That is the sound of the clock counting down to tomorrow’s opening night roster deadline and there are still plenty of questions that need to be answered before the Edmonton Oilers finalize their roster.
Today’s waiving of Sam Gagner and Brandon Manning, along with the assignment of William Lagesson to the AHL, has shed more light on what the roster could look like but it hasn’t given us the definitive view quiet yet.
Fringe players like Patrick Russell, Colby Cave and Gaeten Haas are not yet locks to make the team and we are still not sure where Tomas Jurco and Joakim Nygard will factor into the equation. To add onto this confusion, we just got news this afternoon that, centerman, Riley Sheahan entered into the league’s concussion protocol yesterday, which will leave him off the roster for the next 7-10 days.
A flurry of decisions surrounding these decisions will have to be made by tomorrow’s deadline....but that isn’t the only thing that Ken Holland will be concerned with. Monday also seen a crop of quality players be placed on waivers from other teams across the league. The bulk of which are forwards who might prove to be valuable to Edmonton.
The Oilers currently have 48 contract in the organization, which means that they do have room to pick up two more players. Lets take a look at some of the more seductive options currently on the waiver wire:
The most interesting name on the waiver wire this morning was that of Josh Ho-Sang from the New York Islanders.
Ho-Sang, a former first-round pick from 2014, was once a highly touted NHL prospect that was expected to put up big numbers in the big leagues. Entering the draft scouts had high praise, saying “absolute wizard with the puck and his powerful strides are often enough to beat any defender when he really wants to” (source).
The only downside in his game, at the time, was a lack of consistency and a tendency to be a sort of puck-hog. Fast forward to the modern day and it seems that the negatives in his game have become much more pronounced than the positives.
To date he has only appeared in 53 games and has scored a grand total of 24pts. His on-ice struggles have also translated to off-ice issues as well, being the source of a few controversies since being drafted.
Despite all this, Ho-Sang is still considered to be a player that we have yet to see the best from. People who watch him play still see the potential for successful NHL career and think it is a matter of time before he finally figures it out.
A change of scenery is desperately needed for Ho-Sang and the Oilers could be the team that gives it to him. Edmonton is in dire need of skilled wingers and could potentially try their luck with Ho-Sang beside McDavid and Draisaitl.
By far the player with the most NHL experience on this list is that of Sven Baertschi, who finds himself displaced after spending the last 5 seasons with he Vancouver Canucks.
Long-time Oiler fans might remember Baertschi from his times as a Calgary Flame, where he once heralded as the future of that franchise, but he is now known as more of a middle 6 forward who can put up 30pts.
Baertschi is coming off a rough year in Vancouver last season, with injuries limiting him to only 26 games, but he still put up a respectable 14pts in that time. His experience and ability in the league still has value and, if it weren't for a sudden infusion of youth, Baertschi would most definitely be on Vancouver’s opening night lineup.
As I have already mentioned, Edmonton should always be in the market for improving their wings and Baertschi would be a more tried and tested option than that of Nygard, Chiasson, P. Russell, Khaira, Jurco, and Archibald.
The only problematic part of Baertchi would be the 3.3 million dollar cap-hit that he carries...but that space could be quickly cleared with the buried contracts of Manning and Gagner, as well as placing Kyle Brodziak on the LTIR.
The last player that the Oilers might be inclined to pick up off of waivers is that of Nic Petan, who was unable to crack Toronto’s lineup.
Another player who is rather unproven at the NHL level, there has always been a considerable amount of interest in Petan around these parts.
A former 2nd round by the Winnipeg Jets in 2013, there is no doubt that the clock is ticking on Nic Petan’s NHL career. It is likely that his next NHL chance could be his last if he isn’t able to put it together. To date he has played in 113 NHL games....with only 24pts to show for himself.
With that being said, he is only a year removed from a 52pt campaign in the AHL, which shows that he is still a skilled player at the professional level. Perhaps Edmonton could go the same route with Petan as they would with Josh Ho-Sang. Petan is a skilled player, maybe if you give him some extended time with McDavid or Draisaitl he can unlock some potential.
If all goes wrong, you place him back on waivers. Low-risk, high-reward.
If I were to make a claim for any one of these players I would probably go with either Josh Ho-Sang or Sven Baertschi.
Ho-Sang is a skilled winger who could potentially produce at a high level with the right player while Baertschi is a skilled, veteran winger who can be relied on to produce around 30pts.
I am more inclined to think that Edmonton would lean toward putting a claim in for Ho-Sang rather than Baertschi due to the former’s low cost and risk.
What do you think?