ROSTER CRUNCH?

reinhart mark williams

Griffin Reinhart played his best game as an Oiler before the break, but it may be difficult for the Oilers to recall the young defender. Why? Waiver pickup and some interesting names coming off IR.

The Adam Clendening bet is a good one. If the Oilers give him 32 games to show what he has, they either find a solution for their power play or add that need to their summer shopping list. The move also signals the team’s impending divorce from Justin Schultz (or perhaps, if they are undecided on 19 and signing him, gives them more bargaining power).

When the Oilers went to break, they sent out Zack Kassian, Griffin Reinhart and Brad Hunt, so adding Clendening is no problem. Here is the current list:

  • Goal (2): Cam Talbot, Anders Nilsson
  • Defense (6): Andrej Sekera, Mark Fayne, Darnell Nurse, Justin Schultz, Eric Gryba, Adam Clendening
  • Center (3): Leon Draisaitl, Mark Letestu, Anton Lander
  • Left Wing (5): Taylor Hall, Benoit Pouliot, Lauri Korpikoski, Luke Gazdic, Rob Klinkhammer
  • Right Wing (5): Jordan Eberle, Teddy Purcell, Nail Yakupov, Matt Hendricks, Iiro Pakarinen

That is 21, with a center and a defender required. From what we know, with two roster spots available, Edmonton has interest in adding FOUR names:

  • Zack Kassian, performing well before the break and solid in Bakersfield this weekend.
  • Griffin Reinhart, strong in his last EDM game and very good this weekend in the AHL.
  • Connor McDavid, ready or close to get back in action.
  • Brandon Davidson, looks like he is ready.

Math is not my strong point, but 21 plus four does not equal 23. What can the Oilers do?

  1. Wait to activate McDavid. A risk, because fans have been waiting to see McDavid and the Columbus game is followed by a road trip. Plus, you know, he is pretty good.
  2. Wait to activate Davidson. Also risky, based on how poorly the defense has been performing. I think they want to push in February, which likely means all hands on deck.
  3. Wait to recall Griffin Reinhart. That seems reasonable, although GR did play well in his one-game recall.
  4. Send down Rob Klinkhammer. Since he has already cleared waivers recently, this would seem to be the easiest of these decisions.
  5. Waive Luke Gazdic. I have read this here and there, but it doesn’t make sense to me. Gazdic is playing the best hockey of his NHL career and is clearly popular on the club. Edmonton values him. 14F is a tough job, suspect Gazdic will be here Tuesday.
  6. Trade Justin Schultz. Although that may eventually be the move, I am not sure it happens right away. Edmonton may have one or two interested teams, but Schultz value could be greater on deadline day.

The Oilers have to make room for (I believe) McDavid, Davidson and Kassian. That means one transaction, plus Reinhart staying in California. Can you see them from here? This is my guess for Tuesday’s roster:

  • Goal (2): Cam Talbot, Anders Nilsson
  • Defense (7): Andrej Sekera, Mark Fayne, Brandon Davidson, Darnell Nurse, Justin Schultz, Eric Gryba, Adam Clendening
  • Center (4): Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid, Mark Letestu, Anton Lander
  • Left Wing (5): Taylor Hall, Benoit Pouliot, Zack Kassian, Lauri Korpikoski, Luke Gazdic
  • Right Wing (5): Teddy Purcell, Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov, Matt Hendricks, Iiro Pakarinen

    I would not be surprised to see Justin Schultz traded, however.

    Reinhart photo by Mark Williams.

    • MacT's Neglected Helmet

      I have been wondering for a few days if a deal has been done and Management is just waiting for the all star game to be over ( the league doesn’t want anything to be a distraction) and the players are back in Edmonton to announce it .

    • Ever the Optimist

      I fully expect the roster to be pretty fluid over the next month. There are alot of names that could be playing their last oiler games.

      Schultz, Gryba, Fayne, Korp, Purcell, Hendricks may bring some picks here that can be used in the off season to fill holes.

      • S cottV

        I don’t know about getting a 2nd rounder for a guy who has to be qualified at 4+ million. I think if they can get as high ad a 3rd, they will take it and thank their lucky stars.

    • Spydyr

      Schultz is an NHL player. The problem is… He is not a 4 million dollar nor a top 4 defenceman.

