Keeping Derek Roy Not The Worst Thing The Oilers Could Do

With another season winding down in Edmonton and another wait for the NHL Entry Draft the Oilers find themselves headed back to the drawing board to prep for the 2015-16 seasons. With the uncertain futures of captain Andrew Ference, Nikita Nikitin and Jeff Petry among others, one of the no-brainer decisions would be to re-sign center Derek Roy to a one-year extension this off-season.

Now before Oiler fans try and light their screens on fire while reading this, give this a listen.

So why would the Oilers extend the guy who couldn’t put together points with the league leading Nashville Predators and was eventually waived in late-December?

Easy, the team has no better options out there at the moment that are logical for both the short-term and long-term needs for the franchise.

What about Leon Draisaitl?

Draisaitl, 19, is a great talent the Oilers have in their system and will eventually lock into one of the spots in the top-six. Yes – Draisaitl could end up playing on the wing depending on who the Oilers draft this summer in the first round and it wouldn’t be the worst thing either.

The problem however is the Oilers inexperience up and down the lineup and Draisaitl being a key contributor to the problems the Oilers faced in the first half of the season, whether it was his fault or not. The 2014 3rd overall selection struggled in his time with the main roster before finally being put out of his misery at the 37th game of the season. Draisaitl registered just 9 points in the season under former head coach Dallas Eakins averaging just 12:42 TOI.

Now back in junior he’s been traded to the WHL Kelowna Rockets who are poised for a deep run and possible 2015 Memorial Cup berth with Draisaitl playing valuable minutes in that pressure cooker. In 21 games this season Draisaitl has already amassed 35 points and has been a welcome addition to the Rockets. Regardless what happens at the end of the season, Draisaitl will should either return to the Rockets as a 20-year-old import of join the AHL Bakersfield Oilers.

The reason is that the Oilers management is finally seeing it through that they have rushed far too many prospects into the NHL with mixed reviews and dwindling performance. Nail Yakupov for example, another Oilers forward that was rushed into the NHL managed just 4 goals and 8 points in the first 31 games of the season under Eakins. Throw into it numerous cold streaks including a stretch where he had 1 point in 21 games and there you have a supporting case.

For those of you at home wondering the longest dwindling run for Draisaitl was a 1 point in 12 game stretch in November.

Give him some time.

But The Oilers Will Draft McDavid or Eichel…

For all the fans out there that are dead set on the idea that the Oilers will draft either of the two future generational superstars in Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel — will they?

The draft lottery process has changed folks. Gone are the good ol’ days where tanking all but guaranteed you a top 2 selection. Say goodbye to the hopes of pulling a 1984 Pittsburgh Penguins swan dive to the bottom of the standings and getting rewarded with a Mario Lemieux. The new process sees the Oilers odds of landing the first overall pick drop from 18.8% to just 13.5%. For all you mathletes out there thats a 86.5% chance the Oilers don’t draft a sure thing in McDavid or even an Eichel.

The better chance is out there for someone else in the field not named the Buffalo Sabres or Edmonton Oilers to win the McDavid sweepstakes. Which means if for example hell freezes over and the Toronto Maple Leafs end up drafting McDavid, the Sabres would get the 2nd overall pick and use it on Eichel which bumps the Oilers to the 3rd overall pick where they will be looking at defenseman Noah Hanifin and centers Dylan Strome and Mitch Marner.

Taking Hanifin doesn’t solve the 2C issue and drafting Strome or Marner is great for the future but rushing them into the NHL does nothing for the team now.

Draisaitl 2.0 if you’ll call it that.

So We Just Give Up & Re-Sign Roy?

It’s not like the Oilers are sitting on the couch looking over at Derek Roy while watching TV and saying you know what good enough and settling like many middle-aged men do with their wives.

Roy, 31, is slowly becoming one of Todd Nelson’s most trusted forwards in terms of ice-time here. Either that or Nelson is in on the take and doping us all and helping the Oilers showcase Roy prior to the trade deadline. Roy’s gone from playing a season low 7:37 TOI under Peter Laviolette in Nashville, to playing a season high 21:25 TOI with Nelson against the Anaheim Ducks on February 21st.

It’s hard to find a veteran player that fits into the fold and can be a good example for the youth in Edmonton as the team develops. Roy knows his role with the Oilers is to be that veteran presence upfront and has done well thus far. He’s been an underscored reason for Yakupov’s resurgence in the second half of the season and has even got Benoit Pouliot rolling as of late. Anton Lander is another forward that has benefitted from the addition of Roy into the lineup as his linemate. Lander who has struggled to gain traction with the Oilers who were close to trading him last summer, now suddenly has new life.

It’s not like Roy has dried up when it comes to scoring top-six numbers. Sure he’s far from the player career-high 81 points he scored in 2007-08 with the Sabres, but he’s still a valuable player in the right spot that won’t exactly cost you an arm and a leg.

The Cool Kids Call Him A Bargain…

It’s not possible to write a piece about Roy without covering what a disaster he has been the last few seasons capped with a 26 game 10 point stay in Nashville that ended in him being waived before a trade to Edmonton in exchange for Mark Arcobello. Arcobello went to Nashville, to Pittsburgh and now Arizona. Next week he’ll probably be playing for Boston and before the trade deadline get picked up by Columbus on waivers only to be then traded to Winnipeg.

To wrap it up trading Roy would only create another hole in the lineup. We all know what Roy’s value is and it definitely won’t get the Oilers a 1st, 2nd or 3rd round pick in the upcoming draft. He’s a placeholder until one of Draisaitl, Strome, Marner, Bogdan Yakimov or Greg Chase emerge as a future second-line center ready to play meaningful NHL minutes.

Until then Derek Roy for $1.5-2M on a one-year deal isn’t the worst thing the Oilers could do this off-season.