For Steve Tambellini, the year 2012 has to rank as one of the best of his life. Not only did the Oilers GM witness the draft lottery win live, he and his Oilers won the Justin Schultz sweepstakes. Two more incredible additions to the rebuild and all kinds of good arrows for the future. Speaking of future, when does it begin?
During the Kevin Lowe administration–which began in 2000 summer–the Edmonton Oilers rarely do a lot of in-season tinkering. They’ll offload or add at the deadline, but for the most part the club chooses its team in the summer via trade, draft and free agency and then gives that group 40 games to find chemistry.
An example of it would be 2005-06, a season in which everyone knew the Oilers needed goaltending early on. Lowe waited until the deadline before adding Dwayne Roloson (and others) to a top quality hockey club. That run in the spring of 2006 represents the highest level for the organization in a generation, and it also allows us a glimpse into the ‘sense of urgency’ within the organization to start each season with a balanced roster.
SENSE OF URGENCY?
In recent years, the Edmonton Oilers have used waivers during the season to acquire talent. Ryan Jones is the most obvious example, a plug and play energy winger who found a home with Edmonton. Steve MacIntyre also came via waivers in September 2008 and the club grabbed Jesse Boulerice for about 5 minutes in there somewhere.
A small number of waiver pickups, but in terms of procurement both Ryan Jones (168 Oilers games and counting) and Steve MacIntyre (56 games) spent significant time with the club.
Waiver acquisitions can address weakness and offer a team opportunities to fill holes without giving up assets.
Jonathan Willis had an outstanding article up today on the early waiver options, and there’s more on the way. Jon’s #1 is Patrick Maroon, a player we looked at as a possible acquisition back in August when checking out the Minor League All-Stars.
I think we’re going to have an interesting group of waiver players this season, and the Oilers might be part of the fun. If I’m reading the waiver rules correctly (or what we’ve seen of them) Edmonton could acquire Patrick Maroon via waivers and expose Darcy Hordichuk or Eric Belanger to the waiver wire to make room on the roster short term. Since the club can bring back Hordichuk or Belanger at any time without risk of re-entry waivers, they might be able to make this kind of transaction several times a season.
They could also grab Maroon and send Teemu Hartikainen back to OKC, a more traditional way of adding talent. If Maroon doesn’t look good in a 2 week look-see, call Hartikainen back up, risk waivers on Maroon and if he’s lost well nothing ventured nothing gained.
Edmonton could also grab a goalie of note, waive Nikolai Khabibulin and recall the Russian when needed, or grab a defenseman and carry 8D or risk waivers on someone like Corey Potter or Theo Peckham. Or they could pick a defenseman and waive a forward, which may make more sense with the current need on the back end.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
We may find out in the coming days that the waiver rules have some ‘denver boot’ that doesn’t allow for this kind of ‘raiding’ of minor league players. However, if there’s a loophole and Edmonton could pick up a solid goalie, another good defenseman and a forward of value in exchange for putting Khabibulin and Belanger on waivers and or sending down Hartikainen, wouldn’t that be something worth pursuing?
I think it would.