The 10 Most Interesting Players on Today’s Waiver Wire

Jonathan Willis
January 13 2013 01:18PM

The return of the NHL season means the return of the waiver wire! TSN’s Bob McKenzie, as he always does, has today’s news on that front. After the jump, a look at the ten most interesting available players.

1. Patrick Maroon. Despite having just two NHL games under his belt, Maroon is one of the most interesting players on the list. The 6’4”, 225 pound power forward recorded 32 goals, 74 points and 120 penalty minutes in 75 games last year, and has 11 goals and 98 PIM in 34 games to start 2012-13. His size is great, his numbers are great, and his aggression level is great; the knock is his skating (not good) and his age (he turns 25 in April). Conditioning issues were a problem in the past but he has reportedly overcome them. Former NHL coach Trent Yawney and future NHL coach Jon Cooper both raved about him in a December 28 article.

2. Steve MacIntyre. A veteran of 90 NHL games and no fewer than seven leagues since graduating junior, Steve MacIntyre’s playing style is summed up in his stats line: 90GP, four points, 163 penalty minutes. He’s as tough as they come and fits the bill for any team looking for an enforcer to play three minutes per night, once every three games or so.

3. Nick Drazenovic. Drazenovic is a little long in the tooth to be considered a legitimate prospect (he turns 26 tomorrow) but he’s been a pretty good AHL scorer for the last two seasons. Drazenovic played three games with St. Louis in 2010-11, and since then has been a point-per-game guy in the minors. He managed the feat last year despite being limited to 41 games with concussion and knee injuries. He has 30 points in 35 games this year in a lockout-strengthened AHL. He is reputedly a good skater but in the past has been knocked for having a middling physical game.

4. Ryan Russell. The twin brother of St. Louis Blues defenceman Kris Russell, Ryan Russell spent 41 games in the NHL last season with Columbus. The defensive forward had an underwhelming stats line – he picked up just two points in 41 games – but he did solid work on the other side of the puck, posting a minus-7 on a terrible Columbus team despite being leaned on as a defensive zone specialist. Despite his good work in that department, his offensive track record in both the minors and the majors makes it difficult to imagine him as an NHL’er.

5. Nate Guenin. Guenin has the distinction of being the best defenceman on the waiver wire today. He is a primarily defensive defender who earned a 15-game look one year ago and has filled the reserve role for four different NHL teams now. He has decent size (6’2”, 210 pounds), a right-handed shot and plays a rough and tumble style of game. He would be a solid number eight defenceman for a number of different teams.

6. Cody Bass. A utility forward who has skated in 48 regular season NHL games, Bass adds size (6’1”, 213 pounds) and energy to the lineup. In 201 AHL games he’s managed 53 points and 378 penalty minutes. Aside from the fact that aside from his physical game he’s a sub-NHL player, Bass hasn’t played in the minors since suffering an injury in late October.

7. Cedrick Desjardins. A now 27-year old goaltender, Desjardins has had a solid minor-league career. He posted the best save percentage (0.932) in the AHL in 2011-12, was an AHL second-team all-star in 2009-10, and over a 163-game AHL career has managed an average save percentage of 0.917. He’s a good goalie, and a very capable third-stringer. If he’d had a good start to the season he might be worth a flyer for a team needing a backup, but he’s managed just a 0.898 save percentage with a lousy Hamilton team to start the year.

8. David Leggio. Another third-string goalie, Leggio is actually having the best season of the puck-stoppers on waivers today. He has a 0.913 save percentage through 30 games with Buffalo’s AHL affiliate in Rochester, and this marks the third consecutive year he’s been a solid minor-league goaltender.

9. Ben Maxwell. Maxwell has played the role of ‘tweener the last few years, most recently in Winnipeg. He’s appeared in 47 NHL contests since 2008. He has decent size (6’1”, 195 pounds), plays a relatively physical game without taking a lot of penalties, and has been a capable auxiliary socorer for years in the minors. He’s had a rough start to this season – he has just two goals and 13 points in 37 games, along with a minus-13 rating in the AHL.

