Oilers recall Jordan Oesterle, assign Mark Fayne to the AHL

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The Oilers made a pair of blue line moves Friday. First they activated veteran rearguard Mark Fayne off the injured list and assigned him to Bakersfield. Next, they recalled one of last year’s pleasant surprises, bringing Jordan Oesterle up from the farm team.

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Before we get to the individual player moves, it’s worth taking a moment to look at where this decision leaves Edmonton’s NHL roster. Most teams carry 14 forwards and seven defencemen, simply because there’s more room in a 12-man forward lineup to work in two extra bodies than there is in a six-man defensive grouping. 

The Oilers have instead chosen to go with 13 healthy forwards and eight defenders. This is often an indication that there are some undisclosed injuries on the blue line, though it could mean that the team wants to take no chances with Andrej Sekera’s illness. 

It could also reflect a desire to keep someone like Jesse Puljujarvi in the lineup rather than the pressbox. Certainly there is no lack of recall candidates up front, from Anton Lander to Jujhar Khaira to Anton Slepyshev. 

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Fayne was assigned to the minors without being waived, but that doesn’t make this a conditioning stint. 

Players on conditioning assignments don’t need to clear waivers but do take up a space on the NHL roster. The CBA allows teams to send down previously waived players as long as they have not a) played 10 NHL games or b) spent 30 days on an NHL roster since they were last exposed. Fayne’s contract means there was no risk of him being claimed, but because neither of those thresholds have been passed he can be sent down without having to go on waivers again. 

Given that Fayne has played just 30 minutes of hockey this season, Edmonton’s desire to get him some playing time is understandable. It wouldn’t be a big shock to see him again this year, but it does seem clear that Todd McLellan and his staff have made their decision on this player. 

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This year, Matt Benning has been the college free agent defenceman impressing Oilers fans with his strong rookie performance. Last year, it was Oesterle. He’s been banged up this season and has appeared in just 14 games, all in the minors, recording eight points over that span. In his last four games he has three assists, 16 shots and (for what little it’s worth) a minus-three rating. 

Oesterle lacks size, but plays an intelligent game and can both skate and move the puck.Importantly, he’s in his final year of waiver exemption, so he needs to carve out a spot on Edmonton’s roster quickly. He got off to a good start on that front last season, and needs to pick up where he left off if he gets a chance to play.  

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  • camdog

    Oesterle is going to be an NHL d-man, whether here or somewhere else. I don’t know how good he’s going to be, but some team will love to have him on next year at a good cap hit. D-man that can skate and move the puck are the new NHL, and have subsequently made d-man such as Mark Fayne irrelevant.

    • Spydyr

      I’m sure he has been shopped around before going on waivers.Too much money to tie up in two goalies. If you could get them too eat some salary (lots) or take a bad contract back for him…….maybe.

      • camdog

        If I was an NHL GM I’d be talking with George McPhee in Las Vegas. If he’s willing to take a flyer on him for next year there might be a deal to be made.

        • Armchair genius

          Even if he doesn’t, swapping Fayne and Halak really wouldn’t tie up a lot of extra money and give us some added security in net. If I were PC I’d be pushing hard for this one I think.

      • Armchair genius

        Hmmm, Fayne at ~4M and Halak at 4.5. Not a bad swap, and then Cam won’t have to play 70+ games! As well it may protect LB in the expansion draft, ie: Halak may be more attractive in the expansion draft to Vegas??

          • camdog

            You could make a handshake agreement with Mcphee this season if he was interested. You’d have to throw in a mid round draft pick or a mid level prospect. Vegas needs to take on enough salary to hit the cap floor. McPhee already has his lists together of who he’d like to have on his team. It would be a simple question of asking him if he’s interested.

          • camdog

            There will be a few handshake agreements with McPhee before the end of the season. In respect to which players, well I can’t answer to that. Come trade deadline. If a team has cap room for a player this season, but doesn’t want them next season, Las Vegas would be a real option to be discussed.

          • Armchair genius

            Cap hit is slightly less than his actual salary and with only one year left on his contract makes him a lot more moveable next year. For the added security in net makes the money paid out worth it in my mind. We would be paying Fayne the seme money in the minors as we would for Halak to back up cam this year and worst case scenario, to play in the minors next year. I’m fairly certain that Fayne will not even be in the press box next year, so why not give that money to Halak instead of Fayne if Snow will swap?

          • Spydyr

            I would prefer losing Fayne’s contract by whatever means possible and spending the money on one of the many very good defencman that will be available this summer on account of the Vegas draft. Instead of spending 9 million on two goalies next season.Keep in mind Brossoit should be ready to back up next season.

          • Armchair genius

            I don’t disagree, I just think a solid backup is more important right now, and for the stretch run to the playoffs??. However mine is just an opinion and like arsholes, everyone has one.

          • Spydyr

            Discussion is what the comment section is all about. Would I like Halak sure but at that price it is a pass.

            Meaningful games in the New Year is worth celebrating tonight.