The Edmonton Oilers did not make much of a splash at the NHL trade deadline, making only one deal of note. They added depth forward Jerred Smithson from the Florida Panthers for a 4th round draft pick.
With the Oilers riding a four-game win streak going into the deadline, and then a dominant win in Calgary last night, there appears to be no need to break up the current chemistry.
Smithson won’t be a player that will be expected to contribute offensively, he has just five points in 35 games this year. He does bring a few elements, however, that the Oilers are lacking.
The first is size. At 6’3″ and 209 lbs., he is already the biggest Oiler in the lineup. He also brings experience and leadership to a team that can use some, going into what is hopefully a successful playoff push.
He is an excellent penalty killer, ranking first among Panther forwards in short-handed ice time, and he is also very good in the faceoff circle, something the Oilers are very thin on. He’s also a right-handed shot, so he will complement the team’s other top draw man, Shawn Horcoff, who is left-handed.
He will likely center the team’s fourth line, as they currently have Ryan Smyth in that spot who is playing out of position at center. How the lineup shakes out and who comes out of the lineup will be a tough call for Ralph Krueger. Very likely it will be someone like Lennart Petrell drawing the short straw. It also makes Eric Belanger’s future with the team questionable, whenever he does return from injury.
While many fans were hoping for a big time acquisition, Steve Tambellini opted to stay the course with the group he has, supplementing it with a valuable depth piece that won’t rock the boat.
The Oilers certainly still have needs, and a few big ones at that, but those will be addressed in the offseason. With the Oilers on a five-game win streak and the team’s best players finally playing like their best players, that might not be a bad way to go.
Oiler fans will have to wait a bit to see Smithson and his #25 in the lineup, as he is expected to join the team during the weekend, as his wife is reportedly due to give birth any day.