The Oilers made a roster move on Wednesday, sending little-used Russian winger Anton Slepyshev to the minors and bringing back the speedy Andrew Miller, a minor-league scorer capable of playing both wing and centre.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) November 4, 2015
The demotion of Slepyshev is probably overdue from a development perspective, though it’s also tough to blame the Oilers for keeping him up in the majors given their current shortage of manpower. Slepyshev picked up a single assist in 10 games as his ice time was held below 9:00 per game, but he should immediately be a feature scorer at the AHL level and get far more ice time than he received in the NHL.
The addition of Miller gives the Oilers some options. As with Slepyshev, he can play the wing if need be, but with Connor McDavid now lost to injury it’s far from certain that happens. He might plausibly slide into the Oilers’ vacant second-line centre position; he might also take on a role lower in the rotation, allowing either Mark Letestu or Anton Lander to advance up the depth chart.
It’s a small move, in the grand scheme of things, but a sensible one. It gives Slepyshev, a prized prospect, the chance to play some real minutes and have an honest impact on the game; he’s likely to be better for his time in the AHL. It also gives the Oilers a more versatile option in Miller, something that they’re going to need as they try to adapt to life post-McDavid.