McKenzie weighs in on Oilers’ weekend trades

Peter Chiarelli wove a few more deals into the tapestry that will be his legacy as Oilers general manager.

Sunday saw Chiarelli ship Chris Wideman and a 2019 third-round pick to the Florida Panthers for Alex Petrovic, then followed up by sending Drake Caggiula and Jason Garrison to the Chicago Blackhawks for Brandon Manning and Robin Norell.

Bob McKenzie had his weekly Monday morning radio hit on Edmonton’s TSN 1260 and, not surprisingly, was immediately asked for his take on the deals.

“Well, it’s pretty obvious that the initial Ken Hitchcock bump - and I don’t know how much of it was a Ken Hitchcock bump and how much it was Koskinen playing as well as he did for a period of time - but in any case, whatever benefits they got from changing the coach in terms of the results have started to dissipate, and they’re starting to slide back to where they were,” began McKenzie.

“And I think everybody in Edmonton understands and recognizes that the Oilers, they need to make the playoffs, there’s pressure on them to do that. And so the general manager is obviously trying to make some moves to bolster/upgrade/reconstitute - call it whatever you want - the blueline.

“The problem you run into is that it’s not easy making these deals under duress. And the duress I mean is trying to make the playoffs, and there not being a lot of really available options that are going to dramatically change the way you’re going to go. So what you do is you try to shuffle the deck a little bit.

“Alex Petrovic is a guy in Florida who got some notoriety because way back when, the Panthers decided they wanted to protect him and ended up giving up Marchessault and Smith in the expansion draft, ostensibly, in order to protect him. And obviously that doesn’t wear well over the period of time.

“But Petrovic is a defensive defenseman, which automatically in today’s game you don’t get as much recognition for playing that style of game anymore; but some would suggest that’s kind of also what the Oilers need. So we’ll give him an opportunity to see what’ll happen there.

“Giving up Wideman I didn’t think was a big deal because they kind of got him on a wing and a prayer from Ottawa for a late-round pick. So they were giving up a future consideration mostly in the third-round pick for Petrovic. I think it’s well-worth the roll of the dice to see what they can get from him, and see if he can help in that regard.

“The one that I look at and might give me a little more pause for concern is basically the Caggiula for Manning deal because I think Caggiula is a player who could still be really valuable to the Oilers. Listen, I know Caggiula has not been consistent, at all, and they certainly need some consistency; but they also need scoring on the wings. I don’t know that Manning necessarily is the answer on defense, and they give up a young forward that does have the ability to score when he’s on his game. That one’s a far riskier deal that remains to be seen.

“But we’ll let it play out and see if the Oil and Ken Hitchcock can get more done with Petrovic and Manning on the blueline than with what they’ve got now, albeit they’ve had to deal with the whole injury bug again. But nevertheless, we’ll give it an opportunity and see what happens.

“It’s not an easy time to be dealing when your team is not playing well, and there’s not as many fish in the sea - if you want to call it that - in terms of the deals that might be out there.”

Petrovic is on a one-year, $1.95 million contract, and can become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Manning is in the first season of a two-year, $4.5 million pact.

Contract-related info via CapFriendly