Alexandre Bolduc placed on waivers; should the Oilers be interested?

As if the Phoenix Coyotes just knew that the Edmonton Oilers would enter Tuesday in need of a defensive forward who could kill penalties and win faceoffs, they placed Alexandre Bolduc on waivers this morning.

The 27-year old Bolduc has bounced around the last few years, shuttling between the NHL and AHL. He played 46 games for the Vancouver Canucks between 2008 and 2011, and has nine games over the past season and a bit in Phoenix. He earned a job out of training camp with the Coyotes this year after some impressive work in the American league during the lockout, but has so far gone pointless and minus-3 over seven contests.

What Bolduc isn’t is a long-term solution. But with a dearth of trade options and a thin free agent market, the question is whether he’s the best band-aid solution available.

The first important comparison is to the Oilers best defensive option in the AHL – Chris VandeVelde. VandeVelde did not impress during the lockout, and offensively the two aren’t close – VandeVelde has 10 points on the season, while Bolduc scored at just a hair under a point-per-game pace during the lockout. Bolduc also had much more in the way of opportunity this year – VandeVelde was consigned to the role of defensive specialist under Nelson – but he also has enjoyed a superior career in that regard.

Both Bolduc and VandeVelde are faceoff guys and penalty-killers in the minor leagues. Bolduc probably has a slight edge as a chippy, physical guy, though both players are willing to engage. Bolduc, while not a high-end fighter, doesn’t mind dropping the gloves from time-to-time, though I imagine he’d prefer it if he didn’t need to fight John Scott again.

The other (small) advantage of bringing in a player like Bolduc is that it leaves VandeVelde in the minors and right now Oklahoma seems to need all the help it can get. The Barons – with the worst penalty kill in the AHL – would probably also prefer not to lose one of their primary penalty killers.

My view is that adding Bolduc is better than promoting VandeVelde, but that it isn’t really an ideal solution to the Oilers’ need for depth centres. It’s worth claiming him only if there isn’t something better in the works.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

  • A-Mc


    This is all i need to know: “The 27-year old Bolduc has bounced around the last few years, shuttling between the NHL and AHL. He played 46 games for the Vancouver Canucks between 2008 and 2011, and has nine games over the past season and a bit in Phoenix. He earned a job out of training camp with the Coyotes this year after some impressive work in the American league during the lockout, but has so far gone pointless and minus-3 over seven contests.

  • ubermiguel

    I’d try to get Reasoner back first. Great face-off guy, not a defensive liability, and by all accounts solid guy in the locker room. He’s a poor man’s Stoll, and we’re pretty poor at centre right now.

  • T__Bone88

    Shouldn’t the oilers be past the point of just adding random guys to fill out a roster. I would rather acquire an actual NHL veteran to fill in for the injured horcoff that could be beneficial if the oilers make a playoff run.

      • The 'Real' Ron Burgundy

        Could Ryan O’Reilly even be an option, whether it be by an offer sheet or trade.

        Besides this, I cannot see any other fixes. AHL Players are not the answer, they’re barely even a band-aid.

        Sure is frustrating as an Oil-fan to see the same weaknesses in the lineup year after year and no real attempt to shore them up.

        If this week goes bad, and its looking like it very well could, this year will turn into yet another audition for next year.

        *edit- if I ever get my moms to get rid of this dial-up interwebz, it wouldn’t look like I repeated the comment from ralph_u.

        • Honestly, I don’t think the Oilers can afford to mess around with offer sheets right now. Over the next three summers, Nugent-Hopkins, Yakupov, Gagner, Schultz and Petry will all become RFA’s; that’s before we even get into the guys a little further down the food chain.

          A trade? Maybe, but it will be costly. Given that the Avs and Oilers are division rivals, I just can’t see a swap that big/risky happening.

  • KatzKidsJewFro

    I say they should do it. If for no other reason than to serve as a stop-gap for a better solution. Brings a bit more grit than VV which they could use.

