Should Chiarelli Sign Derek Roy?

There has been a lot of change to Oil Country over the past
few weeks and almost all of it has been for the good. The lottery win has been
instrumental in kicking off a completely new era in Edmonton Oiler History. They
hired their first proven/competent GM since Sather, the team is on the verge of
hiring one of the two marquee coaches on the market, and obviously we are just
a month and a half away from choosing the best prospect in a decade on Draft
Day. Almost everyone associated with the team is ecstatic but it hasn’t been
good news for everybody. MacTavish had the rug pulled out from under him
publicly. Todd Nelson twists in the wind knowing full well he will be passed
over again. And, Derek Roy saw his odds of signing on with the Oilers drop like
a stone.

Now there’s still hope for Derek Roy if he wants to stay
with the club but things have gone radio silent with regards to the team
potentially signing him since the changeover.

On the very day the Pete Chiarelli was spotted in Edmonton,
MacTavish told Bob Stauffer that he was still very interested in signing Derek
Roy even after winning the Lottery. His words, “No, we’d like to have Derek
back. We haven’t had any success in doing that to this point but we’re still
very interested in having Derek back.”

It would just be a few days later that the Oil would remove
the man who said he wanted to sign Roy from the position to do so.
Unsurprisingly, signing Derek Roy has not been Peter Chiarelli’s number 1
priority, but every day that passes makes it seem much more likely that Roy
will not be re-signed.


Unlike several of my blogger colleagues, I like what Derek Roy brought
to the team. From my seat it looked to me like Derek Roy was exactly what the
doctor ordered for Edmonton’s 2nd line and Nail Yakupov in
particular. He embraced a role as Yak’s centerman and the duo built some real
chemistry. In fact, I think it’s impossible to make a case for Roy without
explicitly talking about the turnaround of Nail Yakupov.

Yakupov looked lost in the year and a half he played under
Dallas Eakins but in that time he never really got a fulltime centerman to work
with. He kept getting bounced around, sat in the third period, pushed down the
lineup, and forgotten in key scoring situations. The centerman he spent the
most time with over his first 3 seasons was traded for Purcell, another winger.
Yak played 180 minutes 5v5 with Draisaitl last season and managed just 1 goal on 22 shots
in that entire time. Having a 0.33 P/60 as a top 6 winger is…brutal.

Enter Derek Roy.

Roy made it his business to make Yakupov more successful
offensively and business was good. He knew he had a shooter and focused on
getting his man the puck. With Draisaitl Yak was taking 7.33 shots per 60 with
Leon Draisaitl (still good) but that shifted up to 8.65 shots per 60 with Derek
Roy. At the end of the day Yakupov would finish with the highest shots per 60
on the entire club (min 200 minutes played 5v5).

In total Yakupov would score 21 points at even strength. 75%
of that would come playing with Derek Roy despite the fact that he only played
with Roy for 50% of his total 5v5 minutes. Playing with Roy compared to playing
with Draisaitl, Yak went from 0.33 P/60 with the rookie to 1.68 P/60 with the

The Oilers are a team comprised mainly of youth with more
youth on the way. Derek Roy has the one thing that none of these kids have,
experience. He represents 738 games of NHL experience. That’s more than Hall
and Eberle combined. Edmonton is short on experience and this guy can add quite
a bit.


The issue is that two things happened at the same time as
the Yakupov turnaround. The Oilers did indeed acquire an experienced 2nd
line center in Roy, but they also replaced Dallas Eakins with a Todd Nelson. We
can’t give Roy all of the credit because a fair amount also belongs to Edmonton’s
interim coach.

Todd Nelson empowered Yakupov with support and playing time.
Now Todd Nelson is unlikely to be the team’s Head Coach next fall, but Todd
McLellan has long been considered something of an offensive genius and Nelly
might be convinced to stick around as an Associate. On paper that sounds
fantastic for players who possess high end talent like Nail Yakupov, among many

The team probably doesn’t feel like they need to hedge their
bets on the offense by signing Roy the way they did with the relatively
unproven Nelson. Todd McLellan can likely be counted to get the most out of
whoever that 2C will be, and it looks like there’s every chance that player
will be Connor McDavid.

