Oil Kings playing let's make a deal

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:00 AM ET

Prior to Tuesday's expansion draft, all Bob Green really had to wheel and deal with were draft picks.

Now he has warm bodies to offer other Western Hockey League teams.

"We were pretty well prepared for the expansion draft," said Edmonton Oil Kings general manager Bob Green.

"The day went fairly easy, we had 75% of it done by 1 p.m. The last couple of teams were a little difficult, then we started looking at making some deals at the end of the day."

Following the draft, the Oil Kings traded right winger Kenton Dulle - whom they acquired from the Saskatoon Blades to the Kamloops Blazers - for goaltender Dalyn Flette. They also traded centre Cody Gross - taken from the Prince Albert Raiders - to the Regina Pats for goaltender Tommy Tartaglione.

"We now have two older guys that we feel are capable of starting," Green said of his newly acquired goaltenders. "(Flette) played in the league last year and he also played with Team Alberta at the Canada Games and is a very good prospect."

The Oil King scooped up 17 players in the expansion draft. They picked five players in pre-draft deals. With their bantam picks and free agent signings the Oil Kings now have 49 players listed.

They're allowed to list 50 and are saving the last spot for the CHL European draft later this month.

The expansion franchise has top pick in the draft and is looking at landing a highly skilled European.

"That's our hope," Green said. "It depends on a lot of things, one of them being whether or not he wants to come over. We'll take the best player that will come and play for us.

"You hope they bring offence. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

You don't know what the case is with these players, sometimes it's tough for them to fit in."

The Oil Kings landed only one player in the draft who scored at least 10 goals last season. Robin Figren, 19, was made available by the Calgary Hitmen. The Swedish native will fill one of the two European spots allowed on the Oil Kings roster.

"He was one guy that we didn't figure would be there," Green said. "Cameron Cepek from the Portland Winter Hawks was another. We thought he was a pretty solid defenceman and him being available we thought was pretty good."

Being their first year in the league the Oil Kings are allowed to play with five 20 year olds as opposed to the usual three.

Getting quality overage players in the draft, Green expects there to be some interest in those veterans next season. However, unless a deal comes up that's too good to pass up, the Oil Kings plan on standing pat until training camp.

The next order of business is hiring a head coach for the team.

"We're very close with that," Green said. "Conservatively speaking we'll probably make an announcement within a week."


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