The Edmonton Oilers had an opportunity to claim defenseman Rostislav Klesla off waivers from the Phoenix Coyotes yesterday, but instead they, along with every other NHL team decided to pass. Was this a mistake on Craig MacTavish‘s part?
Klesla would have provided that big bodied defenseman that the Oilers still need to compliment the likes of Justin Schultz and some of the smaller blue liners on the club. Sure Andrew Ference plays bigger than he is and Anton Belov could develop into that top four d-man who has a mean streak to him, but Klesla would have added all that immediately.
Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal did a great piece on Klesla and the Oilers decision to pass on him. Matheson notes that one former NHL coach felt the team should have put a claim in citing “The Oilers don’t have one nasty defenceman” and he feels Klesla would have been a good fit in Edmonton.
Matheson believes that Klesla’s cap hit of $2.95 million may have scared some teams off but for the Oilers, wasn’t trading Ladislav Smid and dumping his salary done so the team could accommodate the Bryzgalov signing and possibly another move?
But the Journal’s writer also mentions that the Oilers currently have 49 contracts and are tight against the cap ceiling meaning another move would’ve had to been made to bring in the Coyotes defenseman.
So why not waive Corey Potter or Denis Grebehskov yet again? Neither provide the skill set that Klesla would bring to the table, although Potter does have a large frame but he doesn’t use it.
Or were the Oilers wise to pass on the former 4th overall pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, given his salary and looming unrestricted free-agent status at the end of the year. Was Mac-T smart in not claiming him and holding out for a better move down the road? Albeit, one that will surely cost the Oilers a roster player if not a prospect and/or a draft pick.
You be the judge and take part in our poll about the decision to not claim Klesla.