Examining Oilers Options at Centre: Internal & External

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Free-Agents:

Tim Connolly
Age: 32
Last NHL club: Toronto Maple Leafs
2011-12 stats: 70 GP, 13 G, 23 A, 36 Points

Connolly’s name has been mentioned here at Oil on Whyte before and perhaps now is the time to consider giving him a tryout.  Although with only three exhibition games remaining the window on PTO’s  may have passed the Oilers by.

Having spent last season with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL could be a potential blessing in disguise for the Oilers and Connolly. Remember, head coach Dallas Eakins just so happened to be the coach of the Marlies last season and would know first hand how well Connolly can adapt to the NHL game again.

The Oilers don’t need a superstar, they just need someone who can fill the void until Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Sam Gagner returns.  Meaning a three or four week stint may be all that’s required.

Would it be a poor business practice to sign Connolly for the short-term only to place him on waivers if he can’t play into a roster spot when RNH and Gagner get healthy?  That’s the cold hard reality known as professional sports and it’s more of a ‘what have you done for me lately’ motto than it is about loyalty.

Of course there is the outside chance that Connolly could manage to find himself a place on the Oilers roster, albeit on the fourth line.  Then again with the young talent that the Oilers have knocking on the door for that role, Connolly would likely be used as a temporary replacement.

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Tags: Anton Lander David Steckel Edmonton Oilers Mark Acrobello Sam Gagner Tim Connolly Will Acton

  • Cody Anderson

    I like the Steckel option best, and hate the Lander option. I see him the same as Belanger only not as good on the draw. He is a fringe player that has shown absolutely 0 offense at the NHL level. It appears as though he is penalty killing even when he plays 5 on 5.
    I would not have him on the team even with our injuries. If I was filling from within I would have Acrobello in the top 6 and Acton on the 4th line.

    • Derek Stykalo

      Thanks for the comments Cody. I’m with you on Steckel and truth be told I’ve liked him from the beginning of the free-agent period. It’s doubtful they’ll reach out and sign him unless Minnesota cuts him from his PTO.

      As for Arcobello, listening to Mac-T it sounds like he’s going to get the shot at least to start. Lander may be running out of time with this club so another AHL stint could be in his future. Thanks for reading.

      • Cody Anderson

        I think it depends on their intent. If they want a player to fill in on the bottom 6 and move Gordon up to the top 6 then Acrobello is not a good fit. If you are playing him in Gagner’s role where he is fed softer minutes and put with elite wingers I think Acrobello will score at a nice clip and may very well create trade value for himself after Nuge and Gagner are healthy.

  • BillHK

    From what Eakins has said so far and the fact that there seems to be similar trains of thought between him and MacT, I think that they will fill it internally.

    It is probably still up in the air as to which of the three gets sent down, and I would be surprised if all 3 don’t get at least 2 more exhibition games to prove that they have what it takes.

    All this said, I would prefer that they sign Steckel to a relatively affordable 1 year contract, or get a player on waiver day. They probably need another C in OKC if the depth is as weak as it appears now.

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