10. Jordan Hendry. The undrafted defenceman played 144 NHL games with the Chicago Blackhawks in the late 00’s, including 15 playoff games with the team when it won the Stanley Cup in 2010. The undersized (6’, 197 pounds) rearguard split 2011-12 between Switzerland and the AHL, and has four points in 29 games with Norfolk in the latter league to start the season. He’s a reserve defenceman that should clear waivers easily.

Bonus. Matt Smaby. A 122-game NHL’er (all of them with Tampa Bay), Smaby now plays in the Ducks’ organization. The 6’5” rearguard used to be a player of interest, but his career has been heavily impacted by a series of injuries, and that’s been the case this season as well. He played three games before suffering a leg injury that knocked him out for a month, came back and played three more games before sitting for two months. He’s playing now, but quite clearly isn’t 100%; he’s been a minus-4 over four games since coming back and now sits minus-8 in the seven games he’s played since first being hurt back in October.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Puritania
January 13 2013, 01:29PM
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I love MacIntyre, I don't care if he can play a lick of hockey between breaking faces and dreams. He can be on my team any day of the week.

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#2 Spydyr
January 13 2013, 01:33PM
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I'm hoping as the camps develop a decent third pairing defenceman springs up for the Oil.

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#3 Oilogosphere.com
January 13 2013, 01:36PM
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With the Oilers depleting the farm team, and 2nd in line with waivers, Tambellini should be snagging someone in the coming days.

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#4 Spydyr
January 13 2013, 01:43PM
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Oilogosphere.com wrote:

With the Oilers depleting the farm team, and 2nd in line with waivers, Tambellini should be snagging someone in the coming days.

Pretty sure if you snag someone off waivers they have to stay with the big club or clear waivers again.Might not help the farm team.

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#5 MAC962
January 13 2013, 01:52PM
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For what Hordichuck brings and i luv the guy for what he does, do you really lose alot picking up Smack and letting hordy go ?

Smack demands instant attention when he steps on the ice, albeit for 2 minutes a game. Do not f--k with the kids. Hordy does not have that scare factor. But its a roster spot u may not be able to afford.

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#7 Spydyr
January 13 2013, 02:08PM
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MAC962 wrote:

For what Hordichuck brings and i luv the guy for what he does, do you really lose alot picking up Smack and letting hordy go ?

Smack demands instant attention when he steps on the ice, albeit for 2 minutes a game. Do not f--k with the kids. Hordy does not have that scare factor. But its a roster spot u may not be able to afford.

Or Eager at least Mac knows his role.

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#8 Mark-LW
January 13 2013, 02:14PM
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Mac knows his role, doesn't make him useful.

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#9 Clyde Frog
January 13 2013, 02:15PM
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With Maroon's size and AHL track record is there any reason why we don't take a flier on him? At the very least he press boxes and gives us a better bottom 9 option than Paarjvi.

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#10 Spydyr
January 13 2013, 02:17PM
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Mark-LW wrote:

Mac knows his role, doesn't make him useful.

Protecting the kids seems useful to me.

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#11 Clyde Frog
January 13 2013, 02:32PM
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@Spydyr

Except it doesn't work that way if you can only get on the ice for 30 seconds a game... Especially since you now run a shortened bench in a tight tight season.

If you want to protect the kids, just bring the OKC powerplay up, it will be tough to take liberties if every other chance ends up in the back of your net.

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#12 Spydyr
January 13 2013, 02:37PM
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Clyde Frog wrote:

Except it doesn't work that way if you can only get on the ice for 30 seconds a game... Especially since you now run a shortened bench in a tight tight season.

If you want to protect the kids, just bring the OKC powerplay up, it will be tough to take liberties if every other chance ends up in the back of your net.

Ask Hemsky how his shoulders are or Hall his head.

Someone runs a kid.Next shift Mac is out and not taking no for an answer.Screw the instigator penalty.Do that a few times word gets around.

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#13 Mac962
January 13 2013, 02:41PM
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Good Point on Smack All....Tough call, i would take the chance, You cant tell me everyone plays a little tougher hen he is on the bench.. Sorry Hordichuk, there are many guys like you around, and very very few like Smack... what to do ???

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#14 Clyde Frog
January 13 2013, 02:47PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Ask Hemsky how his shoulders are or Hall his head.

Someone runs a kid.Next shift Mac is out and not taking no for an answer.Screw the instigator penalty.Do that a few times word gets around.

