Edmonton Oilers waive Ben Eager

 

The Edmonton Oilers have placed veteran forward Ben Eager on waivers.

Eager is in the second year of a three-year, $3.3 million contract with the Oilers. His actual salary escalates from $1.1 million this season to $1.2 million next year.

Eager has an impressive toolkit – with his size and speed, more than one observer has pictured him as a potential power forward. It’s one of the reasons Phoenix made him a first round pick back in 2002. Unfortunately, he hasn’t lived up to his potential in Edmonton – at times not offering the physical deterrent the team would have liked to see, at other times simply failing to make an impact as a hockey player.

Certainly his results early in 2013 could have been better. The Oilers have been comically out-shot with Eager on the ice – 39-to-22 in an average hour of 5-on-5 play. 

The addition of Mike Brown – a smaller player who not only fights more frequently but has a better defensive resume than Eager – also undoubtedly played into this decision. Eager had been a healthy scratch since the Oilers’ loss against Nashville on March 8, while Brown had averaged more than 10:00 per game in the two contests following it. Also likely playing into the decision has been the play of Magnus Paajarvi, who could be demoted without needing to clear waivers; Paajarvi however has been one of the Oilers’ best players in recent games and his demotion would have made the club a worse team. 

In Eager’s defence, injury has not been kind to him. He suffered a concussion in his first training camp with the Oilers, courtesy of teammate Kirill Tulupov, and suffered another one this season in a fight against Zack Kassian on opening night against the Canucks. During his time in Edmonton, he simply hasn’t had the benefit of starting the season healthy – which might go some way to explaining why he’s been so ineffective as an Oiler after some decent fourth-line stints with his previous teams. 

Will he clear waivers? One would imagine, given his career, that some NHL club will be interested in his services – but with the cap falling next year, that extra season on his contract might scare some teams off.

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  • The Soup Fascist

    On ice performance aside, by all accounts Eager was fine in the room and I have heard he was very good with the kids on the Oil Kings. Good Luck to Eager. Hope he gets his health issues dealt with and his career back on track.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Couple points: when running an org the size of the Oilers, while the buck stops at mgmt., mgmt. has to rely on others in the org to do their jobs. Recall the Oil Change episode with Gare chuckling with arrogance that they had just signed Hordichuk and Eager. Hordichuk by that time had already been flushed by Van and a number of other teams. I do think injury is the biggest culprit with Eager. By all accounts Belanger was a terrific signing at the time. For reasons those outside the room do not know it hasn’t worked out.

    But, props to Tambo for trading for Fistric and Brown to bring in what he wanted to get in the first place. I wonder if it was the same pro scouts who recommended Brown and Fistric that have otherwise put together a horrible track record.

    Tambo has rebuilt the farm, the amateur scouting dep’t, medical staff and stocked the cupboards. If pro scouting gets re-tooled this summer then it will be a situation of adding from strength while the stew simmers.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Looks like he won’t be picked up by the Vatican City Cardinals of the Italian Elite League. They went another way. I thought for sure it would be Eager or the “kid” out of Quebec. Management ended up going with someone along the vein of Gomez. No word on the “cap” hit but it will be big.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    Eager.See ya.Next up on the priority list Belanger. Potter and then Nick Shultz. Need more of the Mark Fistric type on defence.Less of the no physicality type. On my wish list . Lw for RNH and Ebs. Keeping Hall with Horc and Hemsky really puts the screws to the opposing team in terms of line matching. What we have seen the last 2 games is a result of the balance that the top 3 lines have.Tambo needs a couple of more moves like brown and Fistric.

  • Brown’s addition made this move inevitable. A typical Oilers move would have been to send Paajarvi down just because of the waiver eligibility but Paajarvi is clearly playing as well as just about anybody in the lineup right now. I like the balance of our top 3 lines right now and our current fourth line can actually play 10 minutes a night.

  • 2004Z06

    Racki,

    Why is he a clown? The guy had some bad luck with injuries and now is likely not “fighting” anymore because he has been told it could very likely lead to long term brain damage. At the end of the day it is just a game. He has a family and a life to consider after hockey.

