Craig Rivet in that awful sweater - Photo Bill Whippert / NHLI-Getty

Dressing Up The D

Cuts have been made, envelopes have been licked (?), and stamps have been stamped.

A surprise to some is that Gilbert Brule didn’t make the final cut.  One would imagine  Anton Lander and Lennart Petrell will see some fourth line action between now and the first few weeks of the season.  I’m absolutely excited for the forwards on this team.  See how RNH does in his first handful of contests.  He’s earned the right to be on this team with his preseason, and as long as he can factor into being a player that can contribute to the team, he’s earned the right to be on this squad.

Five days to go until the season opener, and we’ve still got a defence that needs a bit of fine tuning.  A lot of fine tuning, actually.

The Oilers stand currently at 48 contracts (out of a max 50).  That leaves TWO contracts that can be awarded.  In other words, the Oilers should award two contracts immediately to a couple guys that can play defence.

Here are two guys I call today:

Paul Mara - Photo courtesy Bill Wippert / NHLI-Getty


About a month ago, I was looking for a couple of defencemen who shot right.  At this point, I’m looking for a couple of defencemen who can skate.  Paul Mara is one of those guys that will likely come at a nice price.

This is the first person whose agent I get in touch with. New Jersey native Paul Mara (6’4″, 207 lbs) is coming off a season that saw him split 53 games with Anaheim and Montréal.  Mara has some concerns with his shoulder (he missed 30 games ending the 2009-10 season), but I’d venture to say he’s a worthy gamble at this point in time due to his price tag (750K in 2010-11) and the fact that Edmonton needs some real live NHL defencemen on the roster.  Mara likely would be a 6th-7th defenceman on another team at this point and time, but he’d be counted on nightly to contribute eighteen minutes (or more) in Edmonton this year.

With him playing in just 53 games last year, I’d offer him the same amount this year and see if he bites.  Maybe one of those nice fruit baskets if the deal is close.


At age 37, Rivet’s a guy that’s out to prove he’s got at least one more season left in the tank.  For the right price, I’m willing to believe in him. Rivet (6’2″, 210 lbs) was the captain of the Buffalo Sabres for two and a half years before being sat down for a significant amount of time.  He was subsequently waived, and Columbus picked him up on re-entry late in the sesaon. Now a UFA (and a right-handed UFA, to boot) Rivet is a real live veteran NHL defenceman that doesn’t seem to have any significant injury worries in his past few seasons (He did miss 11 games in 2009 with a shoulder issue).   His $3.5M contract would be an immediate sticking point, but if he’s willing to come down on that about half, it could work. 

It appears that Anton Stralman is going to fit into New Jersey’s blue line, as he’s still listed on the active roster after the final wave of cuts.  I’m not sure I see Bryan McCabe entertaining anything serious from the Oilers (plus there’s that whole five million dollar contract he’d have to come down on).

It’s not pretty at this point, but the club needs NHL players to man the blue.

It’s your turn:  Who’s a good fit on the blue at this point?

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Tags: Anton Stralman Bryan McCabe Craig Rivet Paul Mara

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