To the surprise of no one, the Edmonton Oilers announced today that Leon Draisaitl is staying—for now—with the team. A long and uneven tradition that began with Sam Gagner continues unabated, as the Oilers like their forwards to take one giant leap whenever humanly possible.
It looks like GM Craig MacTavish may be looking to hedge his bets a little though, and that’s good news for Oilers fans.
OILERS DEPTH CHART AT CENTER
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
- Leon Draisaitl
- Mark Arcobello
- Boyd Gordon
- Will Acton
Bubbling down in OKC are Bogdan Yakimov, Anton Lander, Jujhar Khaira and Travis Ewanyk, along with AHL/Euro pro veteran Jason Williams. It is not a strong group, which makes a recent TSN 1040 interview with Bob McKenzie so interesting.
WHAT EXACTLY DID MCKENZIE SAY?
Bob McKenzie: “The Edmonton Oilers, I think, are looking for a centre. They’d like a
little more depth at the position and maybe insulate the 19-year-old,
Leon Draisaitl a little bit. He’s staying. He’s going to play his 10th
game against Nashville. That’ll burn the first year of his entry level
deal, but I still think Craig MacTavish is probably looking for a centre
and some help.”
More McKenzie: “But moves aren’t easy to make and we’ll see where
things go. It’s usually as we get closer to American Thanksgiving,
towards the third week of November – that’s when you’re more likely to
see deals than maybe right now.”
This is very encouraging for Oilers fans, who can enjoy an improved team in 2014-15, but one that clearly has some holes and center is a major concern.
WHO WILL THEY GET?
Although we can’t identify exactly who Edmonton would acquire, I think it’s reasonable to suggest they would be looking for players who could help in the NHL immediately upon acquisition. So, better than Will Acton and Anton Lander, and probably better than Mark Arcobello, but unlikely to cost more than a pick and a prospect, and certainly nothing off the current roster.
The encouraging news is that Edmonton is apparently working on improving quality in an area that lacks depth and could impact the season in a negative way should injuries hit.
It’s a good day for Leon Draisaitl, as a fan I’m thrilled he gets more games to show his ability. I’m at least as pleased to find out Craig MacTavish is doing his due diligence with an eye to improve the pro roster.