Oiler fans finding themselves spending work hours fretting over the possible loss of Shawn Belle or Richard Petiot to waivers need to remember one thing: the Oilers are #1 on the list for all players on the waiver wire. Once again, first overall could come in handy over the next few days.
The waiver wire can impact a hockey team in a big way. Phoenix claimed goalie Ilya Bryzgalov in mid-November of 2007 and they’ve been a more successful team since they did it. Atlanta plucked Rich Peverley in January of 2009, Los Angeles grabbed Kyle Quincey in October of 2008.
The Oilers are going to risk waivers on several solid players in the next few days. They could lose Martin Gerber, Sheldon Souray (hey, Glen Sather is still an NHL GM), Theo Peckham, Shawn Belle, Liam Reddox, Jeff Deslauriers and others who have/could/will been exposed. However, they could also pick up a terrific piece for the future and I hope Steve Tambellini is keeping a watchful eye on the waiver wire (I’ve always thought of it as a big, noisy teletype machine in the basement of the building. Cobwebs in the corner, maybe a bucket with a mop and a pile of 8-tracks in the corner next to the Roger’s Syrup cans).
What bubble players could be available? Matt Pelech from the Flames (he’s a huge DD with toughness) has been mentioned a few times, but the waiver pickups aren’t usually famous on the day of the transaction. Ideally the Oilers would pluck someone like Quincey off the waiver wire. A solid, inexpensive option who could push the current top 4 (Gilbert, Whitney, Smid, Foster) within a year or so. There are also going to be more established players (eg, Brian Lee in Ottawa) who won’t go on waivers but could be available for less than 100 cents on the dollar in trade.
There’s every chance Steve Tambellini won’t pull the trigger on a waiver player in the next few days. However, here’s hoping he is closely watching the transactions list and grabs any player considered an upgrade. Especially among the blue.