The Edmonton Oilers are under new management and fate has given them a tremendous chance to turn north in one fell swoop. As we get closer to training camp, the possibility of bringing in players on tryout deals exists. A veteran like Curtis Glencross or Jan Hejda might be able to help and the risk is minimal. Why would a team pass on the opportunity? For one very good reason.
Understand Oilers considered Glencross on PTO but will go with their own signed forwards first. Draisaitl will get look on wing on 3rd line
— Jim Matheson (@NHLbyMatty) September 4, 2015
If Peter Chiarelli brings in Glencross, the veteran winger gets a chance to create chemistry with any of the four or five centermen on the parent team. That chemistry could grow into a contract and from there Glencross can help in any number of ways. Let’s have a look at Edmonton’s depth chart currently and see where the veteran might fit.
I’d say (based on this list) Glencross would put Rob Klinkahmmer’s job in jeopardy and might push all the way up to (and including) 2line RW as a possible slot. That’s impressive, but remember Glencross has offensive ability and (last time I checked) had reasonable speed for a rugged older fellow.
Even if Glencross helps this season, and I believe he could, then what? Edmonton needs to develop some inexpensive players who can contribute. Men like Tyler Pitlick (who represents the group that also includes Iiro Pakarinen and Andrew Miller) could gain traction and emerge as useful players for the young cluster that should push Edmonton deep into the spring over the latter part of the decade and into the 2020’s.
This gives us a better look at the bubbling under crew, youngsters like Anton Slepyshev, Greg Chase, Kale Kessy and Mitchell Moroz. IF the Oilers felt Pitlick, Pakarinen and Miller were strictly minor league, grabbing Glencross would probably be a reasonable idea. Leave the rest on the farm and then see how they grow, with absolutely no rush on any of them.
AND THEN THERE’S LEON
The biggest factor in not inviting Glencross might be the big German and the possibility of playing him on the wing (I’d prefer RW, your mileage may vary). If Todd McLellan likes the big youngster as a 3L forward who can jump up as needed, then bringing him along now may make perfect sense.
If it doesn’t work out, the club can make a decision at the end of camp. In the meantime, those valuable pre-season minutes will go to the prospect, with Glencross and others auditioning on other clubs or waiting for a phone call.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
I think this is the right call. Give Pakarinen or Pitlick or even Kale Kessy those training camp minutes, there’s plenty of time to adlib if the kids aren’t ready. Hell, maybe one of them will be a quick study!