The Edmonton Oilers are in the market for nastiness. It began at the AHL level with Antti Tyrväinen, who has gotten quite the reputation in Finland. It continued earlier today with the signing of crazy-man Ben Eager. Now the Oilers have added pugilist Darcy Hordichuk to the mix with a one-year deal that will pay him $825,000. This might feel a bit inconsistent to those who read my thoughts on Eager, but I think this deal stinks.
One of the main reasons that I liked the Ben Eager signing was that (I thought) it meant that we were past having enforcer who was a huge detriment to the team every time he stepped on the ice. I was wrong. With Darcy Hordichuk on board, that player has returned. And oddly enough, he plays the exact same position as Eager, which means that there won't be room for him in the lineup, unless one of those two plays his off-wing on the fourth line: NHL enforcers are uniformly poor players, but NHL enforcers playing out of position can be really, really poor players, especially when they play for a team that might have a hard time giving them the shelter they need.
That's really the bottom line. The Oilers have no need for Darcy Hordichuk. They just signed an enforcer, so they didn't need that. They brought in three left-wingers with a shot at the NHL (Smyth, Eager, and Petrell) to go with Hall, Paajarvi, and Hartikainen, so they didn't need more guys on the left side either. They do need a guy who can take faceoffs, and guys who can PK, and guys who can handle anything but the dregs at evens, but Hordichuk can't do any of those things.
Then again, maybe the Oilers saw this poll, and have decided that it's worth a shot. Two enforcers with five instigator penalties each could make for an interesting season. Long live the Birmingham Bulls!