    He has recognized he cannot be the player the Oilers wanted/needed anymore and the Oilers have as well. This is a likely a mutual parting of ways.

    He was always good in the room as far as I know and I wish him the best in his endeavours. Don’t assume because Quicksilver has a theory that it is accurate.

    Jesus! No wonder players don’t want to come/stay here. You don’t know the first thing about the man. Critique his play on the ice all you want, but that is where you and everyone else’s opinion should end.

    • Holy, calm down.. read my post again…..

      I was saying IF what Quicksilver was saying was true, then Eager is a clown. Very heavy on the IF… it’s not something I believe at all.

      Thus my comment: “But that would just be your speculation, and I’d buy what Dawgtoy said more than this.”

      If you read my posts throughout this thread, you’ll see that I’ve been saying the exact same thing… that concussions have prevented him from fighting and being effective, and it is good that we moved on. The point I was making was that Quicksilver’s point that “maybe he just quit” was pretty stupid because it’d be even less reason to hang on to Eager.

      Read.. comprehend..

        • Ducey

          Oh I just love it when we finally get rid of our crap players…suddenly everyone is lamenting poor Ben, he was used badly, he was never given a chance …boo hoo he only made 1.2 million for 2 minutes work a game….sob!

          reminds me of when we finally dumped that bag of trash Penner…..Holy crap you s*** on management when they get the player, you s*** on them when the player plays like s*** and then you s*** on them when they finally admit they made a mistake and dump the guy. At least acknowledge that they finally did something right.

          • outdoorzguy

            Nope!! Eager could have been an integral part of the team. Poor coaching and bad luck cost him his job. You think Belanger is better suited to this team? What management should never have done in the first place is sign Eager or Hordichuck and then dump them without really giving them a chance. Fistric and Brown fit this pattern too!

            “Whether you’re in the playoffs or not, if you can upgrade your team or improve it, we’ll do that but most of the people are here are the people we’re going to be counting on for some time,” Tambellini said on Tuesday.

            What a wonderful line from Timid Tambellini. It just goes to show that mediocrity is success in Edmonton. Management is happy with the team and the playoffs are not a goal. The leadership goes unchallenged by the fans, by the media and by ownership because the Edmonton Oilers are accepted as what they are, a bottom rung team with no plan for the future.

  • Truth

    He will be go unclaimed, to the dismay of the Oilers. He will then be bought out in the off-season. Too bad he wasn’t the Eager of 4 years ago. Even worse was using a 4th round pick to replace him.

  • Truth

    I for one am going to miss Ben Eager…….not too many guys in the league that can skate like the wind at 240lbs!!

    I hope Brown proves to be a injury free player….not sure what happens if he gets hurt. I’m sure that Tamby has a plan for this, maybe using Ryan Smyth in that role?

    I think that Brown has good potential but just having one player like that is not enough!

  • outdoorzguy

    So with another player lost, possibly for his career due to a head injury/concussion, is it not the time for the NHL to start to protect its players by eliminating fighting? Better enforcement and stricter penalties for head shots would allow some of these guys an opportunity to continue their careers. Now, because of a punch to the head and the subsequent concussion and effect that has on how he plays the game, Ben Eager’s career may very well be over. We can brush this aside easily because he is not an elite player. But what if Crosby couldn’t come back, or gets hit again? What if one of the Oiler youngsters sustains a career ending head injury. Then how would we or the NHL look at it. Time to smarten up and change the rules.

    • Spydyr

      Eager would not have had an NHL career without fighting.

      Is it better to have loved and lost or never loved at all.

      Hockey is a fast paced violent game.If you play hockey you are going to get injured every hockey player that played at any level for more than a few years has been injured.It is part of the game.Instead of trying to change hockey perhaps you could watch another sport.Say figure skating or woman’s hockey.

  • Good move, Brown has been the better option of the 2 and is willing and able to protect his teamates.

    Hopefully Eger’s health improves and he is picked up elsewhere.