Connor McDavid of the 169 points in 67 games (regular season
and playoffs) is going to be drafted and is going to earn a spot on the Oilers
in their top 6. Now that could be on the wing, but it he can be insulated by
the likes of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Boyd Gordon enough to make starting him
down the middle viable.

It’s hard to actually watch Connor McDavid play and still be
concerned that Nail Yakupov might struggle with him. Leon Draisaitl is still a
fantastic prospect, but goodness this kid is special.

And what of Roy himself? All the experience in the world doesn’t
change that he’s 5’9” and less than 190 pounds. He isn’t going to add the
heaviness than Chiarelli likes. He might work well with Yakupov but he’s still
just another small forward on a team with a perceived size problem.

Then there’s the issue of his possession numbers. Playing
with Yak he took on favourable Zone Starts but still ended his time in Edmonton
with a 46.9% CF. Those just aren’t great numbers given that his line started
more in the offensive zone than the defensive zone.

Roy produced about a half a point per game with Edmonton and
some are projecting McDavid to score as many as 80+ points as a Rookie. If Roy
can’t hope to produce what the incoming teenager can produce and he isn’t pushing
the river of possession then there isn’t much else left for him. Faceoffs, maybe?
Unfortunately he was 43.6% on the Faceoff dot this past season so he can
probably leave that off his resume.



I’m going to suggest something here that is maybe
unexpected. I think the Oilers should absolutely find a spot for Roy, just not
as the 2C of the team. Connor McDavid is an unstoppable force and should take
that 2nd line Center spot handedly in camp. The Oilers should sign
Derek Roy as a replacement for Teddy Purcell.

Derek Roy is certainly going to cost no more than half of
what Purcell makes and while he is significantly smaller, they both play the
same size. Purcell is not a bad player, really, but he will be making more
money than his role on the club should afford him and he can’t sub in down the
middle as Roy could if injury hits the team (doesn’t it always?). I would
rather have “too many” centers on the team than too little and having another
veteran who can play as a pivot is a big positive.

Realistically, however, I don’t think Roy fits into
Chiarelli’s plan. The new GM and President will be eager to put his own stamp
on the team and with 2C effectively sewn up already he has probably set his
sights on the Defense.

Chiarelli wants heavy and Derek Roy doesn’t qualify.

The team has other priorities and what made sense to
MacTavish probably seems like gibberish to the new man in charge. The GM wanted
him on a Wednesday and was replaced on that Friday. Then there’s been nothing.
Will Chiarelli sign him? I am doubtful.

  • Serious Gord

    I say yes to a value contract and use him to shelter McDavid if need special as Connor is he will still hit a slump against tough opponents and we slot Roy in to take draws or shelter the next coming.

  • YFC Prez

    After reading this fine peice of work I find myself in need of a little clash.

    Time to dust off the old records, combat rock or London calling? Hmmmm the dilemma.

    Also Roy should be re-signed unless a clear upgrade at a cheap price presents itself. Remember if last year tough us anything it’s that the more centres the merrier.

  • YFC Prez

    Pretty sure PC wants to spend the Derek Roy money on Carl Soderberg

    After he buys out NN and moves Shultz for whatever he can get. I’d say he gets some competent nhl dmen…to add to Fayne, Klefbomm, Maricin, Ferrence.

  • YFC Prez

    At this point one would think the Oil centers will be RNH, McDavid, Landner and Gordon One can certainly make a case that Roy is at least as competent as Landner although the two’s strengths and weaknesses are quite different. Nothing wrong with 5 centers on the roster, certainly better than the 2 they had much of last year. Roy makes sense as a depth center, but PC has to judge how to manage his 50 contract limit a well.

    I would say that PC is the only proven GM that Oil have ever hired. Although he was very successful, Slats has zero management experience when he became GM and just 2 years experience as a coach.

