Free Agent Blue Plate: Craig Rivet

I’ve been beating the goaltender drum pretty hard over the past two months, but that’s for another post at another time.

The depth chart on defence hasn’t changed very much over the past few weeks.  Rather, it hasn’t changed at all.

Who’s still in the free agent bag that can come in and make an immediate impact?

Craig Rivet: Photo courtesy Mike Ridewood/Getty Images

CRAIG RIVET

POSITION:  Defence

DOB:  13 SEP 1974 (36)

2010-11 NUMBERS:  2-2-4 (-12), 35 PIM in 37 GP (with BUF/CLB)

2010-11 CAP:  $3.5M

Craig Rivet had a season to forget in 2010-11.

Playing in only 23 contests with Buffalo, Rivet was banished to the press box the majority of last year while a member of the Sabres.  Eventually placed on waivers, he was scooped up on re-entry waivers by the Columbus Blue Jackets late last season and appeared in 14 games.  Rivet had a forgettable last game of the season, taking a five minute major penalty for a cross-check to the head against Buffalo’s Tyler Ennis that eventually led to a pair of Sabre tallies.

Needless to say, I’m willing to bet that Rivet is ready to make a fresh start.  How about Edmonton, Craig?

HOW HE WOULD MAKE EDMONTON BETTER

All right, a right-hander!  A right hander who plays hockey!  A 6’2″, 205-lb right hander who plays hockey!

Tom Gilbert and Jeff Petry (if he starts the season in Edmonton) are the only righties on defence so far.  Rivet would be a welcome plug for this year.

Oilers defence depth chart.  Go.

There's a spot for Craig Rivet here.

In a tweet to Bruce McCurdy the other day, he says that Sutton could very well be a 5-6-7D kind of guy.  I tend to see him as a third pairing guy on this squad as well, but I’d rather take a guy like Rivet (who shouldn’t command a suitcase full of money) and put him on the right side for the lion’s share of the work.  Andy Sutton is my 7, and if the injury barrage comes calling, we might see more of him.  As the lineup stands, I like Petry to make this squad.  With Rivet on the club, that would likely change.

The corps is already thin.  Very, very thin.  What happens if (God forbid) Ryan Whitney isn’t quite ready for training camp, or if everyone’s worst fear in Cam Barker comes true and he can’t swing a bag of doorknobs?  Rivet’s not going to win any scoring titles in 2011-12, but the guy can be inserted into the lineup tomorrow and not be terrible.  The guy has a wealth of experience, he’s a former captain, and a respected leader in the dressing room.   There’s got to be a compelling reason that he was named Sabres team captain before playing a game with the club. I’m going to go off on a limb and say it’s not because he brought a keg to the presser.

In a few weeks, he’ll be 37.  But Andy Sutton’s 36, and Rivet will play more games on this team than Andy Sutton will.

If he’s not asking for the farm, ring him up for a year.

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Topics: Craig Rivet

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