I won’t lie, this article was brought about by two others I just read this morning: Should the Oilers go after Jordin Tootoo? by Jonathan Willis at Oilers Nation, and Why GMs Overpay for Bottom Six Players by the Leafs Nation’s own Danny Gray.
Before you close your browser thinking "this idiot is going to suggest Tootoo to (to to to) the Leafs", don’t! I will do no such thing. By the end of the Oilers Nation piece, where Willis pointed out Tootoo’s crazy playoff tirade, I was quite positive that I wanted that guy as far away from the Leafs as possible. Not that I really care about players who say dumb things, but Tootoo really seems like a bit of a risk when you don’t need to take one for a player of his skill level.
If Alex Semin said that stuff, I’d just look at highlights of him taking wristshots and all would be forgiven. But Tootoo? Too-shitty.
Willis did point out, however, that Tambellini and the Oilers may be seeking a "character guy":
"Tambellini’s been clear all down the line that he’s looking for a certain type of player, character-wise, and I’m not sure that Tootoo fits."
This got me to thinking about Colby Armstrong, and how, perhaps, he might fit with the Oilers. It didn’t really end well, and now here we are
It seems like a perfect scenario, right? Tambellini is a bad GM and may want a guy like Armstrong who’s Mr. Character, Burke needs to unload a 3 million dollar loaf of bread, so let’s sign the papers.
This would probably make sense if Burke and Kevin Lowe didn’t almost set up WrestleMania in a woodshed or whatever. But since that bridge is likely burned (or punched in to pieces), it’s unlikely these two teams would lock up for a trade.
I haven’t taken a hard look at Edmonton’s situation, so this type of move may not be realistic for them since they don’t want to take on much money to fill out a fourth line, and they certainly don’t want to give up assets for it. I suppose the only way it seems reasonable is if they see Armstrong (as we did) as a versatile player who can bounce around the lineup. I’m sure someone with extensive Oilers-knowledge will let me know if that isn’t the type of player they’re looking for, despite the character factor. Either way, between their weird lineup and the Lowe/Burke feud, we can probably kibosh the Armstrong to Edmonton rumors before they start.
We can’t just give up that easy though, this is a fanbase that ran Bryan McCabe out of town. It can’t be too difficult to get Armstrong on a flight out before October. And maybe Lombardi too.
It would probably be nice to find a team in the same mindset that the Capitals were in when they gave Joel Ward 3 million dollars per season last summer. And that’s probably a bit much to be honest – Armstrong only has a year left, Ward signed for four.
There are other clubs around who have third line-type players with contracts expiring this summer that could also be potential targets. I’d use "suitors" but I don’t think it really applies here.
Any teams that you think could express interest in Armstrong?
For discussion’s sake, I took a really quick look at CapGeek and noticed that Anaheim have both Blake (4M) and Hagman (1.5M) off the books this summer. They’ve bailed Burke out in the past, so there’s that. They want to save cash for their big players going to UFA next summer, but again, only a year left for Armstrong so that doesn’t really matter.
Langenbrunner’s 2.75 million is expiring in St. Louis, so I guess it’s possible that they take a look.
These guys I’ve mentioned grabbed about 20-30 points each this past season, which is about where Armstrong is supposed to be if he plays a good chunk of the season.
I guess what scares me the most isn’t that there won’t be interest in Armstrong, more so that Burke really doesn’t want to trade him and clear out the cap space (loyalty and "good in the room" and stuff like that). You might think "is this really worth worrying about?" Well yes, because as everyone knows Armstrong will take a spot from a Marlies player who can do just as good of a job (who couldn’t, really?) next season, and he’ll make 3 million dollars doing so.
Three million that could have went towards a bid on Parise, Semin, Suter, whoever. Three million that could have allowed a trade for help in net. The Leafs’ bottom six is now a pit of poorly spent money and it probably doesn’t need to be.
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