According to their official Twitter, the Oilers have claimed Nathan Walker, also known as The Australian Gretzky, off of waivers from the Washington Capitals. In a corresponding roster move, the Oilers placed Iiro Pakarinen on waivers with the purpose of assignment to the AHL.
In seven games with the Capitals this season, Walker has one goal and averages just over nine minutes a night in ice time. He’s also one of Washington’s only non top-six forwards with positive possession numbers. Walker is only 5 foot 9, but plays both centre and left wing and has a little bit of offensive flare to his game.
Drafted by the Caps in the third round of the 2014 draft, Walker became the first Australian player to appear in an NHL game earlier this season. He scored a goal in his debut, becoming, of course, the first Aussie to score in the NHL.
Iiro “The Hero” Pakarinen has been with the Oilers for parts of four seasons. He was drafted by the Florida Panthers back in the seventh round of the 2011 draft but didn’t sign. He spent some in Finland before inking an entry-level deal with Edmonton in 2014.
Over his Oilers career, Pakarinen played in 112 games and registered eight goals and 13 assists. This season, he had just one assist in 18 games. Also, Pakarinen has the lowest possession numbers of any Oilers forward this year.
Edmonton now had 48 players under contract. If Iiro is claimed, they’ll be down to 47.