From First to Last: Roy Embracing Move to Oilers

He went from the league’s number one team to the basement dwellers of the NHL and it couldn’t have worked out any better for Derek Roy.

The 31-year-old Roy has just played seven games with the Oilers and already he seems to be fitting in perfectly with his new club. The second-round pick in 2001, has six points in his first handful of games with the team and after it looked like he might be coming towards the end of his career, a new environment has lit a fire under him.

Counting Down the Days in Nashville

The Nashville Predators traded the Ottawa native to the Oilers in return for 26-year-old right wing Mark Arcobello on December 29. The move came after the Predators had placed Roy on waivers with the intention of sending him down to their American Hockey League affiliate in Milwaukee. The forward cleared waivers, but was then sent to the Oilers in the deal 24 hours later.

Roy signed with the Predators this off-season as a free agent and early on it looked as though things were not working out with the team. The Buffalo Sabres draft pick, had just one goal and 10 points in 26 games with the Preds and was struggling to chip in offensively for the club. In fact Roy didn’t score his first and only goal for Nashville until his 18th game with the team, the marker coming during the Preds 9-2 shelling of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The goal was also his 500th point of his career. But despite the milestone, things were not working out and prior to the team’s decision to waive the centre, it became apparent his role on the team was not vital. During his final three games in a Nashville uniform, Roy saw ice-times of 2:45, 9:22, and just 7:37 in his final contest. During the team’s game on December 13, where he played just 2:45, Roy only took four shifts for the team.

Embracing the Opportunity

Now with the Oilers, Roy’s lowest ice-time has been 10:38 in a game against the Calgary Flames on New Year’s Eve, but has seen as much as 17:04, which came in the team’s January 6 contest versus the Detroit Red Wings.

Roy has walked into the second-line centre position playing alongside Nail Yakupov and Benoit Pouliot and has even been strategically placed on the point for the team’s second power play unit. And though it is hard to say that the team is doing better with Roy in the lineup, the fact is the team is 3-2-2 since the trade.

The Edmonton Oilers have gone 3-2-2 since the Roy trade. (Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports)
The Edmonton Oilers have gone 3-2-2 since the Roy trade. (Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports)

Oilers Better with Roy

The last place Oilers, have taken out some pretty stiff competition, beating the former Cup champs, Los Angeles, the New York Islanders, who sit a point out of first place in the Eastern Conference, and the Chicago Blackhawks. Pretty impressive considers the Oilers have grabbed eight of their 29 points and three of their 10 wins this season during the seven games Roy has been in the lineup.

One area for concern could be that Roy has only mustered three shots against in his time with the Oilers, though on the other hand two of the three shots have found the back of the net. Quality versus quantity I guess.

Roy is in no way the saviour of the Edmonton Oilers, not that many people would have that in mind anyway. The team still has many issues and upgrades they need to make, but in the meantime it looks like Edmonton has at least been a bright light for Roy whose time in the NHL looked to be in jeopardy just three weeks ago.