"Potsie" is Ready to "Sit on it!"
Edmonton Oiler defenceman, Tom Poti, will likely be sitting on his couch at home in Massachusetts next week when training camp opens.
The Edmonton Sun reports that Poti will not report to camp unless a contract deal has been reached between Oiler GM Kevin Lowe and his agent, Jay Fee. “It’s not 100% definite, but pretty much”, said Poti, “If I don’t have a contract, I don’t think I’m going to camp.”
This stance is a bit of a surprise since Poti is obviously bargaining from a weak position. He struggled for much of last year, until after the all star break when the Oilers caught fire.
There were trade rumors before this, you can expect more to start again, but Kevin Lowe restated his position. “I wouldn’t put to much weight into it (rumors). There’s lots of time between now and then (Sept. 12).”
The Sun adds, however, that a source close to the Oilers suggested back in June that Poti wanted out of Edmonton then. Poti was openly criticized at times last year for not being physical enough, and for his +/- rating, which was as low as -17. The Sun suggests Boston would be Poti’s preferred trade destination.
Eric Brewer’s offensive development will be a factor in Poti’s future with the Oilers. The Oilers have shown that they like to have 2 Offensive, 2 defensive and 2 balanced d-men in their line up. Poti’s impressive rookie season made Roman Hamrlik expendable. Now the same might be true of Brewer for Poti. Add, offensive minded Czech defencemen, Ales Pisa into the mix and Poti’s stance becomes even more puzzling.
If a trade with Boston were to occur, it would be interesting to debate the players involved. Edmonton would need to replace Poti’s position, already the Oiler’s blueline is thinner than last year. Hal Gill or Kyle McLaren would be prime targets. Obviously Jason Allison would be the best thing Boston has available but there’s that price tag to worry about. A creative contract structure, like the one talked about regarding Lindros a month ago, would have to be done. Poti only made $850, 000 last year though, so they would not be unloading a big contract in the deal.
It’s possible that a blockbuster deal could happen, but it’s more likely that Poti will eventually come to terms before the season starts. Then depending on his play, he might get dealt anyway.
Writer for the Oilers, the Olympics and Puck Sight