What Happens When Ryan Jones Returns?

The Oilers – barring another injury of some sort – face a difficult decision when Ryan Jones returns to the team, something that could happen very quickly. Who goes to make room for him on the roster?

The following chart shows the team’s roster by position. Red indicates a player is on injured reserve, while blue indicates a player would not need to clear waivers (by my calculations) to be re-assigned elsewhere. Players are ranked by order of average time on ice.

Obviously, we can eliminate the possibility of the three first overalls (Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Yakupov) being demoted, and do the same for Justin Schultz. That leaves a few possibilities.

Send Down A Waiver-Eligible Forward

Here, the Oilers would have their choice of Chris VandeVelde, Magnus Paajarvi or Teemu Hartikainen. VandeVelde is the only guy who is a natural fit for centre, so his job should be safe until Shawn Horcoff gets healthy or Steve Tambellini makes a trade/signing/waiver claim.

Both Paajarvi and Hartikainen should be on this roster on merit, to my thinking, but there is a real possibility that one of them – probably Paajarvi – could be sent down to make room for Jones. The Oilers have a track record of demoting superior players to avoid exposing somebody to waivers; they’ve done it with Paajarvi earlier this season and Jeff Petry could tell some stories.

Put Someone on Injured Reserve

Lennart Petrell was hit in the head by a puck during practice before the Colorado game (which resulted in Paajarvi playing, and scoring the game-winner) and at this point sounds like he’s day-to-day with “dizziness.” Head coach Ralph Krueger has indicated that he’s doing better of late:

Head injuries are difficult, so it wouldn’t be a total shock if Petrell were to end up on injured reserve, but at this point it seems unlikely.

Waive/Trade Somebody

Assuming both Petrell and Jones make it back into the lineup before anybody else gets hurt, the Oilers will find themselves with 10 healthy wingers and eight healthy defencemen, making a move on one of those fronts plausible.

Of the wingers, Paajarvi and Hartikainen can both be demoted, so barring a big trade the most likely victims of a move are guys like Petrell, Ben Eager and Jones himself. All three are varying degrees of unlikely, with Petrell the most plausible candidate.

The other choice is to dump one of three defencemen – Theo Peckham, Corey Potter or Ryan Whitney. All three are plausible, but my suspicion is that Whitney is the guy the Oilers want to move and of late efforts to showcase him have been foiled by his poor play/lingering injury issues. And even if one of these guys does get moved, the Oilers will be left with two healthy wingers sitting out every game.

My guess? Paajarvi gets to go back to Oklahoma.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

  • db7db7db7

    Thats a tough one. Lately I have been more impressed with Paajarvi then Hartikainen, but at the same time you need that big body of Harti. I still think he needs to be more assertive. At this point I’m afraid that he doesn’t belong in the top six. He looked lost playing with Gags and Hemmer.

    Paajarvi deserves to be here, he has shown it and been working his ass off, poor guy.

  • If the Oilers “dump” Peckham, I would be sorely disappointed. Yes, he had not so good a year last year, and this year hasn’t started well with the health issues, but I think the two are related. Just needs time to get back into things. His value isn’t going to be high right now for a trade, but I don’t see why the Oilers wouldn’t hang on to him and give him more time to see if he can get back to 2010-11 form.

    The Oilers are already buttery soft without him in the lineup.

    I too think Paajarvi goes back to OKC.

    • The Soup Fascist

      I hear you … but Theo Peckham’s insistence to choose Fatburger over the gym has to reveal something about his a) maturity b) commitment c) decision making and / or d) desire – all important traits to becoming an effective NHL hockey player.

      You know who the Oilers really need is that Teddy Peckman guy Don Cherry used to love so much. I think he was like #49 or something ………

      Whatever happened to THAT guy?

      • Phixieus666

        Hey Peckhams was in good shape, the lockout completely screwed that up. Seriously if your not playing by christmas I would imagine your assuming the season is done. And he did and went to town on all the food over that time.

        • The Soup Fascist

          Yes the comment, “Christmas came at a bad time” was one of the funniest, yet saddest comments of the lockout.

          I don’t know the kid from a hole in the ground but I think maturity level is the key. It shows up at the KFC and also at times on the ice. Hopefully he figures it out because when he was right he was an effective #6.

  • A-Mc

    I Agree that the most likely scenario is that Paajarvi or Harti get sent down.

    When i look at both players, i feel like Harti has a stronger grasp on his role than Paajarvi. For this reason I’m not sure i could send Paajarvi down because he’s finally doing something of real value and i fear that by sending him down again, it would stifle what he has going on.

    Harti doesn’t pose the same risk of losing what he has going on, so IMO he may be the one to see some time in OKC.

    But then again, Harti is tougher than magnus and we do need toughness.

    *sigh*

    Stupid decisions…

  • If it’s my decision then hartikainen is gone. Jones has proven he can add offense from the 3rd line. Paajarvi might not be a point producer but he has the tools to play on the PK and be inserted anywhere.

    I know Harski can play in fron of the net on the PP, but how exactly has that paid off? He isnt getting it done.

    To be honest, I would be including Harski in whatever package the Oilers are trying to put together for a legit 1-3 defenseman. He’s big and physical enough to be attractive in the trade market, unlike whatever no name guy Oilers fans want to package with Omark for Shea Weber.

    • Phixieus666

      Hey man he can stand in front of the net all he wants it wont do sh*t if the other players dont get the puck to the net. Just sayin.

      I honestly don’t think if really matters who they pull out, send down or put on IR. Having Jones in the line might improve the team slightly but otherwise this team doesn’t look any different unless Tambo finally does something.

