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The Oilers and the No. 1 pick

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Recent speculation has the Edmonton Oilers shopping the first overall pick in this year's draft, but one Edmonton writer isn't buying it.

Jim Matheson of The Edmonton Journal dismissed the idea of the Columbus Blue Jackets or New York Islanders, who hold the second and fourth overall picks, flipping their selection with the Oilers.

He also rejected a rumor the Montreal Canadiens, who hold the third overall pick, would deal their selection and defenseman P.K. Subban for the first overall pick.

Matheson also doubts the Oilers will shop it to Pittsburgh for center Jordan Staal, citing Staal’s pending UFA status next year and the fact he's never netted more than 50 points in a season.

If GM Steve Tambellini did trade the pick, it would take a terrific offer.

Assuming Staal were available, Tambellini would have to know for certain he would agree to a long-term contract extension. Without that assurance it’s too much of a gamble on a player who could leave in a year.

The notion of the Canadiens sending over Subban in order to flip picks is simply absurd. Yes, the Habs need a scoring star, but not that badly.


Speaking of the Canadiens, their hiring of Marc Bergevin as GM renewed speculation center Scott Gomez will be bought out of the remaining two years of his contract.

Sportsnet’s Louis Jean reported Gomez would not only be bought out, but the decision may have been made by ownership before Bergevin came in.

“It’s (Canadiens owner) Geoff Molson saying, ‘OK, let's get this done,’” said Jean, who went on to add buying out Gomez would be “a Geoff Molson thing.”

When asked about a possible buyout, Gomez said he hasn't been approached about it and that it’s a management decision, so he’s been focusing on training for next season.

One pundit who doubts the Habs will buy out Gomez is TSN's Bob McKenzie, who took to Twitter to say it would be “the dumbest thing” a team could do in today's salary cap world.

Contract buyouts for players older than 25 years are two-thirds the remaining value spread over twice the remaining tenure.

McKenzie pointed out the cap hit would break down as $3.5 million and $4.5 million in the first two years of the buyout, followed by two years of about $1.6 million per.

He believes the Canadiens would be better served to bury Gomez in the minors or loan him overseas to free up cap space. McKenzie also noted the new CBA could include amnesty buyouts.

The earliest a buyout could take place is between June 16-30, but if he's bought out in that period and the next CBA ends up including an amnesty buyout stage, Bergevin and Molson would be pilloried by Montreal fans and media.


The cost to re-sign young star defenseman Erik Karlsson could force Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray to dump a contract or two if Karlsson's new salary bites too deep into the club’s cap space.

Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun suggested veteran blueliner Sergei Gonchar - who has one year at $5.5 million left on his contract - will become a trade candidate, if not this summer then by the 2013 trade deadline.

Gonchar has a full no-movement clause until Jan. 1, 2013. From then until the trade deadline, he can supply the Senators with a list of 10 preferred trade destinations.

However, Murray won’t be keen to move Gonchar because he’d prefer to have him as a mentor for young blueliners such as Karlsson and Jared Cowen. This need will be magnified if pending UFA Filip Kuba departs via free agency in July.

Rumor Roundup appears Monday-Friday only on Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website,, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and Kukla's Korner.



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