Yeah thats why when we had him or big George for that matter we had those injury free seasons!

Oh wait...

You can argue that a player like Eager benefits from being able to run around when he is on the bench; but there is nothing he is going to do for this team, especially in the shortened season.

You roll Mac after each big hit and you will see MORE; what team wouldn't run our kids if it means you get a 45 second Mac shift & a 5 minute powerplay!

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#15 MAC962
January 13 2013, 02:48PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Particularly with a compressed schedule.

JW

What would you do ? i say Mac. Either way , either player will not be with the Oil next year. Just Mac's stare scares the hell out of me... His and the old lady's ! lol

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#16 a lg dubl dubl
January 13 2013, 03:06PM
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That Guenin guy looks alright, could be a good replacement for Sutton

Whiney-J.Shultz

Smid-Petry

N.Shultz-Peckham/Tuebert/Guenin?

Yes I am aware of Fedun down in OKC, but he needs to get his game back in the AHL, not the bigs at least for this year.

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#17 a lg dubl dubl
January 13 2013, 03:07PM
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Id bring back Mac over havin Eager anyday...more whats that word oyea TRUCULANCE

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#18 OilClog
January 13 2013, 03:11PM
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I go with Mac all day long. You can run a shorter bench when the cluster of your group is all below 25 yrs of age. Mac is a deterrent, Hordichuk is not. Mac crushes men, Hordi confuses them. Players won't take the chance of running our stars if Mac is present and making people answer. There is too many targets on our roster as it stands to not get some protection for them. We don't need Mac to score or play any other role other then scaring the bejesus out of the opposition. A couple 5min powerplays against wont hurt anywhere near as much as losing one of our guns due to being targeted and we can't do nothing but send Hordichuk after them...

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#19 book¡e
January 13 2013, 03:22PM
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a lg dubl dubl wrote:

Id bring back Mac over havin Eager anyday...more whats that word oyea TRUCULANCE

I wouldn't have Mac on my team...what's that word? O Yeah - HOCKEY

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#20 book¡e
January 13 2013, 03:24PM
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George Laroque was a pro hockey player and kept up with the game pretty well. He could play 5+ minutes a game and contribute. Without fighting he would certainly have been an AHLer or maybe even a 4th liner in the NHL. Mac would struggle to be a player on an ECHL team.

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#22 pelhem grenville
January 13 2013, 03:33PM
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JW ...off topic but a question please... Andy Sutton...he's gone for the season, on the team IR and he's already had this half of his seasons' salary flushed down the toilet...does he get any money at all on this last contract of his?

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#23 Maverick
January 13 2013, 03:47PM
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The LA Kings media is reporting Thomas Hickey is on waivers. Would Edmonton take a look at claiming Hickey??

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#24 Oilogosphere.com
January 13 2013, 03:51PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Pretty sure if you snag someone off waivers they have to stay with the big club or clear waivers again.Might not help the farm team.

It's worth a shot. Given the calibre of the players we're looking at, there might not be any other interested teams; they may clear waivers.

Second scenario, the Oilers may very well keep them on the roster allowing them the option to sending one of their prospects back down to the AHL (Paajarvi, Hartikainen, etc.).

Given that this is a condensed schedule and injuries are bound to happen, having some insurance players will be important down the road.

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#25 Spydyr
January 13 2013, 03:55PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I don't like Steve MacIntyre as an option, because I don't believe enforcers really function effectively as protection.

Boston - a team with both a legitimate enforcer and a reputation for team toughness - wasn't able to protect Marc Savard from Matt Cooke.

More recent examples come from the AHL this year. Antoine Roussel - despite the fact that Colten Teubert punished everyone who did anything to the kids - ran around like an idiot, even with Teubert on the ice. Heck, Teubert turned Brett Bulmer's jaw into mush and the next time Bulmer played the Barons he showed no hesitation about hammering guys.

Two weeks ago, the Barons Erick Lizon - a legit enforcer, up from the Central League - squared off with tough guy Luke Gazdic in a fight everyone knew was coming early in the game. After Gazdic got out of the box he took a long run at Teemu Hartikainen; he was instantly fought by Alex Plante and then had to fight Lizon again later in the game.

