Defenceman Kevin Connauton was claimed off waivers by Arizona on Wednesday, but he was quickly replaced on the wire by two other players. Unlike Connauton, both fit positions of potential need for Edmonton. Cody Hodgson is a centre with a history of offensive production, while Nate Guenin is a big right-shot defender.
Should the Oilers be interested in either? That’s our question in this week’s edition of What Would You Do Wednesday.
A year ago, the Edmonton Oilers
claimed grabbed another cheap Nashville centre on a show-me contract. Derek Roy turned out to be a good addition to the team, meshing well with Nail Yakupov and giving the Oilers a strong secondary scoring line in the back half of the year. Could they do something similar with Hodgson?
According to Predators general manager David Poile, Hodgson is on waivers because the team had one expectation for him and he didn’t meet it:
We signed him to enhance our [offence] and it didn’t happen. You look for other areas that maybe a player can help you—checking or penalty killing or some other area. Really, I think we were pretty honest with Cody and told him that he had to produce offensively, and he hasn’t. This is the move.
Hodgson is 25 years old, and on a cheap one-year, $1.05 million contract. His on-ice shot and goal numbers aren’t terrible, but need to be taken in context: he played sheltered minutes. Offensively, he’s been floundering for three seasons now:
- 2012-13: 48 games, 34 points, 2.06 five-on-five points/hour
- 2013-14: 72 games, 44 points, 1.34 five-on-five points/hour
- 2014-15: 78 games, 13 points, 0.83 five-on-five points/hour
- 2015-16: 39 games, eight points, 0.88 five-on-five points/hour
He’s a right shot and scored nine power play goals in 2013-14. He hasn’t scored any since.
His offensive numbers have been affected by poor personal and poor on-ice shooting percentages, both of which could plausibly recover. He might also potentially bring more scoring to the Oilers bottom-six, particularly since he would likely be displacing offensive non-factor Anton Lander from the scoring rotation.
Having said all that, I would argue against putting in a claim, unless Edmonton’s management anticipates clearing out a bunch of forwards via trade in the near future and sees the need for a warm body. Hodgson is ill-suited to the role that Lander and Mark Letestu have been playing (a role which includes penalty kill work and double-shifting at times for faceoffs) and it’s hard to see him as a long-term fit.
The position of greatest concern for Edmonton at the moment is on right defence, where none of Justin Schultz, Eric Gryba or Mark Fayne are necessarily going to be back after the trade deadline, let alone next season. Does it make sense to take a chance on 6’3”, 207-pound rearguard Nate Guenin?
Guenin is in his third year with the Colorado Avalanche, having emerged as a regular on the team after spending the previous six years bouncing around the AHL and getting yearly major-league cameos. The 33-year-old is cheap, with a cap hit of just $800,000, and he’s in the final year of his current contract.
His on-ice metrics look pretty rocky:
- 2013-14: 45.6 percent Fenwick rating, 0.50 five-on-five points/hour
- 2014-15: 40.0 percent Fenwick rating, 0.86 five-on-five points/hour
- 2015-16: 40.8 percent Fenwick rating, 0.00 five-on-five points/hour
Even on a Colorado team that gets lit up on the shot clock, Guenin’s on-ice shot numbers are particularly bad. There’s no upside here; given his age he’s as good as he’s ever likely to be. In all likelihood, the Oilers would be better off brining up a Griffin Reinhart or David Musil and pressing them into service on the right side than they would be putting a claim in on Guenin.
That’s just my view, though. As always with WWYDW, we turn to the comments section: Do either Guenin or Hodgson appeal to you?