The Edmonton Oilers announced Sunday afternoon that forward Leon Draisaitl has been returned to the Western Hockey League.
They took him with the third overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and the Oilers had hoped that he would be able to serve as their second-line center this season, in part due to how thin they are up the middle. Draisaitl ended up scoring two goals and nine points in 37 contests. He also won just 40.6% of his draws and ranked near the bottom of the team with a minus-17 rating.
By allowing him to play in at least 10 games, this will still count as the first season of Draisaitl’s entry-level contract. However, he would have been eligible to become an unrestricted free agent a year earlier had he reached the 40-contest mark.
With their hopes of making the playoffs a distant memory, the Oilers have been making changes lately. GM Craig MacTavish has fired head coach Dallas Eakins, claimed Matt Fraser off of waivers, acquired Derek Roy from the Nashville Predators in exchange for Mark Arcobello, and shipped David Perron to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Rob Klinkhammer and a 2015 first-round pick.
Edmonton will play against the New York Islanders at 9:30 p.m. ET tonight.
Todd Nelson will look to steer the Oilers in the right direction as he takes over as head coach tonight when Edmonton plays host to the L.A. Kings.
Nelson had been working alongside general manager Craig MacTavish since the Dec. 15 firing of Dallas Eakins.
Since MacTavish took over, the Oilers have gone 0-3-2 and have not won in nine games overall.
Edmonton will have a couple new faces on the ice as well. Newly acquired forwards Derek Roy and Matt Fraser are expected to be in the lineup against the Kings.
Fraser, 24, was plucked off waivers by the Oilers from the Bruins on Monday. In 24 games this season, the Red Deer, Alberta native has three goals and seven penalty minutes to go along with a minus-5 rating.
Fraser skated on the right side of Leon Draisaitl and David Perron at the team’s morning skate.
Roy, who was acquired by Edmonton from Nashville in exchange for Mark Arcobello on Monday, skated between Nail Yakupov and Teddy Purcell.
The 31-year-old had a goal and nine helpers in 26 games with the Predators this season.
Both players are on expiring contracts.
Rather than claiming him on waivers, the Edmonton Oilers decided to trade for Derek Roy instead, sending Mark Arcobello to the Nashville Predators on Monday.
At first, it seems odd to do it this way, but there are a few reasons:
Roy, 31, carries a $1 million salary and is set to be a UFA after the 2014-15 season. He’s managed 10 points in 26 games in 2014-15, although he failed to score a point (or even register a shot on goal) in the last six contests. His possession stats are pretty unremarkable considering extremely cushy zone starts. As you likely know, Roy enjoyed some impressive peak years with the Buffalo Sabres, though those memories are starting to feel pretty distant.
Arcobello, 26, makes $600K this season. He’ll be a restricted free agent this summer. Arcobello has 12 points in 36 games so far and 78 games of NHL experience under his belt.