Keith Aulie waived by the Edmonton Oilers


The writing has been on the wall for a while with respect to Keith Aulie. The Oilers’ No. 7 defenceman for much of the year has seen himself passed on the team depth chart by prospect Martin Marincin, and twice in the past week has sat in favour of Oklahoma City call-up Jordan Oesterle.

On Sunday, Edmonton placed the defenceman on waivers.



The Oilers made a low-risk bet on Aulie in the summer, signing the 25-year-old as a free agent to a one-year, $800,000 contract. The 6’6”, 222-pound defenceman had once been highly regarded as a defensive prospect, and Edmonton’s brain-trust had several connections to him. He was part of the Toronto organization during Dallas Eakins’ time there, and of course general manager Craig MacTavish specifically mentioned pro scout Duane Sutter, who was familiar with the player from his time as a prospect for the Calgary Flames.

This wasn’t an analytics signing. Aulie has always had wretched underlying numbers, and has shown why this year with his propensity for handling the puck like a lit stick of dynamite. Aulie’s strengths are physical and defensive, and during his time in Edmonton they simply haven’t been good enough to compensate for his weaknesses.

But there’s no need to overstate this. The Oilers made a cheap bet on a player who intrigued them. It has not worked out; these things happen. It seems probable that one way or another Aulie’s time with the organization is over. If he isn’t claimed on waivers, it’s likely (based on the Oilers’ actions) that the team will opt not to issue a qualifying offer this summer.

The Rest of the Wire

The two defencemen were clearly the most interesting guys on the waiver wire yesterday. Calgary adds Albertan David Schlemko, who is a legitimate No. 6-8 defenceman and does a bunch of things well. It’s not a sexy pickup, but for a team in need of a little insurance on the back end it’s a reasonable one.

Tim Erixon was a guy I thought the Oilers might look at. He’s an offensive defenceman with impeccable numbers in the minors and decent underlying totals in the majors; he’s also 6’2” and 200 pounds. Edmonton could really use a(nother?) scoring defender and power play specialist, and given their repeated looks at Brad Hunt I thought they might be desperate enough to give Erixon a cameo. Instead, Toronto now will. It’s going to be a fun side story to follow over the rest of the season to see whether the Oilers missed out or if Erixon is just another low-risk dud, like Aulie.

Today’s list is a lot less interesting.

Rene Bourque would be intriguing at the right price, but has another year on a lousy contract and has not been effective for the Ducks since coming over in trade from Montreal. Paul Carey is a ‘tweener, Craig Cunningham a small ‘tweener.

Tye McGinn is the most interesting guy on the list. He’s reasonably big (6’2”, 205), does a number of things well and at 24 years of age is young enough that there might be a little untapped potential there. The problem is that he hasn’t scored much at all in 69 career NHL games and his minor-league numbers don’t suggest that’s about to change anytime soon. If the Oilers are worried about a warm body to fill Iiro Pakarinen’s spot and don’t want to handicap Oklahoma City a claim is plausible, but it’s not a move I’d make. If Edmonton needs a body, Andrew Miller and Curtis Hamilton are waiting on the farm and would doubtless love to get into their first NHL action.


    • Slapshot

      Granted, thet should have claimed Erixon, a low risk move for the Oilers. But at this point, its only a drop of water in the ocean of things the Oilers should have done or should have not done. After starting the season wiht Arcobello and Draisaitl as #2 and #3 centers, Erixon is the least of our worries. Aren’t you scared that these guys are currently negotiating trade for Petry? Be afraid.

  • Burnward

    “He has the opportunity because of his age and his skill set to have a significant impact on our team. When you look at the make-up of our defence now it looks like an NHL defence, which it didn’t always last year,”

    That’s what MacT said last year talking about Aulie. Scary, scary stuff.

