Oilers continue to shake up roster; add Fraser from Leafs
It seems like Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish is starting to put the wheels in motion to rebuilding this once proud franchise; today he took a small step in the right direction, acquiring veteran defenseman Mark Fraser from the Toronto Maple Leafs, reuniting the 27-year old Ottawa native with his former Toronto Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins.
A former third round pick of the New Jersey Devils, Fraser spent his first 6 seasons within the Devils organization before being traded, along with Rod Pelley to the Anaheim Ducks for defenseman Kurtis Foster and goaltender Timo Pielmeier before being traded the next season to Toronto for Dale Mitchell. The former Kitchener Rangers alumni has registered just one assist in 19 games this season for the Leafs, but has been sidelined with injuries and has been a healthy scratch for 19 of the Leaf’s past 20 games.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 31, 2014
In return, the Leafs receive the rights to KHL prospect and former Oklahoma City Barons winger Teemu Hartikainen and Cameron Abney. Hartikainen spent 52 games between three seasons with the Oilers registering 13 points. The Kuopio, Finland native spent three seasons with the Barons, registering no less than 32 points in those three years. Hartikainen is spending the ’13-’14 season with Salavat Ufa in the KHL, registering 27 points in 43 games. Abney, a teammate of Hartikainen’s in OKC, is on his way to the Toronto system after spending four seasons bouncing between the AHL and ECHL. The Everette Silvertips/Edmonton Oil Kings alumni was a member of the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL, registering five points in 24 games. Known more for his fists, Abney registered 132 penalty minutes during the 2011-2012 season with the Stockton Thunder.
So what does this trade all mean? For Toronto, they add forward depth, grit, and a touch of scoring with Hartikainen, and get an extra pair of fists in Abney, who will more than likely report to the Orlando Solar Bears. The Oilers get an extra defenseman, and fill a hole that desperately needed filled after Ben Scrivens’ 59 saves against San Jose. Yes it was a shutout, but still 59 saves?!?!?! That’s way too much! For Fraser, he gets an opportunity to play more than the 19 games he’s played this season. He’ll bring a physical presence that will hopefully create more turnovers, but most importantly for Fraser, he reunites with his former coach Dallas Eakins, a man who knows him well and will use him to the best of his abilities.
“I am very excited. I think that was definitely one of the most positive parts for me is that I’ll get to play for a coach who I’ve shared a lot of great experiences with just only a couple of years ago. I often credit Dallas a lot, he was very instrumental in turning me around at a low point in my career when the Toronto Marlies acquired me and Dallas, almost single-handedly, re-instilled the confidence back in me. He helped me play the way I thought I could play and get back to where I’ve (been).”
Defenseman Mark Fraser on working with Dallas Eakins