Edmonton Oilers waive Ben Eager

Jonathan Willis
March 13 2013 10:40AM

 

The Edmonton Oilers have placed veteran forward Ben Eager on waivers.

Eager is in the second year of a three-year, $3.3 million contract with the Oilers. His actual salary escalates from $1.1 million this season to $1.2 million next year.

Eager has an impressive toolkit - with his size and speed, more than one observer has pictured him as a potential power forward. It's one of the reasons Phoenix made him a first round pick back in 2002. Unfortunately, he hasn't lived up to his potential in Edmonton - at times not offering the physical deterrent the team would have liked to see, at other times simply failing to make an impact as a hockey player.

Certainly his results early in 2013 could have been better. The Oilers have been comically out-shot with Eager on the ice - 39-to-22 in an average hour of 5-on-5 play. 

The addition of Mike Brown - a smaller player who not only fights more frequently but has a better defensive resume than Eager - also undoubtedly played into this decision. Eager had been a healthy scratch since the Oilers' loss against Nashville on March 8, while Brown had averaged more than 10:00 per game in the two contests following it. Also likely playing into the decision has been the play of Magnus Paajarvi, who could be demoted without needing to clear waivers; Paajarvi however has been one of the Oilers' best players in recent games and his demotion would have made the club a worse team. 

In Eager's defence, injury has not been kind to him. He suffered a concussion in his first training camp with the Oilers, courtesy of teammate Kirill Tulupov, and suffered another one this season in a fight against Zack Kassian on opening night against the Canucks. During his time in Edmonton, he simply hasn't had the benefit of starting the season healthy - which might go some way to explaining why he's been so ineffective as an Oiler after some decent fourth-line stints with his previous teams. 

Will he clear waivers? One would imagine, given his career, that some NHL club will be interested in his services - but with the cap falling next year, that extra season on his contract might scare some teams off.

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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#101 Westcoastoil
March 13 2013, 10:46PM
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If Eager clears, and then goes to OKC and get his game sorted/gets healthy. Am I correct thinking he would have to clear re-entry waivers to come back up? If so that seems unfair to any team, that you'd have to risk the player twice.

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#102 Sanaa Montana
March 14 2013, 02:14AM
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Eager was never given a fair chance or used properly.

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#103 The Beaker
March 14 2013, 07:24AM
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Westcoastoil wrote:

If Eager clears, and then goes to OKC and get his game sorted/gets healthy. Am I correct thinking he would have to clear re-entry waivers to come back up? If so that seems unfair to any team, that you'd have to risk the player twice.

Im pretty sure those re-entry waivers were gotten rid of with the new CBA... just entry waivers if bringing in a player who has been playing over in Europe.

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#104 druds
March 14 2013, 09:33AM
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Sanaa Montana wrote:

Eager was never given a fair chance or used properly.

BS.....eager has had loads of chances....this is a great move...he is a waste of a roster spot.

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#105 Aitch
March 14 2013, 10:55AM
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Sanaa Montana wrote:

Eager was never given a fair chance or used properly.

Really? when he was healthy enough to play, he played.

I'm not an Eager basher. I'd see his speed, his checking ability and decent-enough hands and think this guy is about to turn it around. He wouldn't be the first power forward to suddenly start scoring later than the typical offensive player. But he's never put it all together. He's Dewalt quality tools in a Jobmate toolbox.

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