The Oilers announced on Monday that they have signed 27-year-old French defenceman Yohann Auvitu to a one-year deal for the 2017-18 season.
Auvitu, who plays the left side, split time between the New Jersey Devils, and their affiliates in Albany in 2016-17. Prior to that, Auvitu had played in Finland’s SM-liiga from 2010 to 2016.
Auvitu made a positive influence on shot-attempts while he was on the ice in the NHL last season. Per HockeyAnalysis.com, Auvitu had a CF%RelTM of +3.1, meaning that the teammates with whom he most often shared the ice with, often had better shot-based on-ice results with Auvitu, as opposed to when they were separated.
Couple that with an Opponents’ CF% of 50.0%, and Auvitu’s Adjusted Corsi% was 53.1, quite a bit better than the league average of 50. Although it is worth noting that Auvitu was on the ice for nearly twice as many offensive zone starts as defensive zone starts.
Nevertheless, Auvitu was a net-positive, even after adjusting for zone starts, and he was particularly strong at suppressing opponents’ shot quantity. But, with barely over 300 minutes of even strength play in his NHL career, the sample is still quite small to be deeming Auvitu a known commodity.
Based on his career history, Auvitu could be characterized as an AHL/NHL “tweener”. Ideally he could play his way onto the roster and contribute at the NHL level, but at the very least he should help guide a mostly inexperienced AHL blueline in Bakersfield.
With the likes of Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones, Mark Fayne, Ryan Mantha, Dillion Simpson, Keegan Lowe and Ziyat Paigin set to begin next season in Bakersfield, the addition of Auvitu means that one of the aforementioned players will likely see time in Wichita next season, once Sekera returns to the Oilers’ lineup, if not sooner.