When the 2016-2017 National Hockey League season came to an end there was a ton of optimism in Edmonton about the future of the Oilers franchise and the direction it was headed in largely off the back of Oilers superstar Connor McDavid. One year later however and that optimism has quickly turned to despair after a terrible performance from the Oilers in the 2017-2018 National Hockey League regular season, finishing with one of the words records in the entire league despite a 108 points performance from the aforementioned McDavid.
There should be no question that changes are needed in the Oilers organization but based on what we have learned so far the Oilers will be largely maintaining the status quo both in their front office and their coaching staff, with one minor exception. That would then lead you to believe that if changes are indeed going to be made this summer it will come in the form of personnel on the Oilers roster.
We've already heard the rumors of a potential trade involving Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom and general manager Peter Chiarelli has hinted at the fact that he will look to trade his first round pick in the 2018 National Hockey League Entry Draft in order to secure himself some more immediate help on his roster, but there's also free agency to consider. The Oilers aren't likely to pull off any blockbuster moves in that regard but one Oilers insider has suggested a very interesting pick up that Chiarelli and the Oilers could make this summer.
Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal has suggested that the Oilers could look in to bring NHL enforcer, or perhaps agitator is the better word in this case, Antoine Roussel. Roussel is still technically under contract with the Dallas Stars but unless he signs a contract extension in the next few weeks he will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. Matheson believes that not only would Roussel be a good fit on the Oilers roster but that this may also be a good time to get him at a low number.
"If theOilers are looking for a role player on July 1 and the price is right, how can they go wrong on Dallas left winger Antoine Roussel, 10 pts in 16 career games against Oilers and has always been pain in the butt to play against. He's coming off poor year and they might get him cheap."
It's an interesting suggestion by Matheson but it's one that wouldn't come without some risk associated with it. Roussel is largely reviled around the league and while that can be a very good tool for your team to utilize it's also one that can impact the existing chemistry in your locker room. Not to mention the fact that it can often bring extra scrutiny on your team from the National Hockey League's officiating crews, something the Bruins felt they were victims of due to the antics of a similar type of agitator, although admittedly a much more skilled one, in Bruins forward Brad Marchand.
Should the Oilers take the risk and get a player like Roussel on their roster?
Photo Credit: Keystone Press