Photo Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Oilers should claim Valentin Zykov

The Carolina Hurricanes placed left winger Valentin Zykov and goaltender Scott Darling on waivers this morning.

Scott Darling is interesting. Darling had a .923 save percentage with Chicago, but he’s been nothing close to that in Carolina (.899). Darling might turn it around, he’ll be 30 in December and goaltenders haven’t exactly fared well in Carolina recently, but his contract carries a $4.15 million cap hit for two more seasons after this year. The Oilers already have their own struggling goalie making $4 million. A Darling claim is very unlikely.

Zykov is more intriguing. Zykov was part of a series of draft-day trades by former Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish in 2013. The Oilers traded down in the second round multiple times to acquire more draft picks. None of those players panned out, but the Oilers have a chance to get the guy drafted with their 37th pick five years ago anyways.

The Oilers could use a skilled right-handed winger. Alex Chiasson is the only right-handed forward with more than four points on the roster. Ty Rattie was an option, but like in St. Louis, Ken Hitchcock hasn’t been a fan. Rattie hasn’t played much with Hithcock in Edmonton, including 3:32 against Los Angeles.

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Zykov has three points in 13 games with Carolina, although in very limited minutes. Zykov’s played less than 10 minutes a game this season and spent most of that time with Brock McGinn and Martin Necas

Last year, Zykov had seven points in 10 games with more ice time. Zykov had a strong 2017-18 season for Carolina’s American Hockey League affiliate Charlotte Checkers. Zykov’s 33 goals led the AHL and he finished with 54 points in 63 games.

The Oilers should claim Zykov. He’s in the first year of a two-year deal worth $675K a season. Edmonton badly needs scoring wingers who can ride shotgun with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl and more right-handed options for the power play. Zykov’s contract is entirely manageable if it doesn’t work out.

Edmonton currently sits ninth in waiver priority. It’s possible Zykov doesn’t make it to them, but the Oilers also have a full 23-man roster. They’d have to waive someone else or assign someone like Jesse Puljujarvi, who doesn’t need waivers.

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