Okay, so apparently I know nothing. After I blogged this morning about how the Edmonton Oilers were unlikely to make any deals of consequence until much closer to the trade deadline, word is coming out that they have traded for Dallas Stars defenseman Mark Fistric. This move is surprising because it seems to solidify Edmonton’s 5/6 pairing, which will likely put Fistric with Ryan Whitney or Nick Schultz, depending on which defenseman the Oilers decide to match Justin Schultz with on the second pairing. And all the Oilers had to give up was a 3rd round pick in this year’s draft. So somehow the Oilers have managed to shore up a weak spot on their team a bit more and will not have to give up anything important in order to do so. Not a bad move at all.
The Edmonton native is not going to light it up for the Oilers offensively, considering he has only scored 23 points in 257 games, but if he can be the rugged, steady, defensive half of whichever defensive pairing he ends up in, then he will be a significant upgrade over Colton Teubert and Theo Peckham, which is exactly what the Oilers were looking for.
He is +16 as well for his career, so there is reason to be optimistic that he can contribute more positively than negatively for the Oilers while he’s on the ice. Of greatest importance to Edmonton however, is the fact that he led an already gritty Stars team in hits last year with 235; this is the kind of force the Oilers have desperately been needing on their undersized squad for years, so his toughness should be a huge bonus for the Oilers.
This trade is far from earth-shattering news for the Oilers, but it should prove to be very beneficial for them. Fistric is the left-handed, defensive defenseman the Oilers needed for their bottom pairing, he is not a defensive liability, his cap hit isn’t ridiculous, and while he did not develop in Dallas the way they had hoped he would as a former first-round pick, he has the potential to flourish in a new environment.
Welcome to Oil Country, Mark!