    • vetinari

      MacT is not in my good books right now but from a negotiating standpoint, waiting until tomorrow morning to deal Petry makes sense… most of the other mid to high end defencemen are off the table, extended or traded already so it makes sense to try to force an auction or bidding war for his services because there are really no right handed quality defencemen presently on the market.

      Some playoff bound team will get stupid and overpay for Petry with either a mid level prospect and a late first rounder or a quality prospect and a mid round pick.

      I hope that MacT can work some magic and maybe unload a couple of prospects for an actual NHL player with some term from another non-playoff team.

      For me, I expect to only see Petry dealt before the deadline and any other acquisitions to fill a need will be purely gravy.

      We wait.

      • Burnward

        You make some good points………the thing that worries me is that waiting for the last minute deal sometime puts you at a disadvantage.

        I suspect playing off one team against another may be good strategy to maximize your results but what happens when one team or both teams back out, because suddenly someone else has entered into the equation?

        Maybe I’m out to lunch on this …….but I’m getting worried that no matter how many players get moved out…….Nelson will have this team playing too good to expect a first overall draft choice.

        • vetinari

          Well, as long as you have at least two teams in on the bidding, you have the potential to escalate the bids. The key is not getting too cocky and knowing how to set the terms.

          Set the price early (say, a first rounder and a quality prospect) to be met by a certain time (11:00am?), and if you don’t get what you ask for, then best offer available takes him.

          Someone will take Petry– it’s just a question of at what price.

          • PutzStew

            The problem is this is the Oilers so MacT and Kblowe will try doing something stupid like getting the player to pay to get out or something like that which will kill most good deals.

      • PutzStew

        You could be right about MacT, but we won’t really know until tomorrow. No doubt he had received a number of offers and is weighing them, but of course we don’t know how good those offers are.There are still teams who could use a solid second pairing D man and there’s not much left on the market, but holding out for more is always a gamble. The price could go up or down depending on the changing dynamics. Anything less than a late first rounder or a very good prospect would magnify his error in not trying hard to sign Petry long term last summer.

  • vetinari

    The only surprise here is that it took so long. Eakins sure could “Talk the talk” – he should be a snake oil salesman. Good news is now the Edmonton Marlies are no more, that in itself is worth celebrating.

  • PutzStew

    They could be clearing room on the roster as well and put him their at the deadline so he could have a better chance of being claimed Coburn is being mentioned. Petry for Coburn and a pick? Ference for a pick? Deadline deals? Would you do it?

  • Slapshot

    Mactavish,Lowe ,Howsen and Katz are busy watching the Oilers Stanley cup reruns,let’s hope the popcorn runs out before the trade deadline is over,it’s becoming obvious that the Oilers brain trust did not get the memo that the deadline is tomorrow.

  • Kevwan

    I take this as a sign that the Oilers are bringing in an NHL player(s) – probably a D.

    With Petry going and Iro out they don’t need the roster spot do they?

    Maybe they just want to audition some OKC kids but that would’ve been Petry’s spot. I guess we’ll see.

  • ubermiguel

    It’s a little off topic, but do you think MacT could have gotten Yandle from AZ for a little more than the song the Rangers picked him up for. They’re still retaining half his salary too!

    Wake up MacT. There are bold moves available, you just need to seek them out.

    This one hurts me. Yandle is a legit first pairing Dman. Not many of those around. Don’t know if he’s just a rental, or if he had a NMC; however, if the answer is “no” to both those questions MacT ought to be canned for not finding a way to pick him up.

    • SuntanOil

      Anthony Duclair, a first and a second is hardly a song. I can’t imagine the venom around here is MacT gave up that much for about 100 games of a Dman.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        I think that Yandle deal should make Montreal wake up. First, I think Carey Price is the best goalie in the league right now. I think Montreal should take a shot now. Second, Oilers’ fans will remember what opposition teams do to hot goalies in the playoffs. Andrew Ladd had a clear lane to the crease and took it and knocked out Roloson. Better defending would have prevented that. Montreal needs to add a veteran Dman to protect Carey Price as much as possible.

