OILERS FLUSH RAJALA

The Edmonton Oilers made an unusual move this morning, placing prospect Toni Rajala on waivers for the purpose of buying him out. The head scratching move appears to be a reaction to the player’s request to play back home in Europe (Finland?) and the organization’s desire to clear him from their 50-man list. It seemed like just this morning I was singing his praises!

I had Rajala at #9 on the summer top 30, and logic would have dictated that the young Finn would have played a major role in OKC, possibly even receiving a callup to the NHL. In the blink of an eye, his Oiler career is over. Strange.

lane2

The only way I can make sense of this transaction:

  1. Rajala requested that he play this coming season in Europe (Jim Matheson tweeted this out earlier today)
  2. The Oilers had no plans to re-sign him after this season

I don’t agree with the idea that Rajala has no NHL potential, and am surprised the Oilers made this move. It does give us an indication (I believe) that the organization is going to be bigger at the AHL level this coming season. The wingers slotted for AHL employment this fall are below with height and weight:

  • Ben Eager 6.02 236
  • Ryan Hamilton 6.02 230
  • Eric Lizon 6.04 225*
  • Curtis Hamilton 6.02 214
  • Austen Fyten 6.02 210*
  • Ryan Martindale 6.03 207
  • Kale Kessy 6.03 202
  • Cameron Abney 6.05 200
  • Tyler Pitlick 6.02 196
  • Jujhar Khaira 6.03 195
  • Travis Ewanyk 6.02 192
  • Derek Nesbitt 6.00 185*

Lizon, Fyten and Nesbitt are on AHL (Baron) contracts, but the rest of the wingers above will be Oilers/Barons should they survive training camp cuts this fall. The Oiler adds over the summer (Ryan Hamilton, Kale Kessy, Jujhar Khaira, Travis Ewanyk) are all physical players and that does appear to be a focus for the Barons this year. Their centermen (Arcobello, Andrew Miller) are undersized but the wingers are going to be bigger this year.

If Matty’s tweet is true, if the young Rajala did indeed want to head back home to play (and for a bigger payday), I wonder if he regrets it now. My guess is no. Unlike Linus Omark, Rajala has his NHL freedom now and that could be a pretty lucrative item.

 

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27 Responses to "OILERS FLUSH RAJALA"

  1. commonfan14 says:

    “1.Rajala requested that he play this coming season in Europe”

    Whatever happened to, “Request Rejected.”?

  2. Магия¹º says:

    Why do you hate Rajala? Be careful who you feature next time.

  3. Lowetide says:

    commonfan14:
    “1.Rajala requested that he play this coming season in Europe”

    Whatever happened to, “Request Rejected.”?

    My guess is the Oilers felt “well, we have no plans anyway, let’s let him get on with his life.”

  4. Lowetide says:

    Магия¹º:
    Why do you hate Rajala? Be more careful who you feature next time.

    Lol. You’ll love my next feature: JORDAN EBERLE–KING OF THE WILD FRONTIER!

  5. Магия¹º says:

    commonfan14:
    “1.Rajala requested that he play this coming season in Europe”

    Whatever happened to, “Request Rejected.”?

    That’s for players with immediate trade value or longer contracts. Or Tweeters.

  6. Canadas Jamaican says:

    LT, is Khaira old enough for the AHL? I thought I remember him saying in an interview that it was Oilers or to the WHL…

  7. Магия¹º says:

    Only bright side. They missed their chance to keep him by paying the higher side of his 2 way contract … to sit in the pressbox. Not that that ever happens.

  8. Магия¹º says:
  9. Lowetide says:

    Canadas Jamaican: I think it’s still up in the air (unless I missed something).

  10. Ripoux says:

    Skilled kid but he’s not really an NHL 3-4 line type. He’s built for Europe. Oil have graduating players from junior who will need spots. I like the size and toughness coming in. We need the spots in OKC to have the players with sandpaper develop quickly to help the cluster.

    A mutual decision like this is good business. Managers have to do the right thing for their personnel as well as their orgs. Word catches on. Especially in light of the previous gaffs (Souray, Pronger).

    This seems to fit into the *larger picture.

    *pun intended

  11. wheatnoil says:

    The Oilers had no plans to re-sign him after this season

    Or they had no plans to sign him to a one-way contract and Rajala wasn’t going to sign anything but a one-way.

    Either way, I would’ve preferred them to loan him out. I’m not sure of the CBA rules on the matter, but I would assume if they could put him on unconditional waivers to terminate the contract now, they could do it later as well if they needed the spot on the 50-man list. As of now, it’s a waste of a draft pick, a waste of an asset, and weakens an already weak organizational area: young forward prospects.

  12. Zipdot says:

    wheatnoil: As of now, it’s a waste of a draft pick, a waste of an asset, and weakens an already weak organizational area: young forward prospects.

    From my perspective, that about sums it up.

    Anything more come out from Matheson or Stauffer about this on the twittersies?

  13. Racki says:

    Canadas Jamaican:
    LT, is Khaira old enough for the AHL? I thought I remember him saying in an interview that it was Oilers or to the WHL…

    I am under the impression that this is only an issue if you are DRAFTED into the CHL, which I assume isn’t the case here. Age should be irrelevant here. That said, I’d be shocked if he played anywhere other than the dub. One step at a time, imho

  14. spoiler says:

    I’d rather see the OIlers do this player a favour rather than keeping an unhappy man on the 50 man roster stirring up PR debacles. Smart move by MacT. And all the best to Rajala in Europe. He should hae a long and fruitful career there. And if things open up for him in the NHL 5 years down the line, hopefully this move earns a little loyalty.