I just don't see an enforcer - even a heavyweight - as an effective deterrent at the NHL level. Guys lose jobs if they aren't hitting people; guys from the Cooke and Torres family don't change the way they play just because the other team has a tough guy. If I thought MacIntyre would deter injuries, I'd bring him in *this instant*. But I don't think enforcers work.

If enforcers don't work why do a majority of teams carry one?

Perhaps yourself and others may not feel this way but if my actions caused Mac to punch me in the face.I would be very, very mindful of my actions.

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#26 Oilogosphere.com
January 13 2013, 03:58PM
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All the talk about picking up Macintyre; a tough defenseman would be preferrable. A player who is on the ice for a duration of a game and not somebody taking up a roster spot during a condensed schedule so he can play every third game (4 minutes at best).

The Oilers need a veteran defenseman and if they were to inquire for one I'd hope they would aim for someone that deliver a hard check and a few fights.

What good is it when opposing teams take a run at the first two scoring lines, a scrum erupts, and nobody is on the ice to bail them out. I fear for two lines made up of Hemsky, Yakupov, Gagner and Hall, RNH and Hall with nobody on the back end to offer some toughness.

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#27 Clyde Frog
January 13 2013, 03:59PM
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@Spydyr

That's why you don't play professional hockey, because those that are paid 6+ figures to be physical can't afford to let someone like MacIntyre get in their way.

They simply decline to fight him or turtle and keep on trucking while he is in the penalty box.

We had 520+ man games lost WITH HIM IN THE LINEUP already... There is zero proof he does anything other than put up highlight fights that Hordichuk doesn't do already.

Except that Hordichuk can skate and play the game of hockey.

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#28 Oilogosphere.com
January 13 2013, 04:00PM
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@Oilogosphere.com

Correction, a line of Hall, RNH and Eberle.

Oilersnation really needs to offer an edit option >:(

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#29 Spydyr
January 13 2013, 04:03PM
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Clyde Frog wrote:

That's why you don't play professional hockey, because those that are paid 6+ figures to be physical can't afford to let someone like MacIntyre get in their way.

They simply decline to fight him or turtle and keep on trucking while he is in the penalty box.

We had 520+ man games lost WITH HIM IN THE LINEUP already... There is zero proof he does anything other than put up highlight fights that Hordichuk doesn't do already.

Except that Hordichuk can skate and play the game of hockey.

All the proof I need is looking at the lineup and seeing lots of kids and not much toughness.

Get back to me after the next time someone runs a star and the next shoulder injury occurs.

Until then we can agree to disagree.

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#31 Clyde Frog
January 13 2013, 04:14PM
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@Spydyr

You seem to be ignoring the MacIntyre already failed miserably to lessen our injury load when he was here.

I'm saying pests and physical players will run our young guns whether or not he is sitting on the bench. At least Hordichuk can run their stars in a tit for tat style of play. Why do I say that?

Because that is what happened when he was our tough guy.

What is the definition of insanity? "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"

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#32 Eulers
January 13 2013, 04:19PM
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Did you hear that the Canucks picked up Barker?

You can almost hear the entire Oilers organization praying that Barker plays on Sunday night!

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#33 Spydyr
January 13 2013, 04:27PM
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Well maybe Tambo will go out a fill the role of toughness with a trade or two.Bring in a tough 3-4 d-man and a gritty second line centre.

We all know how easy those guys are to find.

Especially if your nickname is Mr. Dithers.

Really have not liked how easy the team has been and will be to push around the last few years.

Toughness is under rated.Especially in the playoffs.

Just watch the sisters disappear every year.

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#34 vetinari
January 13 2013, 04:32PM
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Take a flyer on both Maroon and Guenin...

Hordichuk and Eager were minor disappointments last year and Maroon has an offensive aspect to his game that neither of the others have and if he learns to get his legs under him, watch out...

Guenin would likely be an upgrade on Peckham and in any event, we need someone to replace Sutton's minutes, so pick him up...

As for McIntyre, he seemed like a good Oiler but having him on your 23 man roster is a waste of space unless you are willing to play him almost every night but he just doesn't have the tools to play defensive hockey on a third or fourth line... I'd rather build team toughness by adding Harti (from the Barons) to the lineup and reading Hordichuk and Eager the riot act before the season starts...

