Thursday, June 24, 2010
The Oilers added Colin Fraser from the Chicago Blackhawks for a sixth round pick last night. Fraser is basically a fourth line centre. He scored seven goals and twelve assists this year in seventy games but when Bolland returned from his back surgery he lost his spot in the lineup, not surprising considering the Hawks lined up at centre with Toews, Sharp, Bolland and Madden. Rumours have been that the Hawks were going to hold onto Sharp and Bolland and try and move wingers to fix their cap issues (a strategy which is a good one I think) and last night's 'other' move in which Byfuglien, Sopel and Eager were moved to Atlanta for picks, prospects and Marty Reasoner seems to be the big one for them in terms of clearing space.
Reasoner slides into Madden's spot and if Huet goes to Russia, as rumoured, then the Hawks' cap crunch is almost under control. Great move by Bowman. Sopel and Eager did good work for Chicago this spring but of course both are absolutely replaceable parts and while Byfuglien did some excellent work for sure he was probably the most expendable of the expensive Hawk forwards. He's not as versatile as Versteeg and while he presented a difficult case for opposing defences he has not shown consistency and he gets extraordinary icetime in terms of where he starts his shifts. I think Troy Brouwer, who scored more goals than Byfuglien this year, steps in and replaces him just fine.
For the Oilers this is a depth move and its a fine one. Fraser is a solid fourth line centre. I have only seen him good. He can skate, he's hard on the puck, he's an agitator, he does the little things. I believe that he also is a PK guy. In short he is a good fourth line centre to have.
Its likely the first of many moves Edmonton makes and I think we are going to see a purge of forwards. Tambellini has said that in FA he is going after a couple of guys to play in the bottom six. Seeing as the majority of the Oilers' forwards are bottom six and a few of them are centres I think we are going to see a bit of a bloodbath between now and the beginning of July - Moreau, Pisani, Potulny, Pouliot, O'Sullivan, Nilsson, Stone, Jones, Jacques.
Holy mackerel we have a lot of bottom end forwards!
A couple will survive. But the acquisition of Fraser makes that number one less.
Posted by Black Dog at 9:50 AM