      How does someone who wins the AHL scoring race as a defenceman by only playing half a season falter so poorly years later? A shame… A real shame because the oilers needed him to at least live up to half the hype. It’s not that he doesn’t have the tools to succeed.

      • Spydyr

        He does not hit.
        He has no slapshot.
        He does not protect his fellow players or his goalie.
        He does not intimidate.
        He does not clear the front of the net.
        He wins very few puck battles.
        He is not very good on the powerplay.

        Those are all things that I look for in a defencman.

        It looks to me as if he is missing quite a few tools to succeed.

    • Spydyr

      Easy decision is waive Gazdic and trade Schultz, while keeping Reinhart down. It’s clear that management isn’t too fond of Luke as they have often chosen 7dman over dressing him. I honestly think the only reason he is still with the big club is that he lives with Connor. I’d rather keep Klink as he is a good skater who can actually catch guys and finish his checks. Your argument for Luke that he is a fan favourite is rediculous. Those are the same fans who would be heart broken with Eberle gets traded. Don’t know a thing about hockey or how to improve their team.

      Next year’s lineup

      Hall-Drai-UFA

      Pou-McDavid-Yak

      Khaira-Nuge-Kassian

      Hendricks-Letestu-Pakarinen

      Nurse-Sekera

      Klefbom one of Shattenkirk, Myers or Hamonic

      Davidson-Gryba

      Clendening/Reinhart

      Talbot
      Nilsson

    • chickenStew

      “Gazdic is playing the best hockey of his NHL career”

      If this is the best he can do, then waiving him, trading him.. getting him off the team, is the obvious move.

    • Spydyr

      I wouldn’t be surprised if they do a Shultz and something else for haminoc and okoposo. I don’t want Eberle traded no where but if okoposo is in the deal u have to think they ask for him. Or if we can hose nyi down if we could do Shultz, Purcell and a high pick for haminoc and okoposo that would be best. The question is having Seth jones go for Ryan johansen does that set the value of haminoc? Two different skill sets I would argue. And snow only has 5 teams to deal with. Can’t wait to see how smart this gm is.

    • Smytysmullett

      First things first . Send down Nurse for a month , Klink ,maybe someone picks him up if we are lucky , Gazdic maybe we get lucky but he plays and a final decision can be made .send down Korpokoski, maybe he gets picked up but I don’t think so . Try to trade Schultz now until the cut

    • Klam

      Interesting game down in Stockton last night.

      Hunt, Osterle, and Laleggia are all to similar with Hunt being older and no where near the speed. Hunt with Miller playing the other point gave up a shorthanded goal.

      There was so much chaos with these three that I would move on from two of them, pick the best of the three and look for possible options for the NHL team. The defence at the AHL level is similar to the NHL level, too much chaos, and sometimes not tough enough to handle the whole 60 minutes.

      Reinhart, and Musil both play a simple game and Musil looked better in more limited minutes, but that is in part because Osterle has chaos and not enough size. Reinhart plays a simple game that is more suited to a system game in the NHL.

      Simpson and Musil played well together and had less chaos because Simpson holds his own on the other side. I wanted to see Reinhart dominate, but that simply isnt his game. Trying to watch with my two kiddos was a little rough but what I did see was he could physically dominate and push opposition players to the side and away from the net but wasn’t always pushing the river with taking the puck away or jumping into the offense. In many ways Reinhart is what the Oilers need but he does need to continue the strong play he had in his NHL game and that is quick reads, move the puck out of danger and step up when he can. Musil didn’t look out of place either but Simpson makes simple strong plays on the other side so Musil could be a big defender on his side.

      The three forwards that were noticeable in terms of pushing play and making the game hard on the Heat were….. Khaira, Kassian, and Pitlick. Khaira needs to follow Drai wherever he goes this offseason and follow his plan because there are a few things he can work on in term of being balanced coming out of a turn and pushing up the ice. One play was noticable when Kassian and Khaira both turned and Kassian moved in balance and automatically was a step ahead because of that balance. Khaira could easily be a dominant third or fourth liner and could move up the line when needed because of his size and strength.

      Pitlick, man if he could just stay healthy he was noticable, laying the body, controlling and getting some good shots on net.

