Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli told Oilers Now on Thursday that the team is targeting a couple of centers to come into camp on a professional tryout deal (PTO). Chief among the players that are being targeted may be former Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards.
“Yeah, we’ve extended one offer and we haven’t had an answer yet and we have a couple of other guys that we may extend an offer to,” Chiarelli said. “It’s not that we’re bringing in someone to just fill a spot while guys are at the World Cup. We’ve targeted a couple that have certain attributes that we feel could help us. And we would want to have a look at them on a trial basis, and there’s a legitimate chance for them to make our team and help our team.”
Chiarelli didn’t offer any names under consideration, but Bob Stauffer and Jack Michaels noted after the interview that Todd McLellan may be interested in Richards. Michaels outlined a depth chart where both Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl would be given heavy minutes in the top-six, which could mean Draisaitl shifts to wing.
The team has solid center depth, but in that scenario, they may need to find a fourth-line center. That assessment dovetails nicely with Chiarelli saying that they’re looking at centers.
The Edmonton Journal’s David Staples notes that because of Michaels’s insider status, the way he posited the Richards scenario could mean that McLellan is interested in Richards and that there’s some weight to the speculation.
Richards most recently played for the Washington Capitals after having his contract terminated by the Kings. There he posted just two goals and five points through 39 games. He played all 12 postseason contests with the Caps, but did not record a point. McLellan would be very familiar with Richards’s game after coaching the San Jose Sharks throughout Richards’s best years with the Kings.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.