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PRINCIPE: Craig's List

by Gene Principe / Edmonton Oilers

Fifteen minutes and 30 seconds, that's almost exactly how long it took Craig MacTavish today to explain his strategy heading into the trade deadline, a day that spawns a 12 hour show on Sportsnet. It sounds like after listening to MacTavish summarize his teams deadline day wants and needs, that Sportsnet and Oilers fans may need to watch what's going on else where. What might happen around the rest of the league could be more noteworthy and attention grabbing than what will occur next Wednesday.

Craig MacTavish has done about everything you can do in the game but he has never been a GM of a team on deadline day. It will be his first which in itself will make it memorable. What he does or doesn't do is what will truly make it memorable. Unfortunately, Edmonton won't be a team loading up for a playoff run. Instead they will be a team that other squads will be calling about players they could use for a post season run. When you think about deadline day it's hard not to think back to 2006. In leading up to the deadline the Oilers loaded up getting Sergei Samsonov, Dick Tarnstrom, Jaroslav Spacek and Dwayne Roloson. It's exactly what the deadline is meant to be. You top off your team, often with UFA's, and then when it's over you decide if or where they fit into their future.

That type of deadline day will come back for Edmonton but in 2014 it's more about departing and not returning players. Expect more bodies to walk out of the dressing room than walk back in. I mean Craig MacTavish has already been busy by making a handful of deals. He wasn't waiting until a specific day that's why March 5th may be a little anti-climatic. It will be more about the GM ridding himself of some players and some dollars. Opening up space for some 'tryout' scenarios in the final 22 games. The Oilers have some players whose contracts are running out that could be great fits for other teams. MacTavish is banking on that to help him get back second and third round picks for this summer's draft.

In those 15:30 seconds the GM spoke about loyalty to players who have given a lot to the organization(Ryan Smyth). He spoke on his goaltending situation that has seen Ben Scrivens be spectacular and Ilya Bryzgalov be solid. Both are UFA's. Justin Schultz' deal expires after this season and MacTavish admitted that negotiations have already begun and that they will warm up after the deadline. He also said he doesn't like to use the word 'untouchables' even if there are a few of those on the Oilers. The deadline has become such a big deal because of all the large trades but this might not be the season Edmonton does much. They'll make some moves but it may not be listed under 'earth shattering'. It was time well spent with Craig MacTavish. It gives the public an exact idea of what the plan is going into next Wednesday. Things can change and we'll find out if they do March 5th but for now we know exactly what's on Craigslist.

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