    Now to start moving some of the vets for picks or useful parts

  • Ducey

    Note:.. Eager was sent packing not because of Brown’s decent play on the 4 th line, it is simply that Paajarvi is playing some good solid hockey of recent times…. so how can you justify
    having a plug like Eager for 5 min. of icetime, and sending Paajarvi to OKC… would look a lot dumber than some of the dumb things Tambelini has done.

    Eager’s game was terrible besides. Yes he can skate like the wind, but thats about all. Didnt win battles on the boards, poor on passes on both sides of the puck, and frankly was Mr Ham Hands around the net.

    They can use him at OKC, because there is very little else down on that team.. at least him and Hordichuk can make them tough.

    • No problem, appreciate that and sorry my reply was so aggressive back…

      In reality I think we agree on a few things as I have a problem with the way our fans treat players too, and as mentioned, we both agree on why Eager is no longer effective here.

      And I can see how the post I made would draw your reaction (but that was completely unintentional, which you’ll see by my previous posts).

      Anyways, have a good one

  • vetinari

    The only thing that I’m disappointed in, is that here’s another example of an asset that couldn’t be turned into something useful for the team when his time with the Oil was finished– not a prospect, not a draft pick, not a rental veteran, nothing! We bought high and sold Lowe(!) again…

  • Hmm, what’s this all about ? Are we not trying to get bigger in our top nine. Eager was absolutely miss used her in Edmonton and yes another waisted asset. Well I see we have upgraded our Management team. Someone do the math on what the winning percentage is with current management group. Is it even 30% ?? This has got to be the biggst gong show ever. In my mind every move this organization makes is followed up with a big fat question mark and an exclamation mark with their position in the standings.

  • outdoorzguy

    Under the new CBA if he goes on re-entry waivers he is still at full salary if picked up? I think he could still be traded or possibly brought back up if an injury or attitude change. if this is true we maybe shouldn’t be throwing the management under the bus yet.

  • outdoorzguy

    I liked the idea of Eager coming on board and this year he had stints where he was really effective. The injuries he has had for a player that plays that style of game must really be hard. Iv had concussions before and they make you think twice and almost wince before you do something physical. Its not even that you are aware of it but its just the way it happens with them. Not sure if thats the same for everyone but I hope Eager finds another team. Always cheer for guys like him.

    On another note Brown has played very well and Im very surprised at how well he skates. Cherry said (even tho I only take what he says with a grain of salt) he would be a fan favorite in EDM and if he keeps playing that way he very well might be. Good pick up even tho a 4th for him was a little high with what other players have been traded for this season. (ex Simon Gagne)

  • lostdog82

    I was really excited when we signed Eager, I thought we finally signed a guy with size. Injuries aside he never looked good beside a hand full of games. Instead of blaming management and coaching put the responsibility on the millionaire hockey player to create some opportunities for himself when on the ice. Why is it when a player doesn’t work here it’s the coaches fault ? If you can’t make an impact on a 30th place club that’s a big reflection on the player. Fans are shocked that a injury prone player who is demoted from a last place team can’t be traded for a draft pick ? Who would waste cap space and a roster spot for him ? Fans please stop believing our garbage is worth something.

  • I was hoping Eager had a bounce back year, I don’t begrudge the guy for not fighting anymore, I empathize with him.

    Fast, big, always hit and could fight, its to bad because him and brown might have been a good pair together.

    I will look back fondly with a huge grin on my face how badly he wore down the human rake, a thing of beauty.

  • PlayDirty

    If Eager clears, and then goes to OKC and get his game sorted/gets healthy. Am I correct thinking he would have to clear re-entry waivers to come back up? If so that seems unfair to any team, that you’d have to risk the player twice.

    • Aitch

      Really? when he was healthy enough to play, he played.

      I’m not an Eager basher. I’d see his speed, his checking ability and decent-enough hands and think this guy is about to turn it around. He wouldn’t be the first power forward to suddenly start scoring later than the typical offensive player. But he’s never put it all together. He’s Dewalt quality tools in a Jobmate toolbox.