Oilers acquire Mark Fraser from Toronto

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that the Oilers have added some size to their blue line, adding Mark Fraser from Toronto.

What The Oilers Sent Away

The players going the other way in the deal were both outside of the organization’s plans, so the cost on this isn’t especially dear.

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Teemu Hartikainen is having a pretty good season in Russia and has to be the guy the Leafs were interested in on this deal. He’s a big winger with some skill who couldn’t do much in 23 NHL games last season with the Oilers; he wasn’t interested in staying in the organization on a two-way deal and so he went off to Russia. I’ve been told down the line that this isn’t a player that Edmonton really had plans for, but that doesn’t mean he might not break out with the Leafs. 

Cameron Abney, the other guy in the trade, has negative value; he’s an ECHL enforcer taking up a spot on Edmonton’s 50-man list. In the Oilers’ organization he was passed as a player by Erick Lizon (currently with the CHL’s Wichita Thunder). 

What the Oilers Added

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Everybody hoping Edmonton would add a big, physical defenceman for the third pair got their wish today.

Fraser is listed at 6’4", 220 pounds. He has had three fights in the NHL this season; last year he had nine fights in the majors and eight in the AHL. He’s a stay-at-home defenceman who plays a throwback style; the new Theo Peckham on Edmonton’s blue line. 

As for what he is as a player? Theo Peckham isn’t far-off as a comparison there, either. Fraser has struggled badly this year, with regular partners Paul Ranger and Morgan Rielly both faring better without him than with him. Of interest, though, is the way he and Cody Franson played together last season, and the way his regular partners in New Jersey (primarily Andy Greene and Johnny Oduya) played with and without him. He has had a measure of success in the NHL before, even if he isn’t enjoying that this season.

For the time being the pending unrestricted free agent can provide the Oilers with physical play in the six/seven slot and provide the Oilers with a warm body if they choose to move other free agents like Anton Belov or Nick Schultz or Corey Potterat the deadline. He has familiarity with Dallas Eakins from time spent with the Marlies, so he should slot in to the Oilers system with relative ease, and his skillset is a nice fit alongside any of Potter, Philip Larsen or Taylor Fedun on that bottom pair.

This is a small trade, but it adds a dimension the Oilers were lacking at the cost of players the team didn’t really care about anyway. The player with the most potential to be an NHL difference-maker went to Toronto, but Hartikainen wasn’t going to be that guy in Edmonton and the trade market for ‘tweeners who want one-way deals isn’t as robust as it could be. 

Update – via @Steve_Dangle of Leafs Nation comes this Hockey Night in Canada segment on Fraser:

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Additionally, Jeff Veillette – who covered Fraser in person when Fraser played for the AHL’s Toronto Marlies – wrote a piece on the trade for Leafs Nation.

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  • Zamboni Driver

    The trashes here are more hilarious than anything.

    Blind faithers think that this is meaningful.

    Trading nothing and less than nothing for another big slow cement head who can’t play a lick….

    The bridge to nowhere is going just great MacT.

    Have your joy that your heroic braintrust is out there working hard to “Improve” things.

    • Hemmercules

      I don’t understand the MacT hate. The guy took on a last place team of smurfs 6 months ago from a passive GM. He added Ference, Gordon, Perron, Scrivens, Brysgalov, Belov, Hendricks and now Fraser. Tried to get Bernier, Schneider, Clarkson and probably others in trade attempts we never heard about. He shipped out some underachievers in Duby, Paajarvi and Smid.

      The guy is active, more so than most GM’s out there as far as I can see. Not all moves will be great, not all will work out, but the guy is trying.

      I seems to me a lot of people think its as easy as calling up GM’s and demanding they trade their great players to us for our junk. Not gonna happen.

      I want playoffs next year as much as anyone but it likely wont happen that fast. Tambloweini’s team will take time to correct and I think MacT has the potential to do it.

        • Bucknuck

          worst in the league? Sorry man, that honour is bestowed upon the mighty Sabres of Buffalo. I still have hope the Oil will finish higher than the flames (and then win the draft lottery anyways). I am curious what happens down the stretch.

      • camdog

        All Mac – T has done is trade 4 liners and nobody’s for 4th liners or nobodies. You could put the 4th line of the Oilers on any NHL team and their record and standings would not change.

        It is the first 3 lines and the top 4 D, that make the difference.

        It is called ICE Time.