  • The Soup Fascist

    We take him off waivers, hes here for the year. A two way forward with an ability to win faceoffs, contribute occasionally offensively, is physical and fights…we don’t like those type of forwards in Edmonton. PASS

    • The Soup Fascist

      Not saying he wouldn’t be a better alternative to CVV, but I am pretty sure Alex Semin could have done as well in the “fight” against J. Scott.

      Not sure throwing zero punches and taking 15 or so to the melon should be called a fight. Brave ….. but dumb.

  • ralph_u

    What about a trade for Ryan Oreilly from Colorado maybe for a Whitney pkg good time to secure a young center for term with good upside actually outpointed Gagner last year.

  • The Soup Fascist

    “My view is that adding Bolduc is better than promoting VandeVelde, but that it isn’t really an ideal solution to the Oilers’ need for depth centres. It’s worth claiming him only if there isn’t something better in the works”

    Although I appreciate fans trying to fix a greater need for the Oilers with a O’Reilly trade or something similar, this quote above is where the Oilers stand right now.

    Horcoff is probably at least a month, Belanger is a week right now but could be longer with an open sore and broken toes. Trading for a good defensive centre from an already small pool and from a position of weakness (they know we need one and do not have much to give up in return) presents a large problem.

    Grab Bolduc for the short term and it gives you the better option to look around for a longer term solution if its needed.

  • Muji

    No idea about Bolduc….bigger stronger face-off guy sounds ok on the face of it.

    O’Rielly conversation seems to be getting no traction. When it seems like a potential good fit for both teams. Spending seems to be an issue in Colorado. So they get Gagner for 3.5 per year ( Plus a second rounder?) We get O’Rielly who seems to have more edge to his game than Gags and we have to pay him 4 or 4.25 per year?

    I don’t have a good handle on O’Rielly’s situation in Colorado…..anyone have a more informed idea what it would take for the Oilers to land him?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Don’t feel we need another “support” player in the line-up. The Oilers problem is they have far too many of these types of players already. Too many followers and not enough leaders.

    Like that Ryan O’Rielly opportunity. Paajarvi,Whitney,Plante and Omark in exchange for O’Rielly.

    With Klefbom coming in next season the Oilers should be okay. Could also pick up a VanDemeer type for the balance of the season if need be.

    Tough one too lose last night but there’s no way the Oilers deserved 2 pts with the way they played. A two minute powerplay and they couldn’t even penetrate the Canucks blueline…..still plenty of work to be done.

    • “Like that Ryan O’Rielly opportunity. Paajarvi Peckham and Whitney in exchange for O’Rielly.”

      A few quetions:

      1) In a deal like this, do you see O’Rielly as a 3rd line centre, or someone who pushes Gagner for 2nd line time?

      2) NHL teams are reluctant to do the 3 for 1 thing, Salary may come into play, or the perception that you just watering down you talent pool.

      3) If you were forced to up your offer/change your offer would you still consider it?

      • ralph_u

        1) Definately only do this if it seems like you would make him a 2nd line center.
        2)Probably going to be 4.5-5 with term to sign him which for a 2nd line center I think is about right. What is offer sheet compensation for that salary that is where I would frame conversations and comparable picks or prospects to trade.
        3)Not my offer so couldn’t say.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        We need to get away from this 1st 2nd 3rd line stigma we far too often focus on. On a competitve team every line is important.

        1) If you have the luxury of 3 top six centers, you should be fine with one of those 3 (injured) out of the lineup 40% of the time. The game has changed alot in the last 10 yrs. Teams put their money into their top 7 forwards, their top 3 D, along with a goalie. The rest is just filler temporary types.

        2) Clearly a bulk for quality deal as far as the Avalanche are concerned. If Colorado is going to let the tail wag the dog on this (submit) then they’ve failed miserably on this O’Rielly front. I trust management will stick to their guns and end up moving him.

        3) Plenty of opportunity to move some names around in this package, outside of the fab 5, everyone’s in play. Gagner along with Paajarvi, Omark and Peckham?

        • Clyde Frog

          Get you…and agree with points one and two.