  • 786

    Agree with you too many centres are way better than too few. But I don’t think We should conclude Roy is out of Chiarelli’s plan at this point. In his introduction press he said heavy doesn’t always mean size. You can be under sized but play with a heavy stick. And I remember Seguin played wing for a while in Boston. As amazing as MacDivid is, I’d take it slow to slot him in the wing first and give him some time to adjust to NHL.

  • Zarny

    It’s kind of sad how the bar in Edmonton has been kicked onto the floor.

    There is really only one argument for signing Roy…he’s a legit NHL player.

    Which is preferable over rookies who shouldn’t be in the league yet (Draisaitl) or undrafted centers who couldn’t make an NHL roster until 25 and have the same deficiencies as Roy (Arcobello).

    So if Chiarelli can’t afford and/or can’t convince a better C to sign in Edmonton then resign Roy.

    However, if the Oilers really want to improve and actually start moving up the standings Chiarelli should target someone better.

    Even with Roy, Nelson and an “improved” Yak the Oilers were still 5 games under 0.500. Over 82 games they still would have finished 26th. Roy’s point total in Edm over a full season would only have been 39 pts.

    That’s not good. McDavid isn’t going to miraculously turn that into a playoff contender.

    It’s time to pick the bar up off the floor.

  • NJ

    A couple things.

    Roy. It is my belief he won’t be resigned. There are better options out there and we now have a certain amount of depth at centre, all better options than Roy. There are too many small wingers on the oilers and unless he can be had for minimal dollars at the end of the summer this absolutely isn’t going to happen. The facts are it’s more likely he will be signed by a cash strapped team looking for centre depth and veteran help.

    LD. Everyone keeps saying he’s going to be up here playing 3rd line wing. I would suggest based on Chiarelli’s history that the first stop for LD is Bakersfield. He isn’t Phil Kessel, Seguin or Lucic. History says he starts in the AHL. If he does that would be excellent prospect development, something the Oil are missing. With RNH, McD, Lander and Gordon there’s no need to have him up here. Better for him to play 20+ minutes a night in the AHL than 12 minutes a night here.

    Gordon. Why are we trading this guy? To replace him with Malhotra? Really? The guy is a warrior. He brings it every single night. He’s exactly the kind of guy Chia likes. I bet he signs an extension here at similar money and I wouldn’t care if he did. Facts are he’s much closer to a 3rd line centre or higher based on his dzone starts and he doesn’t pee and moan about it, just goes about his business. Malhotra hasn’t been the same since his eye injury.

    Much better to sign him for 2 years more after which Lander will be considered a veteran and likely able to take over duties. LD will be ready then and be experienced enough and your center depth will then be RNH / McD / LD / Lander. And yes, that will be the deepest, most talented, scariest center line-up in the league.

    Lastly. Yakupov. Why does every trade “suggestion” start with this guy? Anyone looking to dump salary by trading a 2-3 d man doesn’t start with Yakupov. They start with Klefbom or Darnell Nurse. Once again based on Chia’s history, all 3 of those guys fit the bill for what he wants in his team. I can see Eberle being moved before any of those 3 based on the ‘plays like butter factor’, and because of his 6 mil salary, that doesn’t help a cash strapped team. So, what does that mean?

    It means Chia attempts to address our needs via UFAs. He stays the course for this season until he really sees what he has and goes from there.

    My $.02

    • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

      Just to clarify my position, my #1 choice is Sodorberg. Failing that, I would like Gordon to re-sign at $1-$1.5 million to play 4C. I think he’s worth more than that to another team as a versatile vet center who can play 3C or 4C, though, so I don’t think he signs here for that amount unless he really wants to play on a team with McDavid.

      That’s why I’m suggesting bringing in Malhotra to see if he can take over Gordon’s minutes while splitting the defensive starts with Lander. Malhotra is a dedicated 4C, and can be paid as one. One or two years at $1 million per buys Leon a season or two in Bakersfield to develop.

