Over the last several years, the Oilers have often made decisions based on the waiver-eligibility of their players. People like me tend to mock the Oilers for doing this since most guys that you're willing to expose aren't very good hockey players, but the reality is that sometimes a guy will get claimed, so if you're going to expose a player, you'd best be okay with that result. Two years ago, the Oilers lost Rob Schremp to the New York Islanders and Steve MacIntyre to the Florida Panthers. Today, they lost Taylor Chorney - co-star of "The Shift" - to the St. Louis Blues.
The impact on the Oilers is pretty insignificant, and perhaps slightly positive. Losing a marginal player for nothing isn't any big loss, especially since it gives the Oilers a bit more flexibility to make trades with other teams (they're now back down to 48 pro contracts). The Oilers have five left-handed defenders on the roster without Chorney, so his short term prospects didn't look bright, and with Ryan Whitney, Ladislav Smid, and Theo Peckham all firmly entrenched in Edmonton, there wasn't going to be room for Chorney at the NHL level over the medium term either. And at twenty-four, Chorney isn't a prospect, so he's not an important piece in the long term either.
The impact on the Barons is huge. Last season, Chorney was used mostly as a shut-down defender, and a 7-0 loss on opening night suggests to me that his services may have been needed. With Chorney gone, Corey Potter up with the Oilers, and Taylor Fedun done for the year, the Barons are already down three defenders. The six defenders they used on Sunday? Johan Motin, Kirill Tulupov, Bryan Helmer, Ryan Lowery, Colten Teubert, and Alex Plante. Chorney being gone moves each of these guys up the depth chart, so I guess that's great news for them, but my oh my is that ever thin.
The impact on Chorney is clearly positive. In order to retain his rights, the Blues will either need to keep Chorney on the roster for thirty days or play him in ten NHL games (should the Blues waive Chorney without meeting either the 10-game or 30-day threshold, the Oilers will have "first dibs" on him as an AHLer if no other team claims him). Either way, he'll likely be staying in the NHL for about a month, which is big financially and is a big plus for his career as an NHL player. That said, it's hard to see how Chorney is going to beat any of the Blues' starting six for a job, so he'll likely be the seventh defenseman until Carlo Colaiacovo recovers from his
concussion upper-body injury. When Colaiacovo gets back, Chorney will need to hope that either someone else is hurt - never a nice thing to hope for - or that the Blues will carry eight defensemen.