Not one of the other 29 NHL teams took a chance on claiming Ben Eager when he was put on the waiver wire courtesy of the Edmonton Oilers yesterday. As a result, Eager cleared waivers this morning and will now likely be sent to the Oklahoma City Barons of the AHL.
But in the wake of Eager not being picked up by another club, there remains a positive for the Oilers. He now remains property of the team and if he can rekindle his game in OKC, prove he is deserving of another shot, then the Oilers can recall him at anytime.
The grind of an 82-game schedule will wear the players down and injuries will happen. Eager and others could be called up to fill the void left on the third or fourth lines and given he still has plenty of game left, keeping him on the Oilers active roster is good insurance to have.
Mike Brown may not play as solid of a defensive game as Eager can, meaning as the season rolls along and Brown’s inability to play sound defensive hockey is exposed, he could be replaced by a farm hand. In this case Ben Eager. Both players play a similar game with Eager getting the slight edge based on his own end awareness.
Sending Eager to the AHL now stocks the Oilers with plenty of options to recall someone with NHL experience. Ryan Jones, Linus Omark and now Ben Eager will all want redemption if and when they get recalled and a a little motivation for a player is never a bad thing.
Now all they have to do is wait for the phone to ring and that can be the most difficult part of the job.