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What do the Oilers have in Lane Pederson?

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Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
baggedmilk
8 months ago
On the opening day of free agency, most of the talk around these parts was about the Connor Brown rumours finally coming to fruition after he signed a one-year deal on July 1st. While the two-year deal Lane Pederson signed with the Oilers wasn’t nearly as sexy as the Brown deal, that doesn’t mean the undrafted native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, won’t have the opportunity to make an impact.
When you look at the Edmonton Oilers’ roster heading into the 2023-24 season, there haven’t been many changes from the club that lost to the Vegas Golden Knights in the second round apart from what may happen in the bottom six. One such spot that is ripe for the taking is the 4C position that’s been occupied by a handful of different people over the years. For Lane Pederson, a guy who’s bounced around a little bit over the last three seasons, maybe a fresh look with a new organization is exactly what he needs to get himself moving toward the next level. Then again, I have no idea if that’s realistic or not.

LET’S LEARN SOMETHING TOGETHER

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Seeing as I don’t know much about Pederson nor have I seen him play — at least, not that I remember — I reached out to David Quadrelli from Canucksarmy.com to help me figure out what the Oilers have in the guy and whether or not he has a legitimate chance of making the Edmonton Oilers.
Baggedmilk: Some folks around here have Lane Pederson as a potential option for the Oilers at 4C. Is this a reasonable fit based on what you’ve seen from him?
David Quadrelli: From what I saw, Lane Pederson likely isn’t a fit as a 4C. In Vancouver and Abbotsford, he mainly played on the wing. His footspeed isn’t the best, but his work in tight was what impressed many. When he scored 17 goals through 18 AHL games prior to his call-up, he was a mainstay on the Abbotsford Canucks’ power play and scored many of his goals in tight. What impressed the most in the NHL was his hockey IQ in the offensive end. You don’t need to be extremely skilled to play with Elias Pettersson, but you do need to be smart, and Pederson looked like a guy who could be smart enough to keep logging some minutes alongside Elias Pettersson at the time. I don’t think it’s reasonable to think of Pederson as a 4C option simply because the Canucks were incredibly weak at the centre position last season and still didn’t consider him a serious option at C.
BM: Pederson scored 17 goals in 22 AHL games last season, which is obviously an impressive stat to see for any player, but what does he need to do to make the full-time leap to the NHL?
Quads: Pederson needs to be given an opportunity to play with a skilled C, but most of all, he needs to improve his foot speed and overall skating.
BM: Are we talking about an NHL calibre player here?
Quads: I’d say no, but he’s a good ol’ Sasky boy, so never say never. In all seriousness, if you’re an Oilers fan, view Pederson as a nice depth addition who is going to score in Bakersfield and perhaps with the right buttons pushed, can grow into a fourth line role. Either that or put him with McDavid if the team is banged up on the wings. It worked in Vancouver! I genuinely think Lane Pederson could put up a ton of points playing with McDavid or Draisaitl. He is very smart in the offensive end. He is just not the fastest skater.
BM: Why didn’t it work out in Vancouver?
Quads: It didn’t work out in Vancouver because the Canucks tried to get him more playing time in Abbotsford after a promising stint down there and a decent showing at the NHL level while they were banged up. The Canucks never wanted to lose Pederson, is the thing. In fact, the day he was sent down, Tocchet called it a “paperwork thing” and said they’d like him to continue developing. Pederson first played with Pettersson under Boudreau, and then he got some time with Pettersson under Tocchet as well prior to hitting waivers. The Canucks never wanted to lose him.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Honestly, asking Quads a few questions about where Pederson is at as a player based on what he saw and what he could be confused me more than it helped. Not knowing much about him, I figured this was a guy that Ken Holland brought in to challenge for a bottom six role at the NHL level but the Hockey Gords know I’ve been wrong plenty of times before. Tomorrow, Brownlee will have some quotes from the man himself on what he believes he can bring to the Oilers, and as you’ll see, his version of where he’s at sounds a whole lot better than what Quads had for me today. Then again, we’ve seen countless examples in this league of guys figuring out how to stick after getting knocked on the nose a few times, and maybe that’s the same thing that will happen here.
If there is a lane for Pederson to crack the opening night roster, it has to be that the Oilers will have about 13 cents to spend once they sign Ryan McLeod and Evan Bouchard. If he can come into town and have a strong camp and pre-season, that $775K contract he signed could be the difference between a 22 and 21-man roster. Of course, I am absolutely overthinking this whole situation given that he hasn’t even put an Oilers-coloured jersey on yet nor are we anywhere close to training camp let alone opening night. Even so, based on what the lineup looks like on July 29th, I see a couple of spots that could easily get stolen with a little bit of pre-season luck. I mean, who knows who will be this year’s Ty Rattie Award winner.

LANE PEDERSON’S CAREER SO FAR

SeasonTeamLeagueGPGAPtsPIM+/-PGPGAPtsPIM
2017-18Tucson RoadrunnersAHL6312142618393144
2018-19Tucson RoadrunnersAHL6723244736-10
2019-20Tucson RoadrunnersAHL37161834402
2020-21Arizona CoyotesNHL151232-2
2020-21Tucson RoadrunnersAHL16710176-1
2021-22San Jose SharksNHL2902210-16
2021-22San Jose BarracudaAHL2299188-12
2022-23Chicago WolvesAHL40004-2
2022-23Abbotsford CanucksAHL1817724183
2022-23Vancouver CanucksNHL11123153
2022-23Columbus Blue JacketsNHL1621311-4
NHL Totals71471138
 

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