On Saturday, Elliotte Friedman has a quick note on the Oilers. Elliotte reports “One thing I do think the Oilers are looking at is some depth forwards who are edgy or can grind a little bit. There’s a feeling that since Evander Kane is out that they’re easy to play against… can they find a budget player or two that can make a difference…”
Interesting. It’s been out there that the Oilers were in on Ryan Reaves before he was sent to Minnesota. While I don’t believe the Oilers should pursue this particular type of player, it is evident that Ken Holland wants to beef up his team. Overall, I’m shocked the Oilers didn’t place a claim on either Wayne Simmonds or Zach Sanford when they were placed on waivers a week or so ago. Nonetheless, here are two hypothetical candidates that fit the gritty player description Elliotte is talking about.
Sadly, I believe Flyers forward Zack MacEwan is currently the most likely candidate. The enforcer is 11th in the league in hits/60 with 1.25. He already has two fights this season and 23 career regular-season fights. There is no doubt MacEwan is a physical first player, but the Oilers desperately need a boost in depth scoring from their bottom six, a skill Zack lacks. In 150 NHL games, he has recorded a total of 25 points. That’s not NHL caliber. If the Oilers want to add a player who brings a sense of an edge, the team will need him to chip in offensively. MacEwan does not.
Max Domi should be the player the Oilers are targeting. He’s a less frequent hitter, only six this season, but he’s tenacious on the forecheck and has 13 fights in his career. He’s been an excellent fit in Chicago thus far with 14 points in 21 games and will definitely be dealt as a rental. At a cap hit of $3m, the Oilers could make a deal with Chicago where the Blackhawks retain 50% of Domi’s salary, lowering his cost to $1.5m.
However, a deal for Domi would need to wait until the deadline, and the Oilers are searching for a move soon. Thus, a trade with Chicago is unlikely, especially because Kane’s impending return from LTIR will increase the Oilers’ cap woes. Nonetheless, this is the player that would excel on a team with McDavid.
We should get our answer on who the Oilers are targeting soon. A few other players that come to mind are Garnet Hathaway, Tanner Jeannot, and Sammy Blais. What are your thoughts on the Oilers’ plans? Who would you like to see Edmonton target?
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