        The reason no free agent will come here is because the Oilers have the worst management team and record to show for that in the league. The players know this, the agents (who know more inside information than the players) also know this. If I were an agent, would I give advice for any of my players to go to the worst team in the league over the past 14 years who have the same management or choose another team for the same salary.

        People, use your heads. This is Lowe’s team. He has been in charge of everything since he took over as GM and has been involved in every decision with the GM who he has hired since. The Oilers are going nowhere until Lowe, Mac-T, et. all are gone.

  • Serious Gord

    We now go from FOKs being the overarching and only narrative to adding a new acronym FOE.

    Being a friend of Eakins seems to be handy on ones CV.

    Why don’t they just fire the scouting staff. They seem to have little usefulness if connections/friendship with management trumps merit.

    • Zarny

      Good grief, get a grip.

      You’re the poster child for fans who have completely wet their pants this year.

      Fraser played a whopping 50 games over 2 seasons with the Marlies. He and Eakins are no doubt BFF’s.

      Or more likely, the Oilers went after a player people in their organization have worked with in person.

      Which pretty much every team in the entire NHL does.

  • papler

    according to Capgeek, Mark Fraser is a UFA next year. So what exactly is the plan with this transaction?

    freeing up an additional contract for some trades that are maybe going to happen?

    Leafs are wondering why somebody even wanted Fraser in the first place, let alone give something back in the trade…

  • YEGFan

    This gets a -2 from me. We’ll see if I’m wrong.

    Hartikainen had upside. Mark Fraser has downside.


    People will forget about this move in a month (when Mark Fraser drags Belov, Potter, Larsen, and N Schultz down like a boat anchor tied to an already sinking ship) and continue complaining that the Oilers have no size. MacT will add another few terrible players, simply because of their height and weight, over the summer, they will drag the team down and be flushed out of the NHL, and clueless fans will continue to complain the Oilers are too small and that they need to add big players. Fans will continue to not notice that a huge majority of the team’s mistakes over the past years has been adding big players with no skill, and coaching will continue to be blamed for not somehow turning these awful over sized people into NHL talents through sheer coaching will.

    The quest for big has been going on for a long time. It’s failing and it’s killing the Oilers.

  • Zarny

    What a joke. Yes, this is exactly what the team needs – more bottom pairing defencemen. Because Belov, Grebs, Larsen, Schultz Sr., Schultz Jr., Fedun and Klefbom aren’t enough.

    If I am Fedun, I am thinking “WTF?” I doubt we see Fedun in Edmonton for any material amount of time after this trade, if at all.

    • Zarny

      Actually if you’re Fedun, you’re thinking “great maybe Fraser will be able to knock ginormous centers like Getzlaf and Thornton off the puck…because I certainly can’t do it.”

      • Rocknrolla

        Fedun wants to play in the NHL not cheer on guys who are taking his place and making his money. If you think anything otherwise you’re lying to yourself.

      • YEGFan

        Yeah! He can lay big hits on Thornton and Getzlaf after they’ve passed the puck for easy goals by Pavelski and Perry! Then I’m sure Thornton and Getzlaf will think twice before completely outplaying him again on the next shift, because, you know, tough guys on every team have been super effective at shutting centres like them down…

    • Joe Mamma

      Look again at the names you just listed, spend a little time thinking about the attributes each of those players brings, and you will have your case for why this is EXACTLY the kind of player we need in that spot in the rotation.

      Frankly, who gives a crap about Fedun? I like the kid, but he’s more of the same of what we already have. Which, in case you haven’t noticed, isn’t working so well.

  • Word to the Bird

    This trade just makes you wonder: why?

    Playoffs are out of reach, he’s a UFA who probably won’t re-sign, and it maybe marginally improves our defense. What happened to no more quick fixes?

    • This trade ads very much needed toughness to Edms lineup. MacT is changing the leagues mentality towards playing Edm. Too many times we as fans here that nobody fears playing the Oilers and therefor are not concerned with consequences of taking runs at our top players.

      Great job Mac.

      Fire Lowe

  • Zamboni Driver

    Good god.

    See? Look at all the trades and stuff we’re making. SO many changes!


    I’ve been saying for years, the big problem has always been 7-8 D, backup goalies and 4th line forwards.

    WHAT ABOUT POTTER??!!What will become of Corey Potter?!

  • The Last Big Bear



    I TOLD YOU SO!!!!

    Craig “The Brain” MACTAVISH did it again. A freakin genius move!!! Once again!!!

    MacT is active and is bringing in the freaking BIGTIME MASHERS in the NHL!!!!

    I pity any who this this or the Hendricks deal is a bad deal!!