Oilers score with Samsonov

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

They're better.

They're better today, with Sergei Samsonov, than they were the day before.

They were better the day before, with Dwayne Roloson, than they were the day before that.

They were better the day they made the deals for Jaroslav Spacek and Dick Tarnstrom than they were before that.

And they were better, with Chris Pronger and Mike Peca, than they were before the new NHL.

That's the bottom line.

Kevin Lowe may not have hit the home run with Roloson in goal. And the fate of his hockey team is still going to come down to whether or not Roloson stops the puck. But Lowe has made his team better with every move he's made this year.

If you look at the big picture - and that's Lowe's job - he's done the job.

This one, done in the final hour prior to the trade deadline, to acquire Samsonov from the Boston Bruins for Marty Reasoner, Yan Stastny and a second round draft choice, definitely makes them better.

There's no real negative here other than, on a bad draft year, the Oilers scouts can pretty much take the rest of the season off. The Oilers are left with a second-hand, second-round draft choice, a fifth, a sixth and two sevenths.

Samsonov, 27, is an eight-year member of the Bruins. He's a rental - here for 19 games prior to becoming an unrestricted free agent. But like Roloson, there's a reasonable chance he could be re-upped. Reasoner is also headed to free agency.

Samsonov has been injured a lot. But so has Reasoner. The difference is Samsonov ends up with a whole heck of a lot more points than Reasoner when they're healthy.

Samsonov has twice scored 29 goals. He joins the Oilers with 18 and a total of 37 points so far this season in 58 games. Reasoner had nine goals and 26 points, also in 58 games.

A member of the Russian team which knocked off Lowe's Team Canada at the Turin Olympics, the five-foot-eight right-hand shot, has 164 goals and 376 points for his career.

He adds goal-scoring ability to the second line with Jarret Stoll and Raffi Torres, bumping Radek Dvorak to a lesser line.

"Sergei is a player we've had our eye on for a number of years," said Lowe of the player oft-rumoured to be headed here.

"We've added offence, which is what we were trying to do today. We added another weapon. We've added skating ability. And he plays like a North American.

"We were looking for him or somebody similar. When I talked to him on the phone I told him he's going to be playing with good players in a good place to play ... and with good ice," added Lowe.

Lowe was shutout at the window trying to do a follow up deal to add depth with Dean McAmmond from St. Louis.

In retrospect, having made the move to acquire Rem Murray, turned out to save him a bit on the buzzer beater that didn't work out on the annual game of beat the clock.

You could make a case the Vancouver Canucks did an even better job on the trade deadline by adding defence and goaltender help they needed due to injuries. You could also say that the Calgary Flames made themselves better with the addition of yet another Edmonton native in Jamie Lundmark. But the Oilers came away from the day A-OK as well.

"None of our deals were tied to the deals others made in the division or the conference," said Lowe.

"We were trying to do what we had to do to make our team stronger. Our focus was only on our hockey team.

"It all really heated up an hour before the deadline with Boston. We did what we had to do, what we aimed to do. Financially we had room to do a couple of things.

"Our depth allowed us to look at a lot of things. We were able to make moves without jeopardizing our future."

Another example of how the new NHL works for a small market franchise which sells out every game and is now getting a break with the Canadian dollar.

"I'm excited. I'm really excited. I hope the fans are excited, too. I hope they think the moves we've made have made us a more exciting team," said Lowe.

"The first thing is to get into the playoffs. If we do, it could be fun."

That kind of fun we haven't had around here in a while. But first, Roli The Goalie has to stop some pucks.


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