    • ubermiguel

      Song? The Rangers gave up their best prospect, a 1st next year,a 2nd this year and John Moore for Yandle.
      Would you give up Nurse or Draisatal and those picks for Yandle? If you would, you probably would’ve been able to get him. I wouldn’t. Not at this point.

      I’m definitely not In the business of defending any of the morons in Oilers management but I don’t think this is a deal that would work for us. I think Yandle is a fine defenceman. He has put up 1st D pairing points in the past but he would be a guy that will not play against the other teams top lines. In New York he will likely be their 4th best defensive option at best behind McDonagh, Staal, and Girardi. He may get more points than those guys but all three are better defensive options.

  • oilerjed

    If Tye has the grit and character his brother Jamie has than he should for sure be a pick up off the waiver wire. Some size too ! But six rings and the others that make make up the three blind mice are always smarter than the rest of the league. Well, one thing for sure if there was a Toilet bowl prize for finishing last they would certainly be in the running for that every year.

  • oilerjed

    Passing over Erixon doesn’t worry me too much. We already have a logjam of defense prospects equal to Erixon do we not?

    Hoping waiving Aulie is the pretext to something big though. Like as was said above what is the real point of waiving a seventh dman unless you are hoping some sucker takes his contract off your hands so you can move in someone with a high contract. It’s not like they are going to bring up anyone from OKC just to be the 7th man. Im just glad they didnt send down Maricin again!

  • Sammy p

    There should be no doubt that Arizona will get the No.1 pick.
    And he will become the saviour in the desert.
    Pre-ordained by the NHL to allow another “Crosby like”!draft to get reimbursed for their investment in keeping the Arizona franchise alive.
    Mr Bettman is answerable to the directors and Mr Bettman is no fool.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      TOTALLY AGREE!!!!! bettman is seseeing this league and giving it to the useless markets down south. Completely ignores potential canadian markets and goes for the useless markets in the states. Can’t wait until he is gone.

      • PutzStew

        Sigh how soon we forget. 15 year ago Bettman stood in Edmonton and did everything he could to keep a team in small markets like Edmonton and Calgary despite He did not give massive breaks to T.O. or Phili, or NYR, DET or COL all of whom were pushing salaries far higher then small market teams could not afford. Today fans in a financially stable city like Edmonton a lipping off Bettman for trying doing the exact same thing for a team that is in the same position, Edmonton was in 15 years ago. By your thinking the Edmonton Oilers would have been gone before the first lock out, which given the way thing turned out, might not be a bad idea.

        Chew on that please

        • ubermiguel

          Bettman has made many mistakes, but I will never boo the man because he along with the EIG helped save the Oilers…for what it’s worth these days. There are more compelling reasons to get hockey out of Arizona and Florida than Edmonton though.

      • vetinari

        Oilers fans upset that they can’t get a 4th #1 pick..isn’t that cute. LOL

        You are all so used to being a laughingstock that you view that selection as annually yours.

        You’ve had your chance. Enjoy the next decade

  • Quicksilver ballet

    It isn’t as much the Oilers having no interest in Yandle or Erixon. MacTavish is just wanting to save any post trade embarrassment by asking if they’re interested in this Edmonton opportunity prior to even making the deal. Obviously both players could have said thanks but no thanks to MacTavishs Edmonton experience.

    You can’t blame them for not wanting to be part of the entrenched losing culture management has established/worked hard to maintain in Edmonton.

    The fruits of stupidity in action are known league wide by now unfortunately. Prepare yourself for some underwhelming results for the next 24 hrs.

  • Alsker

    I’m not interested in who’s 2nd rnd pick the oilers get tomorrow, I’m interested in what dman and what goalie they get this summer. I’m hoping they get the 3rd overall pick because they’d be more inclined to move it and they can get a boat load for this years 3rd overall pick on draft day