Tuesday, December 30, 2014


After watching the roster he put together win exactly one game over what was essentially a quarter of the 2014-15 season, Edmonton Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish decided the time had finally come to start making some changes. 

While yo-yoing the likes of Keith Aulie, Brandon Davidson, Brad Hunt, Oscar Klefbom, Anton Lander, Martin Marincin, Iiro Pakarinen, Steve Pinizzotto, Tyler Pitlick and Bogdan Yakimov between the Alberta capital and Oklahoma City was all well and good, none of those moves helped this team win more hockey games. 

So with a 1-14-6 mark over the club’s past twenty-one games staring him in the face, MacTavish felt the need to look outside the organization for answers. Unfortunately, the chances of either one of Matt Fraser or Derek Roy having much in the way of impact on this lineup are slim and none. 

While taking a shot on a player with Fraser’s skill-set is by no means a bad bet, as he has proven capable to be capable of scoring goals at the Western and American Hockey League levels. However, at twenty-four years of age he has been unable to translate that success into anything more than spot duty with both the Dallas Stars and Boston Bruins. 

Could the Red Deer native make the most of this opportunity and win himself a job as an everyday National Hockey League player? Perhaps but banking on him being anything other than a spare part would seem to be rather foolish. With that said, swapping out Pinizzotto for Fraser is a no-brainer but as usual, expectations have to be kept in check. 

While plucking Fraser off waivers from the Bruins made some sense, the acquisition of Roy from the Nashville Predators made absolutely none. If this organization truly believed in the player, they could have easily signed him to the very same one year deal that Nashville inked him to over the summer. 

His lack of size, foot speed and greatly diminished point totals left him as someone MacT had no real interest in brining on board. Considering the Preds put him on waivers and not a single soul placed a claim on him, despite a number of teams in dire need of help down the middle of the rink, clearly their concerns were more than warranted. 

Yet here we sit in late December and the Oilers have decided to bring in the former eighty- point man to help fill their need for a second line centre. Problem being, they are not acquiring that Derek Roy. Instead, they brought in a player who has scored once and collected all of ten points during his brief stint with the Predators, to replace Mark Arcobello and his seven goals and twelve points. 

While those within the organization will throw around words like “experience” and “leadership” when it comes to the long-time Buffalo Sabre, the Oilers already have players currently on the roster who bring those things to the table in Andrew Ference, Boyd Gordon, Matt Hendricks and to a lesser degree, Benoit Pouliot. 

None of those guys are capable of contributing as a top six forward or top three defenceman at this stage of their careers and that is type of player this group desperately needs. Unfortunately for them, Roy is in the same exact boat. There is no question that Arcobello is borderline NHL player but the same could be said for the former 2001 second round pick and the fact the former is on a cheaper ticket and five years younger, the move is a rather perplexing one. 

The Edmonton will be the sixth different team Roy has suited up for since 2012 and has seen his point totals essentially regress in each and every one of those stops. Clearly management needed to do something but at best, this was nothing more than lateral move…which is something this organization has come to specialize in since Craig MacTavish took over as general manager. 

With that said, standing pat was not option but neither was going out and trying to truly improve this lineup. And who knows, with any luck, we could possibly see Magnus Paajarvi back in the fold by Tuesday afternoon but something tells me that is a road, regrettably, they will not go down. 

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