Should the Oilers be interested in Wade Redden?

Photo: Kaatiya/Wikimedia Commons

Yesterday, the NHL and the NHLPA agreed to a deal that would allow teams to buy out albatross contracts immediately. The deal was in response to the Canadiens and Rangers choosing to send Scott Gomez and Wade Redden home for the year, with the expectation of buying them out next summer.

Now that those players can be expected to become free agents shortly, should the Oilers be interested in either?

Given the Oilers are four-deep in NHL regulars at centre, there wouldn’t seem to be a pressing need for Scott Gomez; other teams (such as Vancouver, a club looking at employing either Andrew Ebbett or Jordan Schroeder as its second-line centre) will undoubtedly be more interested in him than Edmonton would be.

Wade Redden, at least superficially, is a more plausible fit.

Where would Redden fit?

Redden, after spending last season as the captain of the AHL’s Connecticut Whale, is not about to displace any of the Oilers’ top-five on defence (Smid, Petry, Schultz, Schultz and Whitney). A signing would put him in the mix for a bottom pairing job, along with newcomer Mark Fistric and holdovers Corey Potter and Theo Peckham.

Given that Fistric and Potter look to be locks for the NHL roster, that leaves Redden unseating Theo Peckham for the eighth spot on the Oilers’ blue line, with Peckham presumably being sent to the minors or dealt to another team. This scenario also means the Oilers would keep 13 instead of 14 forwards.

Is that a worthwhile move?

Likely, it depends on exactly how good one perceives Redden as being. If the thought process is that Redden’s an above-average third-pairing guy, this isn’t a move that makes sense. It would have been sensible prior to the addition of Mark Fistric yesterday, but with Fistric now on the team the Oilers don’t need another depth-only guy on the NHL roster.

However, if the expectation is that Redden steps into a third-pairing role but has a decent shot at moving into a top-four slot on the back end over the course of the season, it’s a move that makes significantly more sense. Redden, coming off a buyout, is likely not going to earn a lot of money on his next contract; in this case rather than paying market value for a third-pairing defenceman the Oilers would be paying third-pairing money to a guy who can play bigger minutes as required.

Looking at the Oilers depth chart, I can see the appeal of a guy like Wade Redden. Prior to the acquisition of Fistric, I would have said that bringing in Redden on a short-term deal made great sense for the organization. In the aftermath of the Fistric signing, however, I think the team would need to be confident that Redden would be able to bring more than third-pairing minutes to the table. If they aren’t, I can’t imagine them being as incentivized to pursue Redden as some other teams – the Red Wings or the Islanders to name two – will be.

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  • Spydyr

    The elephant in the room is this:

    Why would a team buy out a player now instead of waiting till the summer.

    The team does not save any money. Then the player is free to sign anywhere. Even a divisional rival.

    If I was the GM he would sit till summer.

    • Spydyr

      1) The cap goes down to $64.3 million next year from $70 million this year.

      2) One can no longer bury salary in the minors.

      3) One CANNOT buy out an injured player.

      4) If Redden or Gomez were to get injured, one could NOT buy them out this summer, which is why they were going to be asked to sit at home till summer time. Their contracts are both so large, that the Rangers and the Canadiens cannot take any risk that they could not be bought out this summer.

      5) So the NHL and NHLPA agreed to early buyouts, but with full cap impact still applying to this season only, so the Rangers and Canadiens could not benefit from an early buyout this year.

  • Death Metal Nightmare

    most overhyped “i get special sentiment because i’m canadian” player ever. i remember watching him literally blow series in the 2000’s with Ottawa (whoops! missed hip check! there goes the Leafs to the next round… whoops… on ice and out of position for some key plays in the SC finals i went to. whoops!).

    could he move the puck a little? sure. does he have a decent offensive mind? sure. is he a good D-man? no. PASS.

    agree with all of Gregor’s points

  • book¡e

    If he comes cheap then I would think it’s a no brainer to take a run at him.

    At minimum he would be a better #7 than anyone the Oilers currently have.

    The Oilers have some interesting peices on the blueline but interesting doesn’t mean good.

    Redden has experience and is/was multi dimensional. It’s a good gamble.

    I know some people believe that his AHL performance is suggestive that he can no longer play. I would point out that a year ago alot of people were suggesting the same thing about Souray and yet he salvaged his NHL career quite nicely.

  • book¡e

    Reddens just gonna be happy if teams approach him with a new contract, I dont think hes gonna be too picky about wether the team is ready to contend…likely a team ready to comtend wouldnt with Wade Redden in their lineup..unless its the wings they have that uncanny ability to turn mediocre players into very useful parts

  • book¡e

    I’m confused by the cap hit this year. Will the Rangers get hit with a 4.7 Million Cap Hit (5.6 – .900K). If this is the case the Rangers will hardly be able to do this. They are tight against the cap this year. Maybe I’m reading this wrong.

    I wonder, would a proactive team. Trade for Redden & a prospect for a low-level player or prospect. Like Corey Potter for Redden & a player like Mike St. Croix or Boo Nieves(a second level prospect).

    Or even better, work a deal with Sather saying you will claim him on reentry waivers if and you make a Potter for St. Croix deal. Then next year you buy him out.

    With all of that said I think Redden will go to the Senators. They have injury concerns, he’s familiar with the team and will come in cheap.

  • Ducey

    He had 14 pts in 75 games in 2009-10. Thats the last time he played in the NHL! 3 yrs ago! He had 20 pts in 49 AHL games last year and doesn’t appear to have played during the lockout.

    By comparison, Corey Potter had 21 pts in 62 NHL games LAST year. Plus he played during the lockout.

    Redden is 35 and has a lot of miles on his body.

