Craig MacTavish Ignores Waiver Option Kyle Chipchura


Craig MacTavish decided that his team did not need Kyle Chipchura. The Arizona center was placed on waivers last Friday by a struggling team known for being on the thick of things. Adding this player would not have cost any assets, future or current, and his cap hit was a modest $875,000 with one more season left after this one. The Oilers could have certainly afforded the gritty center. Damien Brunner was also made available on the waiver wire, but at 5’10 and a cap hit of $2,500,000 he was certainly not an option for a team screaming for bigger men and in need of cap room for potential moves.

So why not take Kyle? Yes the guy has struggled this year, but let’s compare him to the people he would most likely replace on the Oilers depth chart:

In terms of point production there is little difference. The same can be said for cap hit. The biggest difference is in the experience Chipchura brings, there is just no contest, and at 28 years old, he is a player technically  entering the height of his career. He is bigger and aggressive, although I was surprised to see Arcobello with so many hits. Chipchura is also the clear cut better face off man, and has been deployed in the defensive zone far more than the Oilers’ two. His possession numbers are close to decent, although again I was surprised that Leon had such strong Fenwick for%. Both Leon and Kyle have been somewhat unlucky so far, so it would be reasonable to expect for them to hit a scoring streak some time soon, although with such a small sample from so early in the season, they can also get worse. Arcobello’s numbers suggest that what you see is what you get, the guy gives it his all and that is good enough for a regular bottom 6 NHLer in my opinion, but not for a 2c, not even close.

More from Oil On Whyte

I think the addition of Chipchura would have allowed Craig MacTavish to send Leon Draisaitl to the World Juniors and then either to Europe or back to junior. I am of the opinion that Leon would be better served at a lower level, specially when looking at his lowish PDO, a stat that, while it’s more an indicator of “puck luck”, it also tells something about the finishing ability of a player. Combine that with the low amount of ice time the player is getting plus the strong offensive push with only 11 percent of his faceoffs taken on the defensive zone, and we can see a player struggling mightily just to keep his head above water. I don’t think the NHL is a development league, and I don’t think Draisaitl has nearly enough support to learn here or to improve. His strong possession stats speak more about his determination than his NHL readiness.

Not taking such an easy option as Chipchura can only mean that Leon is staying until the end of the season. If for some reason Craig MacTavish changes his mind, he can always call up Anton Lander and give him one last at bat before both player and team part ways. Kyle would have been good insurance though, specially if Matt Hendricks remains out of commission. Maybe the Oilers GM thought it was not worth the hassle of an extra contract since this move was not going to be a season savior nor anything close to it. Still, having Chipchura as a possible 5 c and 13th forward, would be a better option than Pinizzotto, Joensuu or Gazdic, if only because non of them play center.

At the end of the day it wasn’t a move that would either dramatically improve the team nor make them regret it in the long run.

*Stats Chart compiled from, and*