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.