The Oilers pulled the trigger on a minor trade today, sending minor-league forward Ryan O’Marra to Anaheim in exchange for minor-league defenseman Bryan Rodney.
Minor-league statistics don’t exactly give a full-picture view of a player, but in this case Rodney’s offensive ability is obvious. He was basically a point-per-game player by the time he left the ECHL, and he’s scored everywhere he’s gone. Of course, he’s also been a minus player virtually everywhere he’s gone.
From the summer of 2010, here’s what McKeen’s Hockey had to say about Rodney:
Undrafted London, Ontario native earned his first trip to the AHL All-Star Game plus five recalls to Carolina where he gave a solid account of himself .. a poised, skilled blueliner who has gradually added defensive structure during his five pro seasons .. stride is long and wide-track yet lacking elite speed .. crossovers are partially stunted but still gets around fairly well laterally .. moves the puck smoothly and intelligently out of his own zone – stays composed in possession and is aided by fine in-close control .. joins the rush well and usually makes smart reads in the attacking zone, though can pinch in too deep at times .. excels distributing the puck on the power play .. partnered with Jamie McBain during the AHL playoffs (8-0-4-4, plus-7).
Reading that quote, Rodney comes across as a good offensive blueliner with mediocre skating and some defensive questions, which fits with what I’ve read elsewhere.
Rodney hasn’t been a perfect fit with the Ducks’ farm team in Syracuse – he was a healthy scratch twice in the last week, though it’s worth noting he did respond with a goal and plus-2 rating in a 7-1 Syracuse win upon his return. Even so, his plus/minus is the worst of any defenseman on the team for the second consecutive year.
On a more positive note, Rodney’s numbers from his longest NHL stint to date show that he can do nice things on the power play, even at the NHL level.
Barring a sudden flourish of trades from Steve Tambellini, it seems fair to assume that Rodney will spend most if not all of the rest of this season in Oklahoma City, and they can probably use the help. The Barons have used 14 different defensemen this season, and Kirill Tulupov, Dan Ringwald and Dylan Yeo all dressed last game. It’s an expensive pickup for them; Rodney’s full-season AHL salary is $250,000, as opposed to $70,000 for O’Marra.
As for O’Marra, this represents an opportunity for him. The Oilers have a lot of players at center, and the decision to go with Anton Lander in a fourth-line role robbed O’Marra of his chance to make the NHL team. In brief stints, he was fairly effective, and he should have a better chance at NHL ice-time with the Ducks.
O’Marra will be a restricted free agent this summer, while Rodney will be bound for unrestricted free agency.
In the end, the Ducks deserve credit for picking up a useful reserve player who might play NHL minutes for them in exchange for a disappointing AHL defenseman, while the Oilers are making it clear they want to give Oklahoma the best shot at a post-season run that they can.
For another take on this trade, see Bruce McCurdy’s write-up at Cult of Hockey.