Photo Credit: © Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Should the Oilers be interested in Mark Streit? How about Ales Hemsky?

Earlier today, the Montreal Canadiens seemingly put an end to one of their off-season experiments, putting veteran defenceman Mark Streit on waivers. Streit was signed to a one-year deal back in July when it became inevitable that Andrei Markov, Montreal’s best puck-moving defenceman, wasn’t going to be back with the team.

The Habs were reportedly trying to trade Streit yesterday, but clearly nobody was going to give up an asset for a soon-to-be 40-year-old without much left in the tank. (There’s an interesting tidbit in that tweet I linked above about our old friend Ales Hemsky, I’ll get to that later.) But if you don’t have to give anything up for Streit, is he a worthwhile acquisition?

Streit, a left-handed puck mover, has had a very good career in the NHL. He’s spent time with the Canadiens, Islanders, Flyers, and most recently, the Penguins in a depth role on their second of back-to-back Stanley Cup winning teams. Back in the late 2000s and early 2010s, Streit was an excellent puck moving defenceman who was a sure bet to generate between 40 and 50 points per season.

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Last season, he showed up in 68 games between the Flyers and Penguins, recording 27 points while logging 18:45 per game. In the playoffs, he only played in three games for Pittsburgh, though. With the Habs, Streit played two games and was quickly jumped on the depth chart by slick puck mover Victor Mete, a fourth round pick from the 2016 draft who’s rocketed into relevance since being drafted.

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Should the Oilers be interested in Mark Streit? He has a $700k base salary with $300k in potential performance bonuses. Since Streit is a +35 hire, his cap hit can’t be buried in the AHL, and the only way for the Habs to get rid of it is if he’s claimed to acquired by somebody else via trade.

If they did put in a claim for Streit, he would be filling virtually the exact same role as Yohann Auvitu as a left-handed, seventh defenceman who can fill in and play in an offensive role. I don’t see much reason to replace Auvitu, who’s younger and had a good showing in pre-season, with Streit at this point, but the Habs are apparently also interested in dealing right winger Ales Hemsky.

NEWARK, NJ – FEBRUARY 07: Ales Hemsky #83 of the Edmonton Oilers in action against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on February 7, 2014 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Oilers 2-1 in overtime.

We know Hemsky very well here, of course. He was drafted by the Oilers, evolved into a very good player, signed a long-term contract but wasn’t able to live up to it because of various injuries. Hemsky missed most of last season with the Stars due to injury and is currently playing on Montreal’s fourth line. The Oilers have a pretty glaring need for a right winger to play in the top six, would Hemsky be a worthwhile addition?

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He has a $1 million cap hit, and based on what people who follow the Habs closely say, Hemsky doesn’t have much left in the tank. I see the logic behind wanting a veteran upgrade, but at this point, I would rather throw guys like Anton Slepyshev and Drake Caggiula into offensive roles on the top two lines to see what you have in them.

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While depth has been a bit of a concern through three games, it’s a very small sample size. There’s lots of times for kinks to work themselves out and for players to slide into roles. What say you, Nation? Should the Oilers kick tires on Hemsky? Or put a claim in for Streit? Would either be upgrades?