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4:50 p.m. EST - Does anyone else really like what the Edmonton Oilers just did?
Kotalik for a second-round pick (and we assume that it was the Oilers' own pick) strikes me a decent depth move, even if Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News offered this dis earlier in the day:
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Sabres winger Ales Kotalik has not generated much discussion around the league. As one Western Conference executive said Monday: "He leaves you longing for more." He's great in shootouts. Unfortunately, most teams know it's the only time he's within 5 feet of the net.
But O'Sullivan for Erik Cole? Thank you, sir. He's a versatile player that the Oilers will no doubt move around until they find the right chemistry match. And as David Staples of Cult of Hockey wrote:
I thought the Oilers would hold Cole, more out of fear of losing their one strong physical forward for this playoff drive than anything else. But it was the right move to trade off a guy who is going to be a UFA this summer, and showed little inclination in signing here.
So points to Kevin Lowe and Steve Tambellini on that count. This wasn't the year to hold a "now" player. It was a year to trade for a "tomorrow" player, and Sullivan is certainly that, though he's not so bad right now either.
Finally, a note about the Toronto Maple Leafs' really wacky deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning, which saw the take Olaf Kolzig, Jamie Heward and Andy Rogers for Richard Petiot: I'd really love to hear the rationalization from the NHL in approving this one. Very much.
"Burke picking up the always valuable expiring contracts to free up cap space in the summer. CuJo and Kolzig as a tandem? Is this 1996?"
• • •
Stunner No. 1: O'Sullivan's name was absent from most trade talk, perhaps because he was inked for the next two seasons (at $2.388 million each). He had 14 goals and 23 assists for the Kings, but he was up and down the lineup and chronically inconsistent.
Stunner No. 2: The Carolina Hurricanes found an asset to move, and an injured one at that. Justin Williams goes to LA for O'Sullivan, and we'll just assume this is a "Dean Lombardi's a genius" move, because he's signed at a $3.5 million hit through 2011.
Stunner No. 3: Erik Cole going back to the Hurricanes isn't a stunner, because it's almost like an Avery-lite move, minus the sex jokes -- an energy guy that instantly transforms this team into something that it hasn't been since he left. As Peter Laviolette said on TSN: "Eric Staal's numbers have dipped quite a bit without Erik Cole there." Cole's return could energize the team's best player. That's important with a playoff spot on the line, despite the fact that the Canes just traded a contract for a UFA.
Stunner No. 4: A late edition to the deal: The Buffalo Sabres send Ales Kotalik to the Oilers for a second-round pick. Yowzer!
Overall, this trade is:
There's a chance one that these teams is going to look back at today and giggle at how stupid two other teams look.
"Maybe Cole will find success again back in Carolina? How much of a culture shock is O'Sullivan going to experience going from Hollywood to Edmonton?"
Depends on whether he starts piling up the points playing with Ales Hemsky ...