January 15 2014 09:34PM
Well you can't say GM Craig MacTavish hasn’t been active since taking the reins. On Thursday he shook things up even more, sending Devan Dubnyk to Nashville for Matt Hendricks and a 3rd rounder to the Los Angeles Kings for goaltender Ben Scrivens.
I’m not sure any of them register as bold or huge moves but he is slowly reshaping this roster.
Everyone knows this team needs more grit in their top six but in the bottom six, this is an upgrade from what they have currently. In Hendricks they added an experienced player that can take face-offs, kill penalties, is versatile in the positions he can play and he can impact a game physically.
Right now they don’t have a guy on the 4th line that can bring all those things in one package. Actually, they haven’t had it in a long time.
Yes he’s getting up there in age, and his contract is a hefty one. Both of those things are concerning no question, but I’d much rather have guy in his role that can sort of do it all. He should open up a spot or two, on the third or fourth lines for a puck possession guy, that can help tilt the ice offensively. You don’t need to carry just a PK guy now or just a faceoff guy or have two guys that can just fight.
His offensive numbers are on par with guys currently playing on the fourth line (which isn’t saying much) but he brings other intangibles. He killed over two minutes a night in Nashville, has 92 hits which will lead all Oiler forwards by a mile and isn’t afraid to shed the mitts. He has six fights this year and will surely hit double digits in majors for the third time in four years.
He’s an upgrade for me over Jones and Joensuu and will be a nice supporting cast for a guy like Gazdic.
Jones had a good spirited scrap last game but for the most part I get the sense it’s not really a role he’s overly comfortable in. It’s unfortunate because obviously the eye plays a part in that. Same goes for Joensuu, he’s a big body but he hasn’t provided much offense and he doesn’t exactly instill fear in teams they play against.
Hendricks hasn’t had a great year in Nashville but I’ll take a jack of all trades fourth liner that is tough and knows his role over a one dimensional player all day. I just hope his salary doesn’t mean people think he should score 20 goals. He should be looked at as more of a poor man’s Boyd Gordon that can bring other elements to the table that even Gordon can’t.
This team isn't going to change overnight but adding small pieces like Hendricks hopefully can help. I think the 4th line got better for whatever that's worth. He’s played on playoff teams in Washington and he will make this team harder to play against.
I for one don’t think Dubnyk is as bad as everyone made him out to be. Yes he had some tough nights and let in some horrendous goals but all of that is magnified in my opinion, by just a horrid defense in front of him.
Many nights he didn’t stand a chance on 3 or 4 goals and the focus would be on the softy he let in. Every couple games he did let in the “how the hell does he do that” goal but the defense in front of him have to shoulder much of the blame.
However, it was time for a change for everyone involved. Having your goalie get blasted almost daily by the media or fans wasn’t good for anyone and if he wasn’t going to re-sign here, you may as well try to get something for him. He had likely lost confidence in himself and the organization had lost confidence in him.
Some people will be up in arms if Dubnyk goes to Nashville and lights it up. I think you can probably expect his numbers will improve. Even I would be a better goalie in that system.
Any way you look at the Hendricks for Dubnyk trade, straight up they likely lose in most people’s minds but the key is did they get a guy that can be a long term answer at the goaltender position later in the day?
If he is the answer in the pipes then the whole day of trades will be considered a win. I’m really interested in how this will unfold. Obviously he has had a great year and familiarity with Eakins but how much is just the team in front of him in LA?
If he gets hung out to dry over the rest of the season can you even gauge what kind of goalie you have? Will they re-sign him if he has Dubnyk like numbers the rest of the way?
I assume they try to sign Scrivens either way to justify the pick given up for him but until the back end improves, I’m not sure much changes in net. For everyone’s sake, I hope I’m wrong.
It's no secret other holes need to be filled before things get better around here but MacTavish is slowly chipping away. It cannot be easy selling assets at an all-time low and trying to get good value. Either way his finger is on the trigger and I don’t expect it to stop anytime soon.