The Edmonton Oilers got a lot tougher today. In a somewhat surprising move, the Oilers traded a conditional draft pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs for winger Mike Brown. The Maple Leafs needed to free up a roster spot with Matt Frattin ready to return from injury, and the Oilers desperately needed to add a gritty player like Brown to their roster. In 12 games for the Maple Leafs this season Brown has five fighting majors and 70 total penalty minutes. He may be best known for what he does with his fists, but he is also capable of heavy hitting, blocking shots and seeing time on the penalty kill. In 254 NHL games Brown has 14 goals, 25 points and 519 penalty minutes.
For all of the young talent up front on the Oilers’ roster, there was definite lack of toughness. It’s nice to have Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Sam Gagner and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the top lines, but the closest thing the Oilers had to Brown before the trade was Ben Eager, who had fought once this season. The Oilers have the fewest fighting majors in the league (3), but that is almost sure to change now that Brown has arrived. The Oilers top offensive weapons are sometimes targeted by opposing teams, and now they will be held accountable if they cross the line. It is important that Gagner and Hall aren’t getting into fights either, as the last thing the team needs is to lose one of their star players to a fight-related injury. Brown’s toughness will be a big boost for the team, and he could be in the lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the fifth game of a nine-game road trip.