    I don’t see how having him play 10-15 games and spending the rest in the pressbox is going to allow him to get his NHL game back. He is therefore unlikely to be more useful than someone even like Teubert who will be playing FT in OKC and can just bounce back and forth for a game here and there.

    I think it is unrealistic to expect that Redden will be as good as Potter or Fistric this year. He might be able to beat out Peckham for the #8, but its hard to see him as much of an upgrade on Theo.

    Short answer: No.

  • BaconWrapped

    What incentive does a team have to buyout a player this year? Doesn’t it just hurt the team as the buyout cost is higher? Also, there’s the chance that the player signs with another team and actually comes back to haunt the orignal team later in the season or worse, the playoffs.

  • RyanCoke

    I dont know if it’s just me but I miss those newagesys posts. I mean the last ones he was finally cutting them down to less than 1 page, and I would read them.

  • If he signs for less than 1 million I dont mind signing him at all. I havent seen him play in a long time, I have no idea if he is capable at the NHL level anymore, but he has experience and is another body not named Peckham or Teubert.

    He would upgrade the 8-9 spot on the Oilers D immediately and with some luck could prove to be even better than that.

    For less than 1M he would be good insurance.

    • 24% body fat

      I would rather have Gagner than Earger or Hordichuk. And for those wanting Grit in your top six I would suggest not trading Gagner for a D because out of the top 6 he is the grittiest.

      Again I know its sad. But I will take the skill of our top six over grit without skill any day.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    “Incentivized” is actually one of those new made up pompous words that I can see the Pentagon using. Used in the wrong context here and a simpler more direct word would have been less distracting.

    • I used “incentivized” rather than “motivated” because the former more clearly conveys my meaning.

      Specifically: the return on the investment of dollars in a Redden contract is likely to be less for the Oilers than it would be for another team, because the likely role he’s going to play in Edmonton is a lesser one than he could plausibly play in Detroit or Long Island.

      “Motivated” works, but “incentivized” is a word more closely connected with the dollars-and-cents logic of economics. It’s less a matter of exact definition than it is of the connotation matching the thought I wanted to express.

      And there’s three paragraphs on a decision I made in less than half a second as I wrote the piece up and also three paragraphs more than I expected to write on said decision.

  • Jason Gregor

    Main concern is Redden shoots left and prefers the left side.

    With Smid, Whitney and N.Schultz on the left-side I don’t see him being an upgrade.

    Also the Oilers need some physical aspect on the backend and he doesn’t add that.

    The wildcard is if he can skate at the NHL level.

    I agree that the Wings make the most sense, because they need depth and are a veteran team. He likely would sign with a team he thinks can win this year, not in a few years like the Oilers.

    • Yeah, in a world where the Oilers sign Redden you’re likely sliding Nick Schultz over to right side. That leaves you:

      Smid – Petry
      Whitney – Schultz
      Redden – Schultz
      Fistric – Potter

      It’s a *slightly* better blue line, but it’s hardly a ‘must make this move now’ situation.

      (Also, maybe I’m crazy: I could’ve sworn I saw Whitney play on the right side at some point over his Oilers tenure – I have this lingering notion that he can play on either side.)

      Anyway, there’s also Redden’s angle and I’m sure he would rather play for a team more likely to contend than Edmonton if given the opportunity.

    • positivebrontefan

      I agree with you Jason, except the part about the Wings going all the way this year. I think the Lidstrom hangover will hit them hard. With Lidstrom retiring it takes away their 1 and 2 defensemen because anyone who played with him was immeadiatly made better. Just ask Ian White.

  • 24% body fat

    Redden would be a good gamble. 5 years ago he was in the elite. Than he signs a huge contract and has two years where he doesn’t live up to it.

    If he were not on a top 5 revenue team he would never have been buried in the minors.

    With the D we have now this is as safe a gamble with a high reward possibility as you can get.

    He is a legit number 5-6 d if not better in the NHL.

    *didn’t comment on the last post but looking at camp, Gagner is one of the top three hardest workers on the team. he now has a pure finisher to play with. not many elite play makers broke out with out a finisher. Joe Thornton is one of the few that come to mind. With hall he is definitely the grittiest in the top six (I know we need more).

      • Romulus' Apotheosis

        I don’t know about Gomez…

        but I wouldn’t be so confident that our C depth is resolved.

        RNH and Gagner are both small… this isn’t necessarily a concern… but their smallish wingers put this is even greater relief. especially so long as RNH can’t win a faceoff.

        Gagner’s life-span with the club is questionable with his short contract.

        Horcoff is buy-out bait and has no internal candidate ready to take up his TOI.

        Belanger may never find the range or even the rink in Oiler silks and the talk that he may have wanted out last summer doesn’t help.

        VDV is a serviceable call-up, but not a great NHL option and calling him up for injury replacement is going to expose OKC even more than it already is.

        Lander is in dire need of playing all day in OKC and figuring out how to score.

        Losing Cogliano, Brule and Omarra and Gaining RNH, Belanger, VDV and Lander is a clear net gain… but throughout the organization the depth at C is

        weak in quality (depending a lot on your opinion of Gagner, Horcoff and Belanger.. views are obviously very mixed here);

        weak in quantity and exposed to injury; and/or

        questionable relating to the future (what is the future of Gagner, Horcoff and Belanger not to mention the guys in the minors).

        As far as Redden goes… wouldn’t it depend on the cost and term… I agree a lot depends on where we would slot him into the depth chart and whether we would be able to accurately gauge his value (“Barker is a top 4 D!”)…

        but no team is safe on D and the Oil are particularly vulnerable with questions still circling Whitney and the bottom pairing guys (to ignore injury)…

        so… I don’t know… I’d call his agent and see what he’s asking… stock piling D is never a bad idea.