Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fraser An Oiler-Are Nash and Pouliot on their way out?

According to Bob Stauffer (Oilers radio network/Oilers lunch, 1-3 pm on The TEAM 1260) and Dan Tencer (Oilers radio network) Edmonton has picked up Colin Fraser for a 6th round pick.

Which 6th round pick it is, I'm not sure as the team has 3 of them.

As for Fraser, I watched him play when I worked in Red Deer. Then he was a Rebels top line 2 way centreman with some grit who played on one of the greatest World Junior team's ever, 2005 North Dakota. It likely helped that the head coach of team Canada was also the head coach in Red Deer...Brent Sutter.

He's turned into a scrappy, smart, dependable player that can centre the 3rd or 4th line and win his fair share of draws, something the Oilers really lacked last year.

He hasn't played a lot of playoff games in the last 2 years, but suited up quite a bit in the regular season. Fraser is a versatile player, but is still learning to hone is aggression and react at the proper times.

Fraser is an older, tougher and stronger version of Riley Nash. He might not have Nash's finish - if his finish develops at the next level, which won't be with the Oilers - but he's harder to play against. So now trading Nash just got a whole lot easier. It should have been done this winter when a deal with Boston fell through on the Oilers end. Throw Marc Pouliot onto the expendable pile now as well, with Anton Lander and even Chris Vande Velde on their way there's a lot of competition for the bottom 9 forward spots.

For a 6th round pick I like this deal as it gives the Oilers some grit and responsibility as well as a good character guy. He's a restricted free agent, so a contract will need to be worked out. I'd also like to see them go after another former Red Deer Rebel in Atlanta forward Colby Armstrong, we'll see.

The Atlanta Thrashers sent a couple of contracts to San Jose, clearing the way for their big deal with Chicago to go through. Keep up to date with all the NHL deals through sportsnet's trade tracker, and keep it locked on the TEAM 1260 all week long for breaking stories.

As for the Hawks/Thrashers deal, I really like it for Chicago. They now have 2 first round picks, and 3 second rounders. Dustin Byfuglien will be almost impossible to replace, but they could draft Quinten Howden this year and replace Akim Aliu, plus Jeremy Morin (above) took some major steps forward with Kitchener this year scoring 47 goals as an OHL rookie. As one scout told me recently, it's Kitchener they just develop great players. Marty Reasoner likely made Colin Fraser expendable in Chicago and they still need to clear space so the dominoes have fallen. As for Atlanta, a few years ago Guy and I spoke with now Thrashers G.M. Rick Dudley, who was then working for the the Hawks and he raved about Akim Aliu with regards to his speed and raw talent, so I'm not surprised to see him in the package. And Byfuglien was a beast in the playoffs. If he ever puts it together consistently he could be a star.

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