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.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

  • vetinari

    It all comes down to money. Generally, for the bottom slots I’d rate them:

    Redden > Potter > Peckman

    At least Redden has some fantastic years on his resume. I’d throw him a one year deal at anywhere between $1.2M to $1.8M but no more than that and see if he takes it. If Peckham gets waived or traded to make room, no big loss.

  • vetinari

    I guess I was also hoping that our days of desperation/reclamation projects was finally a thing of the past…..but the fact that Redden is a legitimate consideration means we may still be a year away….

    • justDOit

      The number of chins in the Oilers dressing room that still can’t grow anything other than fuzz is proof that this team is at least a year away. What the rational fanbase expects is improvement.

      And that doesn’t mean that you can’t try a reclamation project if the team was ready to compete. Good teams use this tactic quite often, and with better results than bad teams.

      • DieHard

        When I say a year away….I don’t mean a year away from contending…I mean a year away from picking up the Cam Barkers of the world to plug a whole…

        Yes….many teams make use of reclamation projects…Glen Sather did so a few times as the Oiler GM….It’s the calibre of reclamation projects that I’m talking about…bringing in a vet to fill a role is always an option….but the Oilers are/will be a pretty deep team and in a year or two the options to bring up young talent ( Kelfblom, PVR, etc) will hopefully prove to be a no brainer as opposed to considering the Wade Redden’s of the world…….Now Scott Neidermeyer would be a differnet story…..

      • DieHard

        When I say a year away….I don’t mean a year away from contending…I mean a year away from picking up the Cam Barkers of the world to plug a whole…

        Yes….many teams make use of reclamation projects…Glen Sather did so a few times as the Oiler GM….It’s the calibre of reclamation projects that I’m talking about…bringing in a vet to fill a role is always an option….but the Oilers are/will be a pretty deep team and in a year or two the options to bring up young talent ( Kelfblom, PVR, etc) will hopefully prove to be a no brainer as opposed to considering the Wade Redden’s of the world…….Now Scott Neidermeyer would be a differnet story…..

  • DieHard

    I’m not convinced that he would be much of an upgrade even on a guy like Corey Potter personally. Yes, he was a pretty good dman about 5 years ago in Ottawa playing with Zdeno Chara. I’m not sure that 5 years later he can play at anywhere near that level.

  • Spydyr

    @ Diehard

    Hah..!!…my point was play Redden for the 48 games this year, and then buy him out this summer.

    And I’ve never had a problem spending Katz money..:)

  • DieHard

    I think IF you sign Redden you trade Potter. And that would/could be an upgrade imo.

    Does he want to go to a contender? Probably 99% of players do, but I would assume Redden, right now, would play for 29 teams.

    He’d have a go at the “healthy” girl at the end of the bar.

  • Seriously....Gord?

    My question is why have the Islanders not with Dipetro on waivers for buy out purposes….

    Are snow and wang that daft to see they are paying him millions to be consistently injured….

    • Seriously....Gord?

      He’s not injured. He played 1 game in Europe during lock out and is in camp at the moment. In the middle of a scrimmage as I type this.

      Looks like the Islanders won’t buy him out this year….

  • Seriously....Gord?

    Maybe we can work on yet another reclimation project……last year it was Cam Barker.

    I would rather play the worst player on our farm team ahead of Redden!

  • Seriously....Gord?

    Wouldn’t be opposed for the oilers to bring him in at 1 year 1 million and sending Corey potter packing. He would defiantly be an upgrade over Potter in my eyes.

  • Oilfred

    The main issue I would have is if he is over whatever was causing him to play so poorly in NY that got him demoted and now bought out. He was a fine player and it all turned crap for him.

    I’ve heard rumblings of him being part of the Ottawa party crowd and couldn’t let it go. If that’s the case then pass.

    # no bad habits around the kids!

    • Seriously....Gord?

      Not calling you a liar or trying to offend you in anyway but where did you hear that?

      I find it hilarious when people say that they hear stuff like is, cause honestly how would any of us know? Some reporter saying it doesnt mean its true. Half the time reporters hype up nothing cause they need a story “____ player was seen having 50 drinks last night and needed to be carried out of the bar” when in reality he probably had 2 drinks and didnt drive home.

  • BK

    I have a real concern with the drug rumors. I know I can only say rumors – but there is PLENTY about him and Emery and coke. I have NO INTEREST in bringing in a utility guy who brings more than his equipment for baggage.

    TO ME that would HAVE to be VERY CLEARLY vetted out before I risk a bad influence on all these young players. If it’s just rumors then he could be a great addition.

    These are often the things that we never know the facts about in decisions.