On the surface, the Tobias Rieder signing is nothing but good news for the Oilers. Peter Chiarelli found a player who fits his team’s needs, a player he now has under control, for a very reasonable price.
As Chiarelli noted on Sunday Rieder can play both wings, providing Todd McLellan with even more line-up flexibility. This is also good news because the Oilers are in need of a player on the right side much more than the left side.
I’ve decided to break down how the Rieder signing impacts a number of different Oilers forwards in either a good or bad way.
THE RIEDER SIGNING IS GOOD NEWS FOR…….
LEON DRAISAITL – The big German now has a slightly smaller German by his side in the dressing room and possibly on the ice. At this point, I’d say there is a very good chance Rieder starts the season on the right wing with his countryman. If Draisaitl gets stuck with Lucic on his left side at the beginning of the year it will be nice to have some speed flying down the other side of the ice.
RYAN STROME – If Rieder is on the left side it may mean less Milan Lucic for Ryan Strome. I get the sense that if the Lucic in an Oiler when the season starts he will get another push in the top six which would mean Rieder is either on the right side or riding shotgun with Strome on the third line. Here’s a scenario for you, Brodziak and Khaira emerge as your 3rd and 4th line centers, Rieder plays left wing, Strome gets a look in the top six on the right wing. Later in the week, I’ll dive into this crazy a little bit more.
KAILER YAMAMOTO – Any depth on the wings is a good thing for Yamamoto, more specifically his development. Whether it’s Rieder, or someone else, an extra body should now be in line for an NHL job on the right wing. If Yamamoto arrives in September and lights the world on fire they’ll find a spot for him but if he doesn’t they won’t need to keep him around simply because they are desperate.
CAM TALBOT – If Rieder can help the penalty kill take a step in the right direction I’m sure his goaltender would appreciate it. As Chiarelli pointed out this weekend Rieder has penalty kill experience even though he didn’t do much of it in Los Angeles.
THE RIEDER SIGNING IS BAD NEWS FOR……
DRAKE CAGGIULA – I don’t think it’s crazy to say that Tobias Rieder is the exact player the Oilers wish Drake Caggiula had become. There is still time for Caggiula and I’m sure the Oilers will still find a way to give him opportunities but this could be the end of Caggiula on both special teams units. I also hope Rieder gets a crack in the top six before the former NCAA star does.
JESSE PULJUJARVI – The last thing Puljujarvi needs right now is another reason for the Oilers to keep him out of the top six. There has already been some discussion about McDavid and Draisaitl feeling like Puljujarvi is not a fit on their wing now you have a player that may very well get a shot on the wing with both centers. This is a big year for Puljujarvi and it likely just got a little more difficult. Plus, you know, that whole short leash thing.
TY RATTIE – I still believe that it will top line or bust for Ty Rattie this season. Prior to the Rieder signing, there was an outside shot he would stick around the big club even if he didn’t click with McDavid. I don’t see that happening anymore.
PONTUS ABERG – Remember Pontus Aberg? Yup, he’s still around. I would actually like to see Aberg get some offensive looks in the pre-season. At times he looked like a player who just needed to feel comfortable before finding success. Aberg can play both wings, which is exactly what Rieder was brought in here to do. Is the Aberg era about to come to an end?
Let’s take a look at a couple of different scenarios with Rieder and Brodziak now in the lineup.
RIEDER AS A LEFT WINGER
Nuge – McDavid – Rattie/Yamamoto
Lucic – Draisaitl – Caggiula
Rieder – Strome – Puljujarvi
Khaira – Brodziak – Kassian
Notes: I do not want to see Caggiula as a RW, or in the top six for that matter, but where else does he go? If you think Puljujarvi will get a crack ahead of him then that’s what you are on, crack.
RIEDER AS A RIGHT WINGER
Nuge – McDavid – Rattie/Yamamoto
Lucic – Draisiatl – Rieder
Khaira – Strome – Puljujarvi
Caggiula – Brodziak – Kassian
Notes: I like this look much more than the first one and I’d guess it’s more likely that Rieder starts on the right.
Around the league, Tobias Reider may have looked like a minor move but in reality, he has an opportunity to be a pretty important piece for the Oilers. Selfishly, I like the storyline he may provide for us in about eight months when, of course, he’s playing well and they need to sign him to a bigger deal and…wait for it….they are forced to trade a piece to free up cap space. Here we go again.
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