Earlier on Sunday, the Edmonton Oilers traded Chris Wideman and a conditional third-round draft pick to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Alex Petrovic. Most of the fanbase in Edmonton seemed content with the move, despite knowing it wasn’t a trade likely to move the needle much in Edmonton.
The second trade the Oilers made on Sunday didn’t have quite the same favorable response. The Edmonton Oilers traded Drake Caggiula and Jason Garrison to the Chicago Blackhawks for Brandon Manning and Swedish defenseman Robin Norell.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) December 30, 2018
The Addition of Brandon Manning
Clearly, the Oilers didn’t think they’d done enough on their blue line to ensure they had what they needed to stop the goals being scored against them over this five-game losing streak they’re currently on. Adding Manning is adding a player that could add depth to their blue line, even though he’s struggled in Chicago this season and the Blackhawks have been looking to move him almost since the start of the 2018-19 campaign.
Perhaps, what’s most interesting about this trade is not what Manning brings in terms of on-ice production, but what he brings in terms of history with the Oilers. For those who recall, Manning is the same player who shortened Connor McDavid’s first season in the NHL with an errant trip that sent the Oilers star center into the boards, breaking his shoulder. Manning later admitted purposely trying to take out McDavid — a comment that hasn’t been forgotten to this day among the Oilers fanbase and one that had McDavid more upset than at any other time in his NHL career.
There will be immediate questions about how that relationship will work, even though it should be expected that McDavid will be nothing but professional and welcome Manning to the team. If Manning can help the team turn this slump around, perhaps all will be forgotten. Mark Spector wrote, “Chiarelli received Connor McDavid’s blessing on adding the D-man involved in the collission that broke McDavid’s collarbone back in 2016.”
The Oilers also picked up Swedish blueliner Norell, who at 23 years old, plays for Djurgardens in the Swedish Hockey League, where he has appeared in 27 games, posting three assists, 14 penalty minutes and a +1 plus-minus rating. It is not expected that Norell will join the Oilers at this time.
Caggiula and Garrison Out
In the move, the Oilers sent forward Drake Caggiula and defenseman Jason Garrison to Chicago. Garrison was not an everyday NHL player, having made the team on a professional tryout, but Caggiula was one of the Oilers few bottom-six forwards actually producing on a semi-regular basis. He was also a close friend of McDavid’s.
The Oilers believed that their defense was lacking to the point that moving a forward who was offering some production was worth the risk. A college signing, Caggiula showed glimpses of scoring prowess but couldn’t consistently put it all together over. Whether Edmonton has another plan to replace Caggiula or will look to young call-ups like Kailer Yamamoto to fill the gap is unknown. Some in Edmonton are suggesting the team might not be done.
The Oilers Next Move
If the Oilers are done making trades on Sunday, they’ve added two depth defensemen and moved a top-nine forward and an irregular NHL’er to acquire them. Many in Edmonton will contend it’s not enough to change the fortunes of a team that has lost five games in a row.
Do the Oilers have a plan will all these depth defenders or is the idea to try and win by committee, hoping depth guys will be enough to sway the fortunes of a team that has struggled of late.
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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