Based on the spanking they received at the hands of the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, if the Edmonton Oilers hope to improve their outlook on the season or seasons to follow, they need to be a deeper team, at all positions.
It was bad enough that the general manager Peter Chiarelli traded for depth that is often currently sitting in the press box, — he has repeatedly done so — but injuries have hampered the team he’s tried to put together and his lack of cap management has created a situation where he needs to be increasingly cautious about future moves.
Ironically, one of the potential fixes for the roster might be in looking at some old familiar faces that used to play for the Oilers. In an attempt to better the cap and improve the depth, Chiarelli he moved out some useful pieces and actually made things worse. Is it possible to go back in time? Not often, but in the Oilers particular case… maybe.
The latest out of St. Louis is that the team is expected to ask Maroon to waive his no-trade clause that, today, is a full no-trade, but on January 31st, becomes a modified no-trade. Maroon has struggled in St. Louis after signing with his hometown for much less than he was originally seeking in free agency. While the idea was for Maroon to have a good season and the Blues to offer an extension, now, they aren’t likely to keep him and Maroon has always spoken highly of his time in Edmonton.
There will be arguments the game is too fast for Maroon but it really hasn’t slowed so much that he can’t rekindle some of the magic he had with Connor McDavid. And, if that doesn’t happen, he’s making a small enough salary that putting him in the bottom six isn’t prohibitive by a cost standpoint. He’s certainly an improvement over the lack of any scoring the Oilers are currently getting in that role.
If Maroon is told he’s going to be traded and controlling where he’s going is important to him, perhaps Maroon, the Blues, and the Oilers can all get together and work something out. GM Doug Armstrong wants to make a change in St. Louis and he might even be willing to take a contract back to facilitate the move.
Eberle is not likely a realistic option for the Oilers this season. He’s making $6 million in the final year of his current contract and the Islanders are not likely to trade him for a big contract in return, especially when they are on the bubble of being a playoff team and Eberle can still score. There’s also the fact that he’s publicly stated playing in Edmonton is a challenge because everyone is under such a large microscope. All that said, he’s going to take a hit on his salary next season and the Oilers know this player.
In Edmonton, Eberle put up multiple 20-goal seasons and is still one of the better percentage scorers in the last half a dozen seasons in the NHL. That’s nothing to sneeze and if Edmonton decided to offer him a bit more than another team, there might be a fit there. Could Edmonton use a 20-goal man? Yes. Is he the best option out there to consistently provide that without concern? Maybe.
This is a free agency deal over the summer. He’s not likely to stay in New York.
If we were to ask the average Oilers fan if they’d prefer defenseman Brandon Davidson over any of the recent acquisitions the Oilers have made over the past two seasons, most would say yes. Davidson is hands-down a better option than Brandon Manning, Chris Wideman, Jason Garrison, Alex Petrovic, and Kevin Gravel, all who have turned out to be less than what Edmonton hoped they’d be. The crazy part is, over and over, Davidson has been available to the Oilers at no cost.
He’s been waived by the Chicago Blackhawks, he was brought in on a PTO and another tour through Edmonton wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen.
The trick for Edmonton here is that, one, they’ve already made a deal with the Blackhawks over the last couple weeks for a different blueliner and two, they’d have to move one or two of the surplus of defenders they currently employ.
Ask a lot of fans and they might not be able to tell you where former Oiler Magnus Paajarvi was even playing these days. He’s in Ottawa and in 41 games with the Senators has three goals and one assist. No, that’s not lighting the world on fire, but guess where that ranks for goals scored by depth forwards on the Oilers? …
A $900,000 salary on a one-year deal should have been the type of contract Edmonton was looking at instead of the contracts they picked up that had term left (like Ryan Spooner).
There was a time that Paajarvi was looked at as one of the bright young forwards in Edmonton. There’s a chance he’s still got some game left and perhaps enough to test the waters for the remainder of this season. We know Ottawa is making moves and who knows what they’d be willing to take back to get a contract off their hands and give themselves some space to make other trades.
Speaking of Spooner, Ryan Strome has nine points in 23 games for the Rangers since being sent there by the Oilers. Four of those nine points are goals and the reason he was moved in the first place was that he couldn’t score. All day long and twice on Sunday the Oilers would take that trade back in a heartbeat.
It isn’t going to happen, and I’m not suggesting the Oilers should seek out this player but I thought it would be fun (and painful) to point this one out for Oilers fans. It still hurts.
Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.
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