The Edmonton Oilers added some grit on defense Friday, acquiring Leafs rearguard Mark Fraser in exchange for Cam Abney (currently in the ECHL) and Teemu Hartikainen (currently in the KHL).
Fraser, 27, was an original Devils draftee that signed with Toronto as a depth defenseman last season and surprised, appearing in 45 of 48 regular season contests and four of seven playoff games. He averaged nearly 17 minutes a night during the regular season and notched a career-high eight points, but struggled to maintain his position on the club this year thanks to a knee injury and the ascension of rookie Morgan Rielly.
For the Leafs, the trade amounts to giving Fraser a fresh start elsewhere — he only appeared in 19 games this season — getting his $600,000 cap hit off the books and possibly developing something in either Abner or Hartikainen.
Hartikainen, 23, has 13 points in 52 career NHL contests but left the Oilers last season to try his hand in the KHL. Abney, 22, was Edmonton’s third-round pick at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, but has spent the majority of his pro career in the East Coast league.
It’s worth noting that Fraser is yet another ex-Marlie acquired by Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins. Others include Ben Scrivens, Ryan Hamilton and Will Acton.
As for Oilers GM Craig MacTavish, give him credit — while his moves might not be “bold,” they have been aplenty:
MacTavish also dealt Linus Omark and Jason LaBarbera away for late-round draft picks.