      Kassian looked a little like he was ready to join the big club and sometimes seemed like he was disinterested in the game. Not sure if that was just my expectation for him to control things better, or if he already in his mind has made the jump to the big club. He was physically dominant but sometimes just lost the puck to a Heat player and would be “fine” with losing the puck. No extra effort to reacquire the puck or get right back into the play. But man he could physically dominate.

      I expect to see a lot of turnover at on the Condors. They need to have prospect getting ready for the NHL and I didn’t see much to offer on D or in terms of forwards or centers other the the three I mentioned and possibly Platzer. Hamilton plays a tough game and I can see why he is on that team. A good leader for players to see.

      And I was sad I didn’t get to see Brossoit, but Laurikainen made some great saves but there was way too much chaos in front due to the poor defence.

      Would be interested to hear from others if they saw similar results if they were able to watch the game.

      • Spydyr

        Thanks for the recap.Too bad there are not more AHL games available,say re-runs on the NHL network during off peak hours. I would PVR a few Condor games to see how things are going on the farm.

      • Smytysmullett

        After watching him thru is WHL career, I believe Reinhart has never had the “nasty” in his game to be a bonafide NHL d-man. Without it he’s a slow thinking plodding d-man without a point shot that doesn’t have anything else special in his game to separate him from the pack.

        A 6-7 at best.

        • Klam

          There is a piece to Reinhart that I see in person and when I have watched him in the NHL. He plays a smart game. Calms the game down. So once the NHL game starts making sense in terms of the speed of the game I see Reinhart being a big component. He pushes guys wide, has good coverage, and breaks up cycles. He is like Fayne but I have seen him actually have some good offensive options. I think he will have a good NHL career. He will underperform his draft status but he could easily be a 3/4 guy for a very long time because of his size and smarts.

          The game in Stockton makes him look bad because he is trying to play a calm game, his guy, his position. But when chaos is happening he doesnt have the speed and agility that a guy like Nurse has. So he does not get all over and dominate like Nurse.

          He makes good plays all game long. Those guys will have careers.

      • For Pete's Sake!

        Thanks for your comments on the game Klam. What particulary stood out was Hunt being responsible for giving up a short handed goal. Great powerplay specialist there.

        I can’t wait to see Caleb Jones, Ethan Bear and Ziyat Paigen replace some of these guys in Bakersfield in the coming years.

        We might actually have some defensemen down there we won’t be afraid to call up when we need them.

    • Spydyr

      What’s up with Oscar Klefbom?
      He seems to be the forgotten man with his seraph infection problem.
      So what is the prognosis?
      Will we see him back this season?

    • camdog

      Google “Eyes on Isles”. It’s an Islander blog like ON.

      They talk about a potential Oilers/Islanders trade.

      Since the Isles have some UFAs they need to deal with, like Okposo. If they can’t sign him, they need to trade him instead of losing him for nothing.

      If that happens, they’d be interested in Eberle, so they think it would be an Eberle for Hamonic trade. This has been speculated ad nauseum here, but what I found interesting was their interest in Jultz.

      They were looking at the fancy stats, and were interested in including Jultz in the trade. “Buy low” was the exact phrase.

      Eberle + Jultz for Hamonic + ________.

      If you could get Hamonic + for Eberle and Jultz, do you do it?

      • camdog

        I make that trade in a heartbeat! Getting rid of Schultz is a bonus. But we’d still need another RHD. Hamonic is best suited as a second pairing/pk guy. Still would need a Shattenkirk type to really say the defence is in good shape

      • Cowbell_Feva

        This is exactly what I was thinking/hoping for in a trade.

        We would never get Okposo and Hamonic, but maybe Hamonic and a Brock Nelson or Franz Nielsen….I am just hoping Snow is dumb enough to take 19 off our hands!

    • camdog

      I would trade Jultz for John Scott in a heartbeat.
      Retaining all of Jultz’ salary. You want a leader in the room?
      Well, there you go.
      Edmonton would embrace that family.

      • camdog

        I would trade Jultz for anything that’s not a bad contract. I would’ve gladly walked away from Schultz last summer and get nothing for him. I just want him gone

      • camdog

        *Starts chugging to help the cause.*

        I kid. Schultz is an NHL defenseman.Hes just had to play too many minutes on too bad a team.Eakins really messed up some of these kids.