With training camp set to break across the NHL, more and more free-agents are being offered a professional tryout with clubs, hoping to catch on and crack the roster. Yesterday we examined two veteran free-agents that the Oilers should consider inviting to their camp that could potentially helps shore up their vacancy at centre. Manny Malhotra and Tim Connolly are two veteran faceoff men that are still looking for work and yesterday the Minnesota Wild jumped in on the PTO train by inviting David Steckel to their training camp.
Steckel isn’t the second line centre that the Oilers need but he does bring an impressive tool box with him and would no doubt serve as an excellent third or fourth line centre, depending on where Boyd Gordon starts the year (potentially as the second line centre).
Our friends at Gone Puck Wild posted on the Steckel news and quoted Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune of the following when describing the former Ducks forward:
He’s a big body, responsible defensively, works hard and gritty.
Furthermore, Russo examined Steckel’s ability in the faceoff circle and the value that he brings to that element of the game. An area that the Oilers could use the help:
Two years ago, he ranked sixth in the NHL (58 percent), in 2010-11 he led the NHL by winning 62.3 percent of his draws, he ranked second in 2009-10 (59.2 percent), fifth in 2008-09 (57.9 percent) and seventh in 2007-08 (56.3 percent).
Here is another Western Conference opponent that is taking a chance on a free-agent by having him skate at camp. It was mentioned yesterday that by extending an invite to camp, the club has nothing to lose and everything to gain if that player can prove he’s worthy of a contract and a roster spot.
Given the Oilers’ glaring need at centre, it’s worth asking if you think the Oilers need to jump in on the action. We’ve heard plenty about how Taylor Hall will be used at centre throughout September and could start the season up the middle. But what if that plan doesn’t turn out so well? Then what? What’s plan B?
Our daily poll today asks if you think the Oilers should invite a player or two to camp on a PTO. Take part and let’s see what the results turn out to be.