There may have been an intriguing opportunity arose on Tuesday afternoon. The stumbling Edmonton Oilers placed their high-priced goaltender, Jack Campbell, on waivers amid the team’s continued struggles. Perhaps the Detroit Red Wings may have found a trade partner? I heard the two general managers know each other fairly well.
While some fans will snicker at another team’s downfall but, when it comes to the Oilers, it’s becoming far worse than a snicker; this is becoming painful. Imagine having arguably the best forward duo in the league but wasting them because you can’t seem to surround them with any type of consistent supporting cast. The Oilers are currently 2-8-1 on the season, just ahead of the 0-10-1 Sharks in the Pacific Division.
Oh, how the salary cap can bite you in the you know what. That makes me appreciate Yzerman so much. He can sometimes be ruthless and stubborn, but he will never waiver from his plan. Sure, the Detroit Red Wings are not fortunate enough to have Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl. Still, if they did, I am confident Yzerman would complete the rest of the puzzle and make the team a consistent contender as he did in Tampa Bay with Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Nonetheless, there could be an opportunity here for Yzerman and the Detroit Red Wings to obtain some future equity.
The Detroit Red Wings have carried three goaltenders on their active roster all season long, knowing that they’d likely lose Alex Lyon for nothing if they were to place him on waivers in hopes of getting him to Grand Rapids. Yzerman signed James Reimer and Lyon this off-season to backup starter Ville Husso. While Husso has been hot and cold to begin the year, Reimer has performed at an elite level in his limited action, so much so head coach Derek Lalonde hasn’t found any playing time for Lyon.
This summer, Detroit definitely hoped to start Lyon in Grand Rapids, where he’d be tasked with mentioning top prospect Sebastian Cossa. With all of the injuries early on in the season and the lack of goaltending depth across the NHL, it quickly became evident that if the Red Wings were to place Lyon on waivers, he’d be claimed and lost for nothing. And it also wasn’t just the fact that he’d likely be claimed; the prime landing spot looked as though it would be a division rival in Tampa Bay, with Vasilevskiy expected to miss an extended amount of time to begin the year.
Lyon, 30, had been a pivotal part of Florida’s success last season. He became the starter down the home stretch of the regular season and started the playoffs for the organization before giving way to Sergei Bobrovsky. Lyon started 14 games last season for the Panthers, going 9-4-2 with a save percentage of .912 and a 2.89 goals-against average. It’s getting to the point where just having Lyon in the pressbox isn’t fair to him. If he’s not playing in a regular rotation, it won’t be easy to remain sharp and focused.
With James Reimer excelling in his role, the Detroit Red Wings may feel comfortable moving on from Lyon, which will also grant him the opportunity to be a no. 2 elsewhere; in turn, perhaps Yzerman can wring a mid-round pick out of Ken Holland in next years draft. The Oilers are up against the cap, so maybe Yzerman could take on a bad salary for the remainder of this season and improve the draft pick compensation. Lyon only carries a $900,000 cap hit, and once Campbell clears waivers, the Oilers will have enough room to make a deal work.
The Oilers are expected to recall former Red Wing Calvin Pickard to backup Stuart Skinner. Edmonton also has prospect Olivier Rodrigue, who they spent a second-round draft pick on in the AHL. Rodrigue, 23, may get an opportunity sooner than later, but if Holland is looking for an immediate upgrade and someone with experience to take some pressure off Skinner, Lyon wouldn’t be a bad choice.