Today the Edmonton Oilers began the rebuilding roster wise. They have made many moves in the front office and coaching wise, but had yet to make a trade or buyout. The NHL draft is tomorrow night in L.A., and the Oilers know that moves will have to be made. They started out making a small trade late last night, but it comes as no surprise. Oilers GM Steve Tambellini said he wanted to make the third and fourth lines better and he has started doing that with this deal.
The Oilers trade a sixth round draft pick (151st overall) to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for center Colin Fraser. Fraser is 6'1'' 190 lbs and played in 70 games this past season for the Hawks, he also played in three playoff games. During the regular season, Fraser scored seven goals, adding 12 assists for a total of 19 points in the regular season. He failed to register a point during the NHL playoff games he played in.
The most important stat for the Oilers here is Fraser's face-off percentage. Why? It has been an area of need for the Oilers for a few seasons, and is something that must be addressed by next season. Fraser was 48.8 percent in the face-off circle last season, and is a big body that the Oilers welcome to the lineup for next season. Fraser is also a good PKer and a great role player; the only really issue with him is that he takes some dumb calls from time to time. Fraser was also said to be a good guy in the locker room when in Chicago.
Fraser will be an RFA on July 1, and the Oilers must tender him a minimum of 735K to retain his rights. I fully expect the Oilers to do so very soon. Fraser is also just 25 years old so he fits in with the rebuild. This is the type of move that isn't going to be a headline on TSN, but it could be a trade that has a huge impact for the Oilers down the road when trying to fix the PK and face-off problems.
This appears to be the first of many moves the Oilers make this offseason, so stay tuned for more trades in the next 48 hours. The draft is tomorrow night, and that's when I expect most of the trades to go down.