      And hey can’t really blame tambo, we don’t want to trade our top 6 and no teams want bottom 6 players that suck on a 30th place team. Its like having a pile of crap and trying to barter it for something useful. The only way changes will happen is when other teams are really desperate at the deadline otherwise its all about not signing some guys and finding UFA’s willing to sign in the off season.

  • Phixieus666

    MPS deserves to be here on merit, and if Ralph has the balls that he showed with Smyth then MPS plays and they ignore the contract status.

    Harti and MPS both deserve to play, but if your.sending one down its Harti for me. If your benching then your first choices are Smytty as he shoukd be on rotation to keep fresh anyways. Petrell would be next cause his role is fhe 13th forward although he does not deserve it. Eager deserves to play cause hes the only one on the Oil who plays the agitator role. I also believe Yakupov could sit a game if deserves it and hes still learning and his defensive play needs to improve. There needs to be a place for Jones, he provides 5×5 scoring and some grit.

    Id have Smytty, Petrell, Jones, MPS on a rotation.

  • Spydyr

    Ya, I think we can at least burn a few games with Petrell out of the line up. That makes room for Jones to see how he does coming back into the line up after such a long hiatus. From there you look at who gives you the best shot to win, and if you absolutely have to lose a guy to waivers, well we already have too many forwards in our bottom six, so see if there’s a trade for a pick in there somewhere.

    Don’t get me wrong, I really like Petrell, he is the type of utility player this team needs, but I still take Jones over him any day, and at the end of the day it’s all about icing your best possible team.

  • Phixieus666

    So have I been missing something or watching different games? What exactly has Teemu Hartikainen done to deserve to stay in Edmonton 2 assists, ocasional rub a guy out along the boards? Im still not sure how he’s played 14 games this far!

    • RexLibris

      Totally agree with you 100 %,. Its been said before, big guy infront of the net, but don’t have any one hammering the big shots from the backend, or anywhere for that matter. Bear hugs along the boards. Guy, this size should be laying them out all night long.

      Sorry, might not sound correct here, but if I am signing big guys with grit and sandpaper, make sure they are not from Europe… playing on big ice where hitting is limited is their DNA.I know there has been the odd Kasperitas, but for the most part they see themselfs as skill players only.

  • db7db7db7

    You talk about this situation like it really matters, Oilers are not close to being a playoff team.

    It’s like you think some formula will make the Oilers great.

    “Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was ”

    Small fast team with potential.

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    A trade would be nice, but we hired the wrong GM if that’s what we want to do.

    I say send Hartikainen down. His size is nice but I don’t think he quite gets how to use it yet. Paajarvi I think has done enough to show that he belongs on the NHL roster.

    Tinker with Jones, Paajarvi and Eager until you find out who fits where on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th line and see if Eager does anything to show that he deserves a spot ahead of a healthy Petrell.

  • Ducey

    Willis,

    It seems to me that the best option right now is to send Jones down for a few AHL games for conditioning. He has not played in quite a while.

    It only buys a few days but it gives more time to assess other options. If everyone is healthy when he comes back, then I think the option is to waive Petrell or send down MPS.

    I am fine with MPS being sent down. He has shown flashes this time around, but he needs to make a difference every shift. There is no way big minutes in the AHL will hurt him. Look at Detroit’s prospects. Those guys go up and down 10 times a year.

    • Vaclav

      As with Peckham you still have to put Jones on the active roster to send him to OKC for a conditioning stint. So they would have to send someone else down (or trade) to make room for him to go to the Barons.

      If Magnus could add a little more physicality to his game we wouldn’t be having the discussion of which player to keep between him and Teemu. Paajarvi is bigger, faster and has more game than Harski. But everyone wants a player who hits in the lineup which gives him an undeserved edge over Magnus.

      Keep Magnus, send down Teemu.

    • Spydyr

      It would be nice if Smyth sees the writing on the wall. Announce this is his last year. The team carries him for the rest of the year and he retires an Oiler.

      He bleeds Oiler blue. It is sad to see players stay past their time.

  • Pajaarvi plays the roller coaster game all season…playing in OKC when NHL roster is healthy …and playing in EDM when not.

    Then at trade deadline Ryan Jones gets moved for futures..and Pajaarvi finishes the season and begins his career as a full time Edmonton Oiler from here on out.

  • Word to the Bird

    Put Petrell on waivers. Paajarvi can play the PK well enough, why do we need Petrell? He is worse than Paajarvi is, he’s older than Teemu, and doesn’t provide the leadership of Smyth. Need I say more?

  • Word to the Bird

    I like Hartikainen but I haven’t been too impressed with his game of late. He hasn’t been able to grab any of his opportunities when skating with more skilled opponents. Paajarvi has been playing better and I actually think that he would be a good fit with Gagner and Hemsky. He is a good defensive player but he can also keep up to the play with those guys. I would suggest:
    Hall – RNH – Eberle
    Paajarvi – Gags – Hemsky
    Smyth – Belanger – Yakupov
    Eager – Vande Velde – Jones

    I might even consider swapping Hemmer and Yakupov. Hemmer is more ready to carry a line than Yakupov is right now. Hartikainen could use us a short stint in OKC to get his confidence up if you ask me.

  • RexLibris

    @Jonathan

    I brought this topic up with Lowetide the other day regarding the Oilers showcasing players.

    Is this something that we outside observers simply believe to be true, or is it a verifiable fact?

    I refer to the Omark situation last year where the team had a clear opportunity to “showcase” the player ahead of trying to trade him at the deadline, but was either unwilling or unable to do.

    The Canucks apparently did it with Hodgson prior to the Kassian trade, but I haven’t been convinced that the Oilers would play a player specifically for that purpose.

    It would be nice to think that the powers-that-be could approach a situation like this so proactively, but I have doubts.

    Any thoughts?