With today’s waiver pickup (Luke Gozdic) the Edmonton Oilers have sent a clear message about how they see the roster:
- Will Acton is the 4C
- The club is happy to try out Mark Arcobello in the Gagner role until the Nuge returns.
There was a veteran, more established version of Acton available (Adam Hall) and they passed on him. That’s a major tell, it really is. The Edmonton Oilers have now sent down Anton Lander and passed on a veteran in favor of Acton. He’s absolutely going to play this season on the 4line unless things go very wrong. They also passed on Luke Adam, and that’s a bigger surprise for me because he’s in the age range of the cluster. However, MacT said the other night on tsn during the broadcast they were content to roll with this group and that has been the case.
OTHER THINGS WE NOW KNOW
- Steve MacIntyre is hurt. Picking up Gazdic means MacIntyre is very likely heading to the IR.
- Ryan Hamilton and Phil Larsen on waivers is explained by coach Eakins: “It’s about saving cap space and that’s the way we have to go about it… we selfishly hope they clear.”
- We’re extremely likely to see two enforcer types on the 4line every night. The club is apparently moving forward with all of Gazdic, Eager and Brown as their 11-13 forwards, meaning Will Acton will get a steady group of big men on his line.
- The 4th line is unlikely to play much. 4 minutes for the enforcers, that plus PK time/faceoffs for Acton. Very limited roles.
- The Oilers will employ their skill players on the penalty kill.
I’m not certain if Ryan Hamilton and Phil Larsen will be sent down if they clear. Edmonton’s current group of wingers (without Hamilton and with MacIntyre hurt) numbers only 9 (Smyth-Hemsky, Perron-Eberle, Joensuu-Yakupov, Gazdec-Brown, Eager) and with 4 centers that’s 13 players. If the club doesn’t IR Grebeshkov they can run one player short, keep Hamilton, keep Larsen, or pluck someone from waivers.
It’s been a bizarre week.
AVAILABLE ON WAIVERS
- L Darrell Powe: Works hard, provides energy and is a solid defensive forward. Can play both center and wing. Is aggressive and hard to knock off the puck, due to a strong lower base. Is plenty versatile.
- D Colby Robak: Insane he’s on waivers. This is a pretty good hockey player here, not terribly physical but he can move the puck.
- R Dana Tyrell: Brings plenty of speed and tenacity to the arena every night, and he works as hard as anyone. Is a sound penalty-killer and energy player. Can play any forward position.
- R Nick Johnson: Has a great work ethic and some scoring ability. Also understands the defensive side of hockey. Can use his size effectively to create space.
- F Cory Emmerton: Has sound instincts for the game and two-way ability. Can play either center or wing with equal effectiveness. Is a very cerebral player in all three zones.
- C Patrice Cormier: Is ultra-aggressive. Has great size, outstanding defensive instincts and some offensive upside. Uses his body well in a checking capacity, as well as to win battles in the corners. Can play center and wing.
- D Jeff Schultz: Not my kind of player, but massive wingspan and with the Oilers looking for toughness he might end up here.
- D Korbinian Holzer: Big defender who can move the puck and play a physical game. Eakins will know him.
I won’t guess which player the Oilers might take with a waiver claim tomorrow (they may do nothing) and I suspect this might be the opening night roster.
PROJECTED OPENING NIGHT 23 MAN ROSTER
- L1: Hall-Smyth-Hemsky
- L2: Arcobello-Perron-Eberle
- L3: Gordon-Joensuu-Yakupov
- L4: Acton-Gazdic-Brown
- extras: L Ben Eager, L S MacIntyre
- D1: Smid-Petry
- D2: Ference-J Schultz
- D3: N Schultz-Belov
- extra: D Denis Grebeshkov
- SG: Devan Dubnyk
- BG: Jason LaBarbera
- IR: C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C Sam Gagner, D Corey Potter