actually be a good, cheap fit for this team. Details from LT here.


Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

So long Sammy! Always left me wanting more - waiting for the game where he would singlehandedly win a game with a dazzling hattrick.

A lot of talent for sure.

Maybe a few too many injuries?

Wish him well though.

mike w said...

Damn. But that's the thing about Samsonov: just when you were ready to criticize him for not showing up, you forget that he somehow got an assist on the night (although he kind of failed us in the Stanley Cup Final with one goal in 7 games).

Nevertheless, it's tough to put a positive spin on losing out on the guy. This off-season sucks eggs.

Some things never change: I hope we make the playoffs next year...

Anonymous said...

"Man-wolf hyrbid" love it! Very good, Chris.

mike w said...

Also: signing Lindros would be almost as bad an idea as Messier was last summer.

Plus, the guy's heart is in Ontario.

Scarlett said...

Way too much money for the little Russian. It's good that Sammy and Hemmer are not on the same frustration is enough.

matt said...

Hey, I hate to be the loser bringing this up again, so forget it if you want....

but Christie Chorley was fired a few hours ago.

I guess the odds are pretty good she is leaving the city.

That kind of sucks.

MetroGnome said...

I trade away my top players every year for draft picks so I can develop another superstar...

...yeah. I do that too.

So is anyone in Edmonton talking about scooping Rafalski from cap-strapped NJ?

namflashback said...


I have been promoting this one for awhile. It makes great financial sense for NJD, but Lou may not want to give up his one of his 1-2 d-men.

For sure he needs to mvoe one of Rafalski or Madden to make space for one of Gomez and Gionta.

Rafalski is obviously the more desirable of those two big salaries.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

I love the Rafalski idea too and Lou has to move two those four guys to get under the cap.

Rafalski is ufa next year - Lou will have space to resign him if both agree.

Good fit to me.

Matt said...

Good fit to me.

Does his birth certificate still say "United States of America"? Americans getting their careers going in Edmonton seems to work fine, but veterans who have never even played in Canada is another matter.

Pleasure Motors said...

Ouch, Matt. That might be too soon. I'm almost a little offended you would even go there right now.

Vive le Hejda! A Czech has never wanted to leave here, right?

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

matt - may be so but Rafalski doesn't strike me as the type to hold out or refuse to report - he took the long road to arrive

plus he's a ufa next summer so he could move along if he wished

I don't see him as more then a on eyear stopgap myself

Dennis said...

I'm glad we didn't bring Samsanov. I don't think we need him and I think his money could be put to better use elsewhere.