After a disappointing weekend that featured two lopsided losses, the Oilers are shuffling deck chairs. Both Ty Rattie and Ryan Spooner have been placed on waivers.
Rattie and Spooner (EDM) on waivers
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 21, 2019
Rattie has an $800k cap hit and will become a restricted free agent at the end of the season. Earlier in his career, he was claimed by the Carolina Hurricanes from the St. Louis Blues, and then the Blues claimed him back from the Hurricanes shortly after. Given that he’s a cheap option with some offensive upside, it’s a fair bet to say Rattie gets claimed. If he doesn’t, the Oilers will be able to bury his entry cap hit in the AHL and have him available for a potential recall down the road.
It’s been a disappointing season for Rattie as he seemed poised for a breakout after a strong showing down the stretch last year. Rattie found chemistry alongside Connor McDavid last year and tore it up in pre-season, but never managed to parlay that into success this season. An early-season injury bumped him off McDavid’s line and he ended up spending the majority the season bouncing from the bottom-six to the press box. He has just two goals in 29 games.
Ryan Spooner, who was acquired in a one-for-one swap for Ryan Strome earlier in the season, has been a complete flop in Edmonton. Spooner has just two goals and one assist in 23 games since joining the Oilers while Strome has found his groove playing for the Rangers.
This is a prime example of Peter Chiarelli’s horrendous asset management. The Jordan Eberle for Strome trade was a clear downgrade in the first place. At the very least, though, Strome was an effective NHL player who could anchor the third line, play responsibly defensively, and chip in with some offence. Spooner, at this stage, isn’t an NHL-calibre player. This type of management is why the Oilers are totally devoid of quality depth under Chiarelli’s watch.
Spooner has a $3.1 million cap hit for one more season because the Rangers are retaining $900k of his salary. I really doubt anybody claims Spooner with that price tag. If he clears, he’ll cost the Oilers $2.075 million as a buried cap hit in the AHL.
These two moves must be part of a bigger picture. The Oilers now have 12 forwards and seven defenders on their active roster. I don’t see anybody in the AHL pressing for a recall, so this raises the question as to whether there’s a trade on the horizon.
I assume Oscar Klefbom will be ready to be activated soon and Andrej Sekera could also soon be coming off the Long-Term Injured Reserve. When the Oilers activate Sekera, they need to ship out roughly $1.5 million in cap room to fit him under the cap. That could mean waiving Brandon Manning or Matt Benning. Still, with just 12 forwards on the roster right now, it really looks like something is cooking.
Also, Dustin Nielson has this tidbit…
Oilers change an 11:30 practice to a 10:30 team meeting with an availability following the meeting. Hmmmmm
— Dustin Nielson (@nielsonTSN1260) January 21, 2019
Buckle up, Nation!