Edmonton Oilers waive Colton Sceviour to make way for Evander Kane

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Once the signature of Evander Kane became official, it was clear the Edmonton Oilers would have to make another roster change to ease the newcomer’s addition to the roster.

On Friday, the club announced not one move, but two:

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Guillaume Lagesson was activated for Thursday night’s 3-2 win over Nashville but now finds himself on the taxi team. Which, on its own, would be enough to add Kane to the roster on a 15F/6D/2G split. It would necessarily be a short-term arrangement; running a roster with the minimum of 6 defenders is a bit risky, even with an extra in the taxi squad. Very possible that Tyson Barrie is about to be activated from injured reserve, which he was placed on (retroactively) on Thursday to make way for Lagesson’s temporary insertion into the lineup.

The Oilers therefore took steps to make room up front for Kane, where the forward’s placement Colton Sceviour on the waiver wire is something of a slight surprise. Sceviour has been a regular on the fourth line, playing 30 games in all, including the last 24 in a row.

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Signed to a one-year, two-part minimum contract in the NHL after a successful pro trial in training camp, the player delivered more or less as advertised: low-impact 2-3-5 wagons, -3 in 10 minutes per night of heavy work. His role was mainly defensive with almost twice as many starts in the defensive zone as the offense, mainly on the right wing but with a few stints in the middle when the need arose. He also served in the top four in the penalty unit.

His most common linemates – by order of YOU, Derek Ryan, Tyler Benson, Devin Shore, Warren Foegele, Brendan Perlini, Kyle Turris – tells the story of a player who was firmly lodged in the last six. By all appearances, the 32-year-old veteran who played 530 NHL games was a low-maintenance “just happy to be here” guy with limited skills but an impeccable work rate. Such a player with such a contract could prove attractive to another NHL team with injury and/or depth issues, so don’t be too surprised if he’s claimed at noon MST Saturday.

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The most obvious choice in some ways would have been one of the extra forwards from last night, Brendan Perlini and Tyler Benson . The Oilers already waived Perlini earlier in the season and might have been able to simply reassign him to the taxi team had they played things a little differently after his recall from the AHL in mid- December; however, he remained on the active roster throughout the two lengthy COVID delays, so his 30-day exemption ran its course.

For his part, Benson has been on the roster all season, playing about half the games. In his fourth professional season, but the first without a waiver exemption, Benson has been ‘played slow’, but as today’s decision suggests, there is no indication the Oilers are about to give up the former second-round pick. But the 23-year-old certainly finds himself deep in a roster suddenly full of left wingers.

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With Kane clearly destined for the top six, it will indeed be interesting to see who Dave Tippett moves into the line-up. Thursday night’s game has already seen Zach Hyman play what I believe was his first game of the season on a clearly identified third line, and given that Kane plays in the same position, he could stay put for now. With Kane, Hyman and Warren Foegele available on the left wing, Tippett could decide to change Ryan Nugent Hopkins at 3C. Either way, the Oilers are suddenly much closer to being able to run a true Top Nine rather than the Top Six/Bottom Six dichotomy that has been the norm on this team for a few years now.

Consider that last Saturday the Hockey Night in Canada the Oilers ran an LW crew from Foegele, Devin Shore Perlini and Benson, while tomorrow the HNiC they could lead Kane, RNH, Hyman and Foegele. Most likely, one of these players will line up at a different position, whether it’s RNH in the center or Hyman on his natural right wing.

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As for Sceviour’s place on the fourth line, the main candidates in the current line-up include an established third-line pair in veteran RW Zack Kassian or young Ryan McLeod who is among several Oiler forwards capable of playing center or wing.

One thing is certain, Tippett is suddenly loaded with options and it will be interesting to see how the bench boss chooses to play him.

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