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#35 Mikey
January 13 2013, 04:32PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Ask Hemsky how his shoulders are or Hall his head.

Someone runs a kid.Next shift Mac is out and not taking no for an answer.Screw the instigator penalty.Do that a few times word gets around.

Exactly.

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#36 Tayranchula
January 13 2013, 05:09PM
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Maroon is the only player of intrest on this list for the Oilers. I think he would be an upgrade for Eager.

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#37 ChinookArch
January 13 2013, 05:47PM
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Montreal has just announced that they are buying Scott Gomez out. That should create a buzz around the Nations.

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#38 Oiler Al
January 13 2013, 05:55PM
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In a real word you would want a couple of tough guys on the back end to protect the young guns up front. When they are on the ice guys like Eager and Hordichcuk are riding the pines like Renney did last season. I think with some coaching , Eager who thinks he's Bobby Hall and Hordichuck takes his clown suit off, can be insisted up to play a tougher role , or else see you on the waiver list.A lot of it had to do with Renney last year.

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#39 stevezie
January 13 2013, 06:03PM
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@Spydyr

You're not paying any attention! We had SMac and guys still ran our players. It changed nothing! Boston had Thornton on the bench and Chara and Lucic ON THE ICE and Cooke still ran Savard!

"Get back to me after the next time someone runs a star and the next shoulder injury occurs." It has already happened! We are getting back to you!

Now, that said, I do think toughness has a function. I think it is useful to have a forecheck that intimidates defenceman and defenceman that intimidate forecheckers. This style of play leads to fights. I think it is good for team moral to know that someone has your back should emotions run high- I haven't played much but even I know you feel more free and confident when you're on the tougher team.
Toughness is useful, but it has to be on the ice, not sitting on the bench. And it will not prevent injuries.

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#40 stevezie
January 13 2013, 06:06PM
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And, I will add, you are factually wrong about the Sedins- they are fine in the playoffs. Look at their numbers. What killed them against Boston is their reputation as divers caught up to them and they stopped getting calls. Standing their with a long-suffering look on your face while someone continually punches you in the face is tough.

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#41 Dog Train
January 13 2013, 07:58PM
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Of this list, Maroon and Guenin are somewhat intriguing. Depending on Khabby's status, one of the goaltenders could be an option as well.

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#42 Bonvie
January 13 2013, 08:30PM
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@Spydyr

The thing is the Oilers do have a spot open for an enforcer right now, and if anybody wants to argue that Hordichuk is anything other than that maybe you should watch a few shifts, or take a look at his stats.

MacIntyre is the toughest enforcer in the game by a long shot. If your looking for offence from Mac or some great work on the PP, or PK good luck it is not going to happen. Darcy Hordichuk falls into the same category. The difference is Hordichuk scores about once a year and has a negligible difference in skill level. Steve MacIntyre is not out on the ice for any more goals against than Hordichuk. In fact MacIntyre has a career -3 in Edmonton in about 60 games on teams that were well below the average for plus minus. Hordichuk was -3 last year in 43 games.

The difference between the two is one of them is the toughest guy to play hockey in a long long time, and the other is a guy that is tougher than the average NHLer, but not near the top of the enforcer heap. The guys that say MacIntyre doesn't scare anybody or deter the dirty cheap shots are likely the guys that have never been in a spot where they have to answer the bell wether that be in hockey or otherwise. I myself don't see scoring as an issue for this team there are going to be plenty of goals to come from the top three lines. Just worry about keeping the kids safe and remember Gretzky and the boys on the bus had a freak of nature tough guy like SMAC backing them up.

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#43 Bonvie
January 13 2013, 08:42PM
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@Clyde Frog

Hordichuk scores an average of a goal a year for the last three years, what are you talking about he can skate and play the game of hockey?

I am glad your so impressed with Hordichuk's hockey skills maybe you can be his agent and get him a raise. From where I sit all I see is two enforcers one who is the best at it, and one who loses more than he wins.

