The Edmonton Oilers acquired defenseman Mark Fraser in an incidental trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was a move similar to the trade for Mike Brown, also from the Leafs. While Mike Brown ended up getting shuffled to the San Jose Sharks, Mark Fraser remains with the Oilers—at least for now.
He is an unrestricted free agent along with former fan fave Ryan Jones, who (for the uninformed) is not returning to the club. Fraser is unlikely to get resigned in Edmonton. With the depth in Oklahoma City on the blue line, it makes little sense to return the d-man. With the small possibility of Aaron Ekblad getting drafted along with the free agency and trade markets weeks from opening, Fraser on the opening night line up will signal a poor off season for Oilers GM Craig MacTavish.
Fraser has had tenures in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils, Leafs and Oilers. He hasn’t stuck with any of the teams in any significant way. Oilers Coach Dallas Eakins had Fraser brought over here, working on hunches on the potential of the player based on his performance in Toronto with the AHL’s Marlies. However, Eakins also spoke highly of Will Acton and Ryan Hamilton at the outset of this last season and neither had a lasting role. It’s best if Eakins leaves the scouting to the scouts.
To be fair, Fraser is a big body with some NHL experience that came cheap. He can grind it out as many 7th d-men can. It is the NHL, after all. However, he offers little hockey sense. He doesn’t possess a good first pass, nor is he able to chip in much offensively. Fraser is likely to be a career two-way player. The Oilers should only offer him a contract if Oscar Klefbom breaks his leg and Darnell Nurse gets hooked on black tar heroin.
OIL ON WHYTE OUTLOOK: Fraser will be another footnote in Oilers history by training camp.