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.
COL claims Palushaj from MON. Bolduc on waivers (PHO)
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 5, 2013
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.
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.