The Edmonton Oilers made a handful of roster moves yesterday as they prepare their roster for opening night on Tuesday.
Starting with waivers, the Oilers placed defenseman Philip Larsen and forward Ryan Hamilton on the wire for the rest of the league to consider claiming before having the option of sending them to Oklahoma City.
Larsen was acquired as part of the Shawn Horcoff deal this summer from the Dallas Stars and after an impressive training camp and pre-season, the slick skating blue liner is the odd man out in Edmonton.
Larsen and Anton Belov were competing for the final roster spot on the back end and with the acquisition of Denis Grebeshkov during the off-season, it meant one of the two talented d-men would be on the outside looking in. The answer is clear now with Larsen hitting waivers.
Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal had this to say about Larsen and his abilities on the ice:
(Larsen) has lots of giddyup as a puck-mover and is a very good passer of the puck (he looked a solid second-pairing PP point guy) but NHL pro scouts say he could use some size when the puck is in the Oilers end and the cycle is on.
Matheson went on to further state that Belov is bigger and shoots harder, making the decision to keep the Russian over Larsen the one that Eakins and company felt was best.
The Hamilton move proves that coach Eakins doesn’t let loyalty affect his decisions. The two spent some time together with the Toronto Marlies and it was that connection that brought Hamilton to the Oilers organization.
Hamilton has taken some criticism for his play or lack there of during the pre-season and some fans were claiming it was Eakins loyalty card that influenced the decision to keep Hamilton over fan favorite Ryan Jones. It’s likely that Jones and Hamilton will now be teammates in OKC and the good news is, is that the Oilers will have both players at their disposal should they need to call for their services.
Finally, with the knee injury to Steve MacIntyre looking like it’s going to keep him out of action for the foreseeable future, the Oilers claimed Luke Gazdic off waivers from the Dallas Stars.
Gazdic is reportedly a better skater than MacIntyre (which isn’t hard to beat) but according to Matheson he won’t scare people like Big Mac. The confusing part for me is that I’m not sure how much MacIntyre actually scares people when he’s sitting on the bench for the entire game.
He can the chuck knuckles and will play a fourth line role to the best of his ability. Will it be what the Oilers need? It’s doubtful but for the time being the club has a labelled “tough guy” again.