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UFA Profile: Mitigating the Tobias Rieder mistake

It’s no secret that the Oilers have had a rough time developing impact NHL players outside of the first round over the past decade. Since 2007 when Edmonton’s rebuild began, Tobias Rieder leads all Oilers drafted players in NHL games played by those who were drafted outside the first round. Unfortunately, none of those games were played with the Oilers.

Due to signability concerns, Steve Tambellini dealt Rieder’s rights to the Arizona Coyotes for fighter Kale Kessy, who never ended up playing a game in the NHL. Rieder had a few solid years in the Desert, got dealt to Los Angeles midway through the 2017-18 season, and is now an unrestricted free agent as the Kings chose not to tender him a qualifying offer.

Could the Oilers make up for their mistake and bring back Rieder as a free agent this summer?

Who is Tobias Rieder?

Like I said above, Rieder was an Oilers draft pick all the way back in 2011. Born and raised in Germany, Rieder came to North America in his pre-draft season to play for the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL. He scored 49 points in 65 games but thrived as a good, responsible two-way player.

In 2013, the Oilers traded Rieder’s rights to the Arizona Coyotes for another unsigned prospect in Kale Kessy. This was back during the days where the Oilers wanted to become heavy and gritty, drafting coke machines with low offensive upside like Mitch Moroz with high draft picks. There was some concern that Rieder didn’t want to sign in Edmonton due to their abundance of young wingers — Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi, and Nail Yakupov — at the time.

Rieder would end up cracking Arizona’s roster in 2014-15, scoring 13 goals and 21 points in 73 games playing in a depth role for the Coyotes. The following two seasons Rieder carved out a nice niche as a middle-six forward who could kill penalties and chip in offensively. He scored 14 goals in 2015-16 and 16 goals in 2016-17.

The Coyotes chose to move on from Rieder prior to last season’s trade deadline. They shipped Rieder along with goaltender Scott Wedgewood to the Kings in exchange for Darcy Keumper, who, at the time, was one of the NHL’s leaders in save percentage. He scored just four goals and six points in 20 games down the stretch with the Kings and will now hit unrestricted free agency on July 1.

Does he fit on the Oilers?

Rieder would be a nice fit on the Oilers. He’s a two-way winger who skates well, kills penalties, and can chip in a little bit of offence. He’s a left-shot winger who generally plays on the right side, which is Edmonton’s biggest need this summer.

Times have certainly changed for both Rieder and the Oilers. Ironically, the reason he apparently didn’t want to sign with Edmonton as a prospect was the team’s wealth of depth on the wings. Now, five years later, the lack of depth on the wings is the exact reason he would be a perfect fit for the team.

Another interesting thing to consider is the fact that Rieder knows Leon Draisaitl very well. The two countrymen have played together internationally on multiple occasions, so that could be a potential lure to bring Rieder to Edmonton.

Rieder is coming off a contract that paid him $2,225,000 annually over two years. The qualifying offer would have cost the Kings a shade under $3,000,000, but given his underwhelming season, he won’t command that much on the free agent market. If the Oilers can get Rieder on a similar deal to the one he inked with the Coyotes two years ago, they should be all over it.

  • BrandieBear

    I really like the idea of him being an Oiler If the price is right. If he comes in at $2mil or less he would be addition to the roster as a middle six player. He puts up 25-35 points per season and sounds like he is defensively sound. This would be a great add for those reasons and to give us more winger and centre depth on top of that

  • WhoreableGuy

    Is there anything more annoying than Jack Michaels always mentioning Rieder’s shortened first name every time he touches the puck? He does the same with Enstrom on the Jets. He doesn’t really do it with any other first name. “Puck gets passed to Toby Rieder…Toby…Toby…”.
    I’d love him to call him Tobias one day.

    • Ryan Jones Is Still My Hero

      Sign Yak to 1-year league minimum, he rotates on the first line RW with Rattie. The coaches rotate based on the previous game. They score, they play the next game. No goal? No play. It’s foolproof really.

    • MessyEH!

      Reider isn’t really a reclamation project. Kings likely wanted to avoid arbitration. Poulioit is an enigma. The Canucks also are just avoiding arbitration.

      Yakupov is a reclamation project. But I got a soft spot for the kid.

      Yakcity B!t(h€$

    • Glencontrolurstik

      I watched a lot of Vancouver games last year. (I live in their market & my daughter is a huge fan). Anyway, Poulliot would be an OK pick-up on D, it seems. His effort is there & seems driven every game. He also was released yesterday & could possibly be had for cheap? He won a cup recently as well with Pittsburgh, that’s worth something in itself come April.

  • Loil

    He and Draisaitl come make a good pairing for the second line. However that would mean Pool party would get stuck on the third. I think Ty Rattie is staying top right. He seemed to have good chemistry with McNuge (albeit a small sample size).

  • I think he’d be good for the bottom-6. 12-16 goal guy, basically what Slepyshev was supposed to be last year. The thing is though does he even have any ties to the organization that would attract him here? The GM that drafted him and probably all of the position and assistant coaches that he worked with during training camp are all gone.

    • Big Nuggets

      He’s a German. He can be Leon’s new little brother. Also Leon’s dad coaches the German national team, I think, so he might like to develop some chemistry with Leon.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      2.5 – 3 is too much for what Slepyshev was supposed to be. No?
      Save that money for Vanek or another UFA that could help?
      Hey, what’s Vrbata up to? Could probably pick him up for a great price?
      Last time I saw him with Arizona, he had similar production to Rieder.
      The Oilers have to stop being loyal to their past. That is a bad trend to follow.

  • Gravis82

    Nah. 3rd line players need to be good defensively. He is not really. Very similar to Strome actually. Decent offence, but not enough to justify 2nd line and not enough to make up for below average defense. Would have been nice to have had him signed and playing here over the last few years instead of needing to trade Eberle for a player just like him. Pass

    • Big Nuggets

      I don’t think he’s bad defensively. Analytic guys seem to say he has decent shot metrics and most euro players have a bit of a defensive conscience.

  • Abagofpucks

    Remember we do have 3 new coaches on board yawny sounds like he could be a big help . Gully well im sure he can help , And this manny guy sounds like hes a good motivator of young players . These guys all together with todd just might be able to mould the bottom six into something we can go with next season .

  • Arfguy

    I think Rieder and Yakupov are worth trying out. Both probably don’t do a lot, but at this point, I want some speedy wingers for someone like Draisaitl to play with. Hell, at this point, I think it might be worth trying someone like Yakupov or Rieder on McDavid’s wing so maybe Draisaitl has someone good like RNH on his wing.

  • JayTee

    Nuge – Connor – Rattie
    Rieder – Leon – JP
    Looch – Strome – Duclair
    Cagguila – JJ – Kass

    Klefbom – Larsson
    Nurse – Benning
    Sekera – Russell
    Pouliot

    I like it *Jim Carrey Dumb and Dumber voice*

  • ubermiguel

    Playing that game in Germany might tempt him to come here too. But not sold on him as the veteran depth forward we need, I’d prefer a guy who’s seen a few more years in the league. Guys like Grabner, Comeau, Kunitz.