The Edmonton Oilers have snatched some offensive potential from the Carolina Hurricanes, claiming recently waived forward Valentin Zykov according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet. Scott Darling meanwhile has cleared and has been immediately assigned to the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL.
Zykov, 23, will immediately bring some offensive upside to an Oilers team that has been desperately searching for some secondary scoring. Edmonton only has four forwards with more than 10 points on the season, and one of them is Alex Chiasson who is sporting an incredible 35.5% shooting percentage. The quartet of Milan Lucic, Tobias Rieder, Jujhar Khaira and Kyle Broziak have combined for exactly three goals this season, an unacceptable number even in limited minutes.
If there’s one thing that Zykov has proven he’s capable of at the minor league level it’s score, as he led the AHL with 33 goals last season. Unfortunately that production hasn’t yet carried over the NHL, but he’ll likely be given the best opportunity of his career in Edmonton. That opportunity does come with some cost for the Oilers though, as Zykov is already signed to a one-way contract through next season. His cap hit is obviously manageable at $675K, but he’ll take up a precious contract slot for the time being.
For Darling, there was little chance of claim given his expensive contract. His career hinges right now on whether he can get back on his feet at the minor league level, and show that he is able to at least serve as a backup in the NHL. The Hurricanes would likely retain some salary to get him off the books, unless they believe he can find the same level of production that earned him his current four-year deal in the first place.