          On point 3…’ve alreay indicated its not your first choice but you would include Gagner in the deal if you had to?

    • Clyde Frog

      Already failed 1 NHL physical…

      One of the requirements to play is to actually be able to play.

      One would think the failure was a medical issue over simply not being in shape; especially with the start New York had.

      So who knows if teams are kicking his tires, but considering his worst season has been 30+ points to date; you would have to imagine there is a real injury concern there.

      • eastcoastoil

        Thats the right move, we needed to shake up that top line a little already. They had good chemistry while Nuge was at the WJC.

        Would like to see Nuge-Yak-hemmer.

        Gagner has been playing well and should be able to handle the defensive responsibilities between Smyth and Lander

  • ralph_u

    I am going to put a name out there.

    2011-12 Stats
    David Steckel – Toronto 8 G 5 A 10 PIM -14 79 Sh 170 Hits 67 Blocked Shots
    2:17 Shorthanded Average per game
    12:49 TOI per game
    Faceoffs – 63.33% road, 53.51% home

    This year he has fallen out of favor with the Leafs playing in 4 games and getting 5:54 average ice time.

    His Corsi last year was -4.04 and -82.06 on the PK, and had 38% offensive Zone Starts 47.5% offensive zone finish.

    Horcoff’s corsi was -6.82 and -79.28 on the PK, and had 43.9% offensive Zone Starts 45.4% offensive zone finish.

    So Steckel had a very similar role on the Leafs last year to what Horcoff’s role is on the Oilers this year and had similar results.

    I think it would be a good option, of a player that is available in a trade, NHL able and could fill a specific role.

    • ralph_u

      Good observation….good analysis…..

      I also think it helps that he makes only 1.1 million and he is a UFA next year.


      ( The thought of a Toronto reject kind of turns my stomach…..but this idea has some merit)

      • book¡e

        I am with you on the Toronto reject pile.

        However, there can be good things in other teams rejects pile, how many times over the years have we seen an Oiler reject succeed in another market.

        I think we can do a similar deal to what landed Fistric in Edmonton. Draft pick or minor leaguer or possibly even dare I say it Omark.

  • book¡e

    The Oilers could add Bolduc to fill the gap and buy time to make a good move. As soon as you trade for a centre, you send Bolduc down through waivers and he goes back to Pheonix’ farm team.

    It’s like renting a car when yours is in the shop.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I guess we’ll find out if we’re actually making a serious playoff push in the coming days/weeks. Up until now, the Oilers have been content to do nothing, or a little as possible when situations like our current one have happened. Suddenly, signing Gomez as some insurance doesn’t look so bad.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Why do so many people insist on trading Gagner or demoting him to the 3rd line?

    He is the team’s leading scorer and has been their most consistent forward, FFS. I get it – he is not 6 feet tall, but please let’s not just trade him for a “big body”.

    I have seen far too many Jason Bonsignore, Chad Kilger, Chris Gratton, Patrick Stefan and Kris Beech types who are these skilled big bodies, but have no hockey IQ / or grit. Sure, if there are two skilled, smart hockey players, who play with passion – one 6’2″ and one 5’10”, I will take the 6’2″ guy all day. But if the smaller guy has more of any one of those components – well, IMO you gotta make sure you aren’t just getting a guy who looks better in the team photo.

  • For those that thought the Oilers needed defensmen more then centers, this is a clear indication that the Oilers need to draft a center in the upcoming draft.

    Defensmen are traded for, centers are drafted, there is no point in bringing in stop gap players in,bring up the AHL players.

    The Oilers had there chance to fill both rolls and decided to bring in Fistric, this has to tell you that the Oilers can preach playoffs, but another high draft pick is what they need.

  • Sure wish we would have taken Zenon Kenopka for the peanuts he cost first Ottawa and now the Wild.

    Can the Oilers make a statement and trade there 2013 1st pick for Getzlaf, hoping he would then resign next year. A 6`4″ 220 pound center sure seems like it would make sense for the Oilers. He is also from Regina one of the few places colder and more miserable than Edmonton.