  15. spoiler says:

    Just read that Matheson tweet and it looks like this was more a numbers game than a favour or any desire to lose him….

    Jim Matheson ‏@NHLbyMatty 4h

    rajala told Oil wanted to play EUR this year..Oil didn’t want to loan kid because already have Hartikainen in that boat. Reserve list Nos.

    If it was between Harksi and Rajala, I think they made the right choice.

  16. blackadder says:

    Easily the most talented forward in the system – who has had success at every level and met every challenge Oilers have given him, without any complaints as far as is known, and the Oilers release. If the only reason is that he asked to play in Europe, then this looks like a decision based on emotion rather than an analysis of how best to manage a quickly emerging talent. The Oilers need to understand that players have options they didn’t have five years ago, and responding to a request to play in Europe with a rash decision to release will only damage their ability to recruit in the future.

  17. Магия¹º says:

    Lowetide:
    Canadas Jamaican: I think it’s still up in the air (unless I missed something).

    Not as settled as I though it was. The only thing stopping him would be the agreement with the CHL about players drafted out of Junior. But can that count the CJHL?

  18. godot10 says:

    I’m going to see The Replacements on Sunday at Riotfest in Toronto. I really don’t care much about anything else at the moment.

    If The Replacements can play a reunion show (3 actually, the other two are next month in Chicago and Denver) after 22 years, then a lot of things in that NEVER thread could possibly happen.

    I never thought I would be able to cross a Replacements concert off the bucket list. I hope they got Paul Westerberg on the plane today.

  19. TheOtherJohn says:

    Definite proponent of getting bigger at forward. Not Coke machine big, but more physical type players but flushing a highly skilled albeit small kid (the highest skilled kid in the minor league system??) for nothing is puzzling.

    But MacT know what he’s doing …….. Right

    Do not want to get the LT’s hopes up but at this point in time could we use our suddenly open roster spot to resign MA Pouliot to play 4C? He’s slightly bigger than both Acton & Lander altho not physical but can actually score quite well at the AHL level. Unlike the other two. 1year $700K

  20. godot10 says:

    Rajala(‘s agent) goes to MacT and says his client is not going to re-sign next summer under any circumstances.

    What canyou (MacT) do?

    Fewer Europeans are going to be drafted in later rounds because of the KHL.

    The KHL means that it is better for a European to stay in Europe till 23 or 24, unless one is an elite prospect. You can set yourself up financially for life before crossing the Atlantic, and when you come over you can likely score a one way deal with no minor league time.

  21. pellmell says:

    Re: Khaira, I was at first also under the impression he was exempt from the CHL/NHL transfer agreement, but apparently the rules are the same for players drafted while playing in the BCHL, as Khaira technically was: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20130816/BLOG12/130819886/Jujhar-Khaira-coming-to-camp So, it would appear he is WHL-bound this season, barring a miracle at main camp.

    That aside, the point of OKC appearing to try to get bigger on the wings is still well-taken. I thought Bruce McCurdy made a good point as well, alluded to by other commenters here, that perhaps this is one example of MacTavish “weeding out the complainers” as he promised he would.

  22. bendelson says:

    godot10,

    Enjoy the show! I was listening to Let It Be just last night.
    Well done.G10.

  23. Dead Cat Bounce says:

    This likely foreshadows what will happen with Slepsheyev and Yakimov.

    Unless they can get immediate NHL playing time, they will likely stay in the KHL. (see Nichushkin for reference)

    Since it’s most likely they are best suited to top 6 roles, they are wasted draft picks.

    The AHL is becoming a far less attractive option as European leagues grow in importance.

  24. Lowetide says:

    Dead Cat Bounce:
    This likely foreshadows what will happen with Slepsheyev and Yakimov.

    Unless they can get immediate NHL playing time, they will likely stay in the KHL. (see Nichushkin for reference)

    Since it’s most likely they are best suited to top 6 roles, they are wasted draft picks.

    The AHL is becoming a far less attractive option as European leagues grow in importance.

    Absolutely. I’m not certain that’s a bad thing, though. If Slepyshev and Yakimov play in a strong KHL until 22 or 23, then come over I think the Oilers will benefit. Now, entry level deals will be an issue but once Lou in NJ cheats it’ll be league wide.

  25. supernova says:

    Lowetide: Absolutely. I’m not certain that’s a bad thing, though. If Slepyshev and Yakimov play in a strong KHL until 22 or 23, then come over I think the Oilers will benefit. Now, entry level deals will be an issue but once Lou inNJ cheats it’ll be league wide.

    “In Lou we trust”

    Also agreed I don’t think it’s really that bad of a thing for them to play in the KHL until they are ready to really contribute. Money on the contracts is a problem but we will see, lots can happen In a few years, in the NHL, KHL, and AHL.

    It could be quite possible we see the AHL like the CHL with very few Europeans on each team, and a couple overagers at good paycheques. The odd Euro sprinkled in, and only the Belov type Euro’s taking a crack at playing in the best league.

    With the amount of guys playing in the CHL and other junior leagues we could see more guys develop as there is more playing time.

  26. stevezie says:

    godot10,

    Best band I’ve discovered in at least five years. I regret the time I spent without them. I’m told that’s what it’s like when you meet your true love.

  27. Ribs says:

    Well….That’s poopy.

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