      EDIT: Also, Eberle is a perennial top 10 RW in the league. He’s got more career points than Hall or Nuge. $6 million a year is an incredibly reasonable price for a first line winger who will score 60-70 points for you every year.

      I agree that I could see him being moved for help elsewhere, but it seems like your comment is saying his contract makes him hard to trade. It’s the exact opposite, in fact.

  • Johnnydapunk

    In the opening Matt calls Chiarelli the ‘first proven/ competent GM since Sather’. First proven ever really, but wasn’t Kevin Lowe competent? Don’t get me wrong; I’ve been in FireKevinLowe Facebook groups and had comments ripped down from sports sites across the web when talking about his role in the last 9 years, but now that he’s been sufficiently marginalised, can we give him his due for not only the ’06 cup run but the belief that his return to Edmonton restored in the team? For my money it was the day that he traded Ryan Smyth to New York (how much forshadow was that that he had to sit out of Messier’s Jersey hanging?)that he demonstrated that the summer before and the demands of his superstars on the way out had really rattled him.
    Regarding Roy, I think that the McDavid lottery greatly diminishes his value to the Oilers. Someone better will be happy to come in and take those minutes. Regarding the mythical ‘Yak effect’, one of the guys on here a few weeks back pulled out a lot of their fancy numbers and demonstrated that it wasn’t good things that Roy was doing but bad things that Yak was no longer getting from Arco and Drais. I’m sure he’d be fine playing on Nuge’s wing.

  • I think the Roy question, is contingent on him being the Yak whisperer? If Yak is paired with McD, does Roy’s value to us decrease?

    At the risk of poking myself in the eye with a stick, do you package Roy up with Yak as instant offensive boost to a hungry team, and trade for a decent D?

    Add a pick if it’s not juicy enough.

  • I hope everybody who thinks it would be smart to trade Taylor Hall are watching the IIHF tourney. Its ok to admit that your wrong. Is there a winger in the league at that age and talent that you would rather have playing with Mcdavid? Didnt think so…..

  • YFC Prez

    Way off topic but

    That play by Giroux was rediculous. I think this is the best team Canada I’ve seen at the WC.

    Whoever said Hall and Eberle look bad playing with Crosby in POLLZ the other night.

    You’re insane.

  • hagar

    It’s too bad Hall has almost zero physicality.

    Not dissing his skill with the puck or scoring, but the way he jumps in the opposite direction when someone comes to hit him, or how he gets one hand shoved off a check, is really bad.

    He isn’t even that small, but it’s like he is made out of feathers or something.

      • hagar

        Just imagine how good he would be if he didn’t get knocked off the puck by a stiff breeze.

        How can he be around 200 pounds and not have more resistance to body checks? Trying to turn and jump out of the way of a body check is how you get hurt, not leaning into it and bracing yourself.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Once again, the western conference final is the real Stanley Cup final. I can’t see Tampa or NY beating Anaheim or Chicago. Chicago is too fast, Anaheim is too big.

    Also, that’s a gold medal at the Olympics, a gold at the WJC, and a gold at the World Championship in the last year or so.

    Canadian Domination To Continue

  • hagar

    PASS…. Poor defensively,, not strong on the puck, poor in the face off circle. Decent around the net and hockey IQ is okay. Moving ahead , need more size for this Conf.

    Time to find a new baby sitter for Yak, or teach him to play with other players.

    He may be a bargin basement , but he is not part of even the near future of this team.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Congratulations to all Oilers involved in Worlds . Hall and Eberle probably matured and developed more as players from this experience than last 6 years of losing hockey . I’m sure they will bring that with them into next season and have banner years helping lead our team back into contention . Now they know what it takes to be successful , and the committment and teamwork required to excel . Enjoy the gold medal and experience , as they earned it well . Almost as nice as winning Stanley Cup , and for some of us perhaps even better that they did it representing Canada . A nice ending to our Oiler season . Cudos to Lander , Klefbom and Hendriks – well played fellas .