April 7, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) receives congratulations from Penguins left wing Steve MacIntyre (33) as Malkin returns to the bench after scoring his 50th goal of the season against the Philadelphia Flyers during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Pittsburgh Penguins won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Importance Of Steve MacIntyre


 

Once again Steve MacIntyre is relevant.  At least for a short time anyway.  The waiver pick-up has the Oiler’s fan base buzzing with acceptance or disapproval.

I think it is fair to say that most Oiler fans know MacIntyre will not possess the skill to be a steady regular ten minutes per game contributor.  Most will also argue however, that he is still one of the best heavy weight fighters in the league.  This is the reason that he is now an Oiler.  So, does that fact still make him an intimidating presence for Oiler’s opposition?   Well, based upon comments from MacTavish describing how it was worth $100,000 a year to keep a cut-out of Dave Brown on the bench each night, I believe he thinks so.  I also believe MacTavish and Eakins to be on the same page, so one would figure Eakins believes so as well.  The eventual way to determine the effectiveness of his presence will be to see how the Oilers style of play changes with him in or out of the line-up.  Will his presence strengthen the motivation of his teammates to play the more aggressive system Eakins is looking for?

Some fans believe MacIntyre’s presence will not be influential, and disappointingly will instead take a more skilled player out of the line-up.  This “more skilled” player will be a 4th liner.  Now, not to say that 4th line players do not serve an important role but perhaps for this team, at this stage of the year and at this stage of the team’s development, if the GM, coach, and fellow players feel the need to have a heavy weight fighter, then make it so.

MacIntyre most likely will not play 4th line minutes.  So, depending on the flow of the game and/ or situational occurrences, is how Eakins will deploy him.  MacIntyre will also likely not play every night.  So, the 4th line will rotate players.  As the season nears an end and the games become more important MacIntyre will be in the press box more than on the ice.  The 4th line will have taken shape by then and the players who have excelled in a limited role will have earned the opportunity to contribute on a regular basis down the stretch.

Although many will only assess the physical attributes gained through this transaction, perhaps the biggest benefit may be the confidence it inspires amongst the other Oiler forwards.

Tags: Edmonton Oilers

  • BillHK

    MacT needed to show the team that he realized that they made a mistake in dressing stars against the goons in the Vancouver game. Even if SMac does not play much, management needed to show that they saw the game for what it was and that something needed to be done.

    A skilled contender like the Penguins had SMac in their line up on and off as well. That should say something. The Oilers need to be realistic and know that some games will be physical and there will be teams and times where the other team is not looking to play a skill game. They need to have resources to address that.

    • Jeff Chapman

      Hi Bill.

      The Penguins played him for one game last year. For a team that had a bunch of guys who needed “protecting”, you’d figure he’d make it into the lineup a bit more often.

      Macintyre played once in 2012-13, and 12 times in 2011-12 in Pittsburgh, averaging just 3:17 over that time. I can’t for the life of me imagine he plays more than that in Edmonton.

      • BillHK

        My guess is that he’ll play a little more than that. Though he’ll still be very slow, he’s been on a workout regimen and is down from 265lbs to 245lbs. Eakins had to be in on the decision to claim him off waivers, so I would expect that he will actually use him from time to time.

        Likely about same amount of ice time, but perhaps 15 games. Vancouver, Calgary, and others that may have incentive to run around and abuse the skilled fwds.

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