SUN Hockey Pool

Trade produces pair of winners

JOHN SHORT

, Last Updated: 1:17 PM ET

To me, the big-time winners in yesterday's hockey deal were Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers and new Oilers centre Ryan Stone.

Since the middle of last season, Kevin Lowe and Kevin Prendergast, among others, insisted Drouin-Deslauriers needed playing time, nothing more, to show he was ready for an NHL job.

Now, with Mathieu Garon gone, Double-D gets his chance. Although Dwayne Roloson has been immense in the net for most of this season, his birth certificate dictates that the youngster is in line for a starter's job before long.

Stone's major assets jump right off the stats page: he's a Western Hockey League grad; he's a 200-pounder; he takes penalties.

In a logical world, those figures would guarantee full-time work here.

Most of Edmonton's forwards never went through the endless travel handed to western juniors every season. They also lack the bulk needed to go into traffic night after night and they're inclined to finesse their opponents rather than seeking collisions and getting inside their heads.

Forget the bleating that you can already hear about Stone not being proven as a major-leaguer. Crosby, Malkin, Satan, Staal and Sykora don't leave much room for prospects.

The Oilers need big, strong, young forwards. Quite a few of them.

ANDY WAS DANDY

Whenever a Gretzky, Kurri, Fuhr, Coffey or Hamilton gets time in the spotlight, Kevin Lowe enjoys it at least as much as his old teammates do.

This week's activities around Glenn Anderson are a perfect example. On the record or off, Lowe loves to tell stories about the man who seemed endlessly happy-go-lucky but possessed a much deeper mentality than almost anyone recognized.

Almost everybody makes the point that Anderson's point-totals, especially in big games, make him a Hall of Fame natural - and they're right. He should have been inducted years ago.

What I remember most is the way he lifted me from my seat. You can convince me that Gretzky and Messier were better players - first among equals, maybe - but my memory says nobody was more exciting than Anderson or Paul Coffey.

NEXT UP ... LOWE

During a function for friends and old colleagues on Thursday, the point was made that Lowe takes great care to make sure only the real greats, the true contributors, get the honour of having their number hang from the rafters at Northlands-Skyreach-Rexall hockey arena.

It's my feeling that Kevin Lowe, one day, must yield to the pressure of friends and knowledgeable hockey people who say his number should go up there, too.

Every Oiler whose number has been honoured did an immense number of good things away from the game. Among Lowe's first projects was the Christmas Bureau and he has done much more since moving to the front office.

Contributions by his wife Karen have been equally valuable. If she had been an Oiler instead of a world-class skier, her banner would be hanging already - just as Kevin's deserves to be.


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