Last year, the Oilers hired former defender Denis Grebeshkov. Craig MacTavish liked the player when he was coaching, and so he offered the player a chance to come over her and make some magic again, despite low numbers from his time in the KHL. In the same way, the Oilers took a chance on former #3 pick Cam Barker, only to see him falter as he had done previously. For some reason, the Oilers thought that they could draw the best out of players who appeared to be spent. Trouble is, they were.
Alternatively, sometimes players misbehave and find themselves a pariah among their current club. Mike Ribiero was pushed aside this off season for his apparent issue behind the scenes. He still got a second chance, though. One rebel son who hasn’t been re-upped for another go with an NHL club is Ryan Malone.
Malone is in some big trouble for his DUI arrest in April. He had a blood alcohol level of .112 and he had 1.3 grams of cocaine in his pocket. Now, he is facing rehabilation and treatment along with community service for his misdeeds. Obviously, the Oilers don’t need a cancer in the dressing room nor a poor influence on its young players.
While I think that the Oilers could offer Malone a one year contract worth a single million, it would need to be because there is a fly in the fourth line ointment. The top 9 is essentially set. However, having a player with Malone’s fire power on the fourth line could be useful. He would certainly add an element of size to a team trending bigger.
The Oilers may have already considered Malone. After all, he has two old teammates in Benoit Pouliot and Ted Purcell already here. They would have had a clear assessment of what kind of character he has from their time in Tampa Bay.
The bottom line is that most teams are going to wait and see if he completes his obligations to the law and his substance abuse. Malone is definitely worth a look, but perhaps all interested GM’s aren’t pulling the trigger until it feels just right.