Are the Edmonton Oilers the Sleeper Team in Roberto Luongo Sweepstakes?


The Roberto Luongo rumors continue to circulate the NHL and yesterday we learnt that Vancouver Canucks GM, Mike Gillis has a deal in place  with a team that has to move their player before completing the deal.  Gillis continued to throw teasers to the media when he stated that the trading team is one that no one expects.  Could that team be the Edmonton Oilers?

The Oilers were tied to Luongo last summer and at a certain time during the lockout a rumor from Edmonton radio personnel, Bob Stauffer that the  Oilers were set to make a “huge” splash once the work stoppage was over.  Luongo’s name was the center of the rumor but it fizzled faster than a fart in the wind.

Now, according to Josh Rimer and Bill Waters, hosts at XM Satellite Radio, they have said that Edmonton is in fact the mystery team in the Luongo sweepstakes and that Sam Gagner is the player that will be heading to Vancouver.

Gillis told the Vancouver Sun yesterday that the deal was on hold because of the other club needing to move a player prior to pulling the trigger on this one.  Looking at the Oilers roster and team salary, that player would have to be either Devan Dubnyk or veteran Nikolai Khabibulin who combined account for $7.25MM this season.  Throw in Luongo’s bloated salary and there is no way the Oilers can have three goalies making over $12MM.  That and it doesn’t make sense to have three goalies on the roster.

Which of the two current netminders Edmonton is trying or would have to move is uncertain, if in fact Rimer and Waters are accurate.  Dubnyk makes the most sense given his appeal to Vancouver strictly on his age.  Khabibulin would be a tough sell based on his age of 39 to any club and throw in that he’s currently recovering from injury and suddenly the marketplace just got much smaller.

In Gagner, the Canucks would be getting a temporary second line center that they need while both David Booth and Ryan Kesler recover from injury.  The Oilers would certainly have to throw in a prospect or a high draft pick to complete this deal as Gagner for Luongo straight up would make everyone in the hockey world question Gillis and his ability as GM.

When circulating the web looking for additional news on this rumor, I wound up on myNHLtraderumors.com where they did a compilation of tweets from hockey experts on the Luongo situation.

Bob McKenzie doesn’t feel a deal involving Luongo is closer today than yesterday and he fails to mention Edmonton at all, rather focusing on Philadelphia and Florida.

Jason Gregor says Bobby Lou to Edmonton makes little sense given how tight the Oilers would be to the salary cap next season.  With pressing needs on the blue line after last night’s 6-3 drubbing to San Jose, the defense was exposed and is in need of repair.

While Pierre LeBrun of ESPN says that Toronto is still the most logical choice as a trade partner for Gillis and the Canucks.

But keep in mind, that all three of those teams (Philly, Florida and Toronto) have all been tied to Luongo and would hardly be considered a mystery team.  Or as Gillis put it, a team that no one expects.  Could that be the Oilers?  Steve Tambellini would have to get magical with his roster next season, but it would send a huge message that he believes his club is closer to winning than most people are willing to give them credit for.

For more news and analysis on the Edmonton Oilers, check out Oil on Whyte.

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Tags: Devan Dubnyk Edmonton Oilers Roberto Luongo Sam Gagner Vancouver Canucks