The trade deadline has come and gone, and it is possible now to reflect on the moves made by the Edmonton Oilers this season. The team clearly focused on acquiring draft picks to continue to strengthen their rebuild and bring in new young talent, but are still missing second and third round picks in the upcoming draft. The Oilers gave up their third round pick to the LA Kings when they traded for Ben Scrivens in January. The team lost veteran leadership by trading both Ales Hemsky and Nick Schultz at the deadline, but their goaltending situation appears much improved.
What did the Oilers do at the deadline?
Ales Hemsky for Fifth Round (2014) and Third Round (2015) Picks
For now, the Hemsky trade is a hard one to judge. Ales Hemsky had four assists for his new team, the Ottawa Senators, on Saturday, raising questions about whether the Oilers could have gotten more in return. As an Unrestricted Free Agent in the spring, the Oilers wanted to make sure that Hemsky didn’t walk away without anything in return. Hemsky was once the best forward for the Oilers, but injuries in recent years resulted in dropped offensive production. The time had come for Hemsky to move on, but what he brings in return still remains to be seen. A team in a rebuild always needs draft picks.
Nick Schultz for a Fifth Round Pick
Nick Schultz brought veteran leadership and experience to a young blue line when the Oilers picked him up from the Minnesota Wild in 2011. Oilers’ General Manager Craig MacTavish said he wanted to clear roster space for prospects to come try their hand in the NHL, and moving Schultz to the Columbus Blue Jackets did just that. Like Hemsky, Schultz is a UFA at the season’s end.
Ilya Bryzgalov for a Fourth Round Pick
Goaltending has definitely been a contentious topic for the Oilers this year. Ilya Bryzgalov was never a long term solution for the Oiler’s goaltending problems. He came in to help a struggling Devan Dubnyk, and certainly created healthy competition with Ben Scrivens. His role with the team was ultimately done, and he only signed a contract for one year. The Minnesota Wild needed a goalie, and Bryzgalov was a good fit for the team. The Oilers got what they needed from Bryzgalov, who finished his Oilers’ career strongly.
Fifth Round Pick for Viktor Fasth
The constant turnover of goalies in Edmonton will hopefully be over soon, with Ben Scrivens signed to a two year deal. The Oilers dealt one of their fifth round draft picks to pick up Viktor Fasth from the Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim had a wealth of goaltending this year, and they were definitely sellers at the deadline. Fasth comes in to take on what will likely become a 1b role with Scrivens, as both goalies have relatively little experience at the NHL level.
In the end, the Oilers may not have made the bold moves that some might be looking for, but the team is improving. Goaltending especially will have a strong new look to start the 2014-2015 season, along with some great talent moving up the ranks.
I have gained experience writing for the sports section of The Gateway, the campus newspaper for the University of Alberta and blogging for puckrant.com. I am completing my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, with aspirations to try my hand at sports writing for a career.