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#44 stevezie
January 13 2013, 08:45PM
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@Bonvie

"The guys that say MacIntyre doesn't scare anybody or deter the dirty cheap shots are likely the guys that have never been in a spot where they have to answer the bell wether that be in hockey or otherwise." Explain it to me how we had SMAc and there was no noticable difference in cheapshots. This isn't a hunch, or an ignorant armchair player throwing out an opinion, it's just a factual account of what happened.

I think Sheldon Souray said it best when he said that when the other team has a tough guy it doesn't stop you from doing anything, but it does slow you down. When I play I never don't do or say something because I'm afraid of getting punched, but maybe I don't do it as instinctually. Does this delay translate to less injuries? The evidence says probably not.

You do have a point that the difference in SMac and Hordy's play might not be enough to justify taking the significantly less intimidating guy. I would argue we're better off without them both. I agree a tough team really helps, but you need that toughness on the ice. Look at the behaviour of Cooke, Avery, Ott, Barnaby, Tootoo (whom I like a lot)- the presence of super heavy weights doesn't deter anything. All they do is fight each other. This "take a few instigators and let your repuatation do the rest" is a myth. It just doesn't happen.

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#45 positivebrontefan
January 13 2013, 09:03PM
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Mark-LW wrote:

Mac knows his role, doesn't make him useful.

Mac knows his role and so does every team out there. That's why when he's on the ice no one will engage. Makes him a bench warmer at best and I love the guy.

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#46 Bonvie
January 13 2013, 09:10PM
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@stevezie

It is pretty hard to measure injuries and wether they are impacted by an enforcer or not. Even just providing the boys with the guy on the team that allows them to play bigger. Players like Peckham, Smid, and Eager who can take care of the cheap shots knowing that if an enforcer is sent over the boards that SMAC will also be sent over the boards and the outcome of that confrontation will be a check mark for the Oilers in the momentum side of the game.

I do feel over the long haul we had some good stretches with Big George Laraque, Dave Brown, and Dave Semenko in protecting our skilled players from being run.

It is much easier for me to accept the arguement you make though of not needing an enforcer at all, than it is to listen to people tell me about Darcy Hordichuk's superior hockey skills.

With so much fire power especially in the top two forward lines I don't believe that 4 lines will be rolling very often. At least one of the 4th line players should be a PK specialist.

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#47 Clyde Frog
January 13 2013, 10:29PM
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Bonvie wrote:

Hordichuk scores an average of a goal a year for the last three years, what are you talking about he can skate and play the game of hockey?

I am glad your so impressed with Hordichuk's hockey skills maybe you can be his agent and get him a raise. From where I sit all I see is two enforcers one who is the best at it, and one who loses more than he wins.

Compared to Steve MacIntyre's ability to "get up and down" the ice, he is freaking Pavel Bure.

But I'm not holding Hordichuk up as some great paragon of hockey sense, just saying the guy can put in more than 45 seconds a game without seriously hurting our chances of winning.

An enforcer who can't get off the bench isn't worth the tape on his stick.

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#48 Wax Man Riley
January 13 2013, 10:52PM
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Enforcers are becoming useless in hockey now. Staged fights don't do anything to "protect our young guns," and with the instigator penalty and the focus on star players bein hurt or concussed, having a goon like MacIntyre go out for 2:00 minutes a game just to put you down a 5 minute major just hurts the team.

The enforcer is dead in the NHL. The enforcer is now a player like Lucic that can actually play. Eager could be a very good enforcer if he quit taking stupid penalties.

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#49 Wax Man Riley
January 13 2013, 10:53PM
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Don't forget that MacIntyre was here already and it didn't stop anyone from "taking liberties," and players still were injured . He was also a train wreck defensively, put himself out of position his entire 2 minutes a game, and his offensive game, skills and skating were worse than his defense.

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#50 toprightcorner
January 14 2013, 12:37AM
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Tayranchula wrote:

Maroon is the only player of intrest on this list for the Oilers. I think he would be an upgrade for Eager.

Love to have Maroon, need his size, but he has problems skating that is why those guys play in the AHL. As far as Eager, he doesnt have the same offencive abilities but that guy can skate, wone ot eh top in the league.

If you can score, fight, hit and be a power forward, but you cant skate, those guys stay in the minors.

We should still take a shot at him, if he doesnt work put him back on wavers and if he slipps through he would be awesome on the Barons who need size as well

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