Interesting news today from Bob McKenzie via Twitter:
Expect EDM to be on lookout for a heavyweight fighter. Currently without that element but GM MacTavish and HC Eakins believe it's required.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) September 11, 2013
McKenzie's tweet comes as a surprise to long-time Oilers's fans, as Craig MacTavish wasn't a proponent of dressing a goon during his days as a coach. The team has Mike Brown on the roster, and Cam Abney at the ECHL level, but since parting ways with Darcy Hordichuk this summer, the conventional wisdom said Brown would be the resident brawler in Edmonton.
Pickings are slim, however in the heavyweight class. Brawlers like Matt Clackson and Jamal Mayers are readily available, but players in the mold of Colton Orr or Brian MacGrattan, except for Hordichuk, aren't available, and trading for those types of players is generally avoided.
A move like this brings some confusion to the bottom of the depth chart, specifically slots 12 and 13, and leads to questions about Mike Brown's future. If MacTavish does obtain a goon, Brown becomes redundant and will likely be sent out to Oklahoma City, though the Barons already employ Ben Eager and Todd Nelson doesn't seem predisposed to wasting multiple roster spots on players who aren't primarily interested in being hockey players. Note that Darcy Hordichuk found himself a healthy scratch in Oklahoma City more often than not after being sent down last season.
Update: McKenzie's info may be fuzzy:
#Oilers Dallas Eakins wants toughness but not convinced his team needs a "gunslinger." He'd also want enforcer who can play, not just fight.— Joanne Ireland (@jirelandEJ) September 11, 2013
This makes the quest nearly impossible. Enforcers who can player are incredibly rare and haven't been a real thing in the NHL for a very long time. MacTavish may not be able to fulfill this requirement from Eakins.