Goodbye to a bad buy

BOB STAUFFER

, Last Updated: 4:10 PM ET

Sometimes the best trades are the ones you never make.

Case in point: The Edmonton Oilers' pursuit of Glen Murray during the 2007 off-season.

It was strongly rumoured that at one point Oilers GM Kevin Lowe thought he had a deal done with the Boston Bruins to bring Murray to Edmonton.

Fortunately for the Oilers, the deal fell through.

This week the Bruins waived and bought out Murray after the 35-year-old veteran struggled through an injury-plagued 2007-08 season that saw him score 17 goals and 30 points in 69 games.

Not the kind of return you are looking for at a $4.15 million cap hit.

An argument can be made that the Oilers may have countered losing out on Murray by landing Dustin Penner via an RFA offer sheet.

Penner's first season in Edmonton was not a huge success - 23 goals, including 13 on the power play - but I would rather have a 25-year-old Penner locked down for four more seasons at $4.25 million per than be faced with the reality of buying out Murray.

Whereas the Oilers' pursuit of Murray was rumoured, we know the team was hoping to sign free agent forward Michael Nylander during the 2007 off-season.

Again, despite the initial negative messaging that may have be sent around the league because of the whole Nylander fiasco, the organization is actually better off because the signing fell through.

Nylander did pick up 37 points in 40 games with the Washington Capitals before getting injured last season, but he was also minus-19.

The Capitals made a wonderful run in the second half of the season and had a hard-fought playoff series with the Philadelphia Flyers, but Nylander was not part of it.

Washington rookie of the year finalist Nicklas Backstrom's play really took off in the second half in the season, as he showed legitimate high-end playmaking skills with 55 assists, 69 points and a plus-13 rating.

The Capitals also elected to re-sign Sergei Fedorov, meaning that Nylander is going to have some completion for playing time alongside the brilliant Alexander Ovechkin.

With three more seasons left at a $4.85 million annual cap hit, the Capitals could end up regretting signing Nylander.

If Nylander had actually ended up in Edmonton, I doubt that Sam Gagner would have made the Oilers out of training camp last fall. Given that Gagner is a lock to be one of Edmonton's top six forwards this season, I think we can all agree one of the best things that happened for Lowe and the Oilers was that Nylander's camp chose Washington.

ADIOS, MARTY

Marty Reasoner is a bright, intelligent, witty guy, but the Oilers are a better team today without him.

Granted, he was one of head coach Craig MacTavish's favourites, but the fact that Reasoner elected to sign with the Atlanta Thrashers is a sign that a form of intervention took place at the management level here in Edmonton.

Despite MacTavish's ringing endorsement for Reasoner at the end of the season, it is clear that Lowe thinks the Oilers have progressed to the point where the team no longer needed him.

With Jarret Stoll being traded in the off-season as well, look for Kyle Brodziak to see significant minutes on the third line, including first unit penalty-killing.

Brodziak is entering the last year of his contract, and has been one of the Oilers who has been prominent at team functions, such as the Daryl Katz press conference and the unveiling of Graham Rahal's Oilers-sponsored car at the Rexall Edmonton Indy.

My guess is Brodziak will hit a home run next off-season when it comes time to renegotiate with the Oilers.


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