EDMONTON – Steve Tambellini made a late splash in his first NHL trade deadline day as GM of the Edmonton Oilers, acquiring forwards Patrick O’Sullivan and Ales Kotalik in separate trades on Wednesday.
With the Oilers looking to bolster scoring depth at forward for the playoff push, Tambellini added O’Sullivan from the Carolina Hurricanes and Kotalik from the Buffalo Sabres, giving up Erik Cole and a second-round draft pick in trades that involved four teams.
First, the Los Angeles Kings traded O’Sullivan and a second-round draft pick to Carolina for Justin Williams. The Hurricanes then dealt O’Sullivan and the second-round pick to Edmonton to re-acquire Cole, who they’d traded to the Oilers last summer for Joni Pitkanen.
The Oilers capped a busy final 30 minutes before the deadline by sending the second-round pick they received from Carolina to Buffalo for Kotalik, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
“When we approached this deadline, I think most people knew where we needed to add,” Tambellini said.
O’Sullivan, 24, a second-round draft choice of Minnesota in 2003, joins the Oilers with 14-23-37 in 62 games with Los Angeles this season after tallying 22-31-53 in 82 games with the Kings last season. He scored 41-68-109 with 66 penalty minutes in 188 career games
O’Sullivan, who earns $4 million US this season, has two more years left on his current contract at $2.38 million per season.
“Both are outstanding players,” Tambellini said. “With Patrick, he’s becoming a prominent player in the NHL. He had a great year last year”.
“With Ales, he’s a proven performer. His areas of strength are obvious – a heavy shot, intelligence and skill. They’re both strong players. There was so much discussion over the last week. We knew what we were looking for.”
Kotalik, 30, joins the Oilers after scoring 13-19-32 in 56 games with the Sabres this season. He’s a right winger who scored 20 goals or more three times and has 114-126-240 in 426 NHL games.
“When we got a sense we could acquire both of these players, we pushed hard and became aggressive,” Tambellini said. “We made sure it happened.”
Cole, 30, will be an unrestricted free agent July 1. He’d struggled to find his offensive touch in Edmonton, scoring 16-11-27 in 63 games with the Oilers since being acquired for Pitkanen last July 1.
“I’m a little disappointed that things didn’t work out here,” said Cole, who spent his first six NHL seasons with the Hurricanes and won a Stanley Cup with them in 2006, beating the Oilers in seven games. “It’s not the way I’d envisioned or that I’d hoped.
“At the end of the day, they had to make sure they were looking after their assets and making sure they were looking toward the future. For me, it should be a pretty easy transition back to Carolina. Obviously, it’s a place that’s very familiar.”