The Edmonton Oilers have already made one trade today and now general manager Peter Chiarelli continues to make roster moves. The Edmonton Oilers announced that they have traded forward Drake Caggiula and veteran defenseman Jason Garrison to the Chicago Blackhawks for defensemen Brandon Manning and Robin Norell.
For Edmonton, the team adds another defense-first defenseman in Manning to their lineup after acquiring Alexander Petrovic from Florida earlier today. Edmonton has lost five straight games and has fallen into sixth place in the Pacific Division and the hope is that adding a more physical and defensive players could help give the team a boost.
Chicago signed Manning to a two-year, $4.5MM deal this offseason, but with a number of young defenseman showing they were ready for the NHL, Manning became expendable. However, his contract and struggles on the ice in Chicago suggested the team wasn’t likely going to be able to sell off Manning. The 28-year-old hasn’t been effective as he has just a goal and three points in 27 games, while maintaining a minus-14 rating and averaging just 15:28 of ATOI, his lowest number since the 2012-13 season. Manning is also well known to Oilers’ fans as he was the player who checked Connor McDavid into the boards, breaking his collarbone in McDavid’s rookie season. McDavid might not be thrilled with the move as rumors are that he was close to Caggiula and the Edmonton star has referred to Manning in the past as “classless.” The Oilers hope that Manning and Petrovic, acquired for Chris Wideman and a third-round pick, will shore up the team’s defense with more defensive-minded players. The team has been without a number of players, but they expect to have Kris Russell back soon, which should bolster the team’s blueline for the remainder of the season. While Petrovic will be an unrestricted free agent next season, Manning still has another year at $2.25MM.
The team also picked up the rights to Norell, who was a fourth-round pick in 2013, but has not been able to break into the NHL. Norell played two full years with the Rockford Ice Hogs in the AHL, but Chicago loaned him to Djurgardens IF of the SHL. The 23-year-old failed to show that he can be a two-way player and is in the final year of his entry-level contract, suggesting the Blackhawks were ready to part ways with the prospect if they were willing to loan him out. Edmonton will have to qualify Norell this offseason as he’ll be a restricted free agent.
Chicago does quite well on their side of the trade as the team was going to have a logjam shortly on defense. With seven players already on the roster, the team is expecting to get back defenseman Brandon Davidson as well as rookie Henri Jokiharju is expected back after the World Junior Championships conclude in a few days. The team now has more flexibility after moving out Manning as Garrison makes the league minimum and should be easy to place on waivers and retain him. Garrison spent most of the 2017-18 season with the Chicago Wolves, assigned there from the Vegas Golden Knights. The 34-year-old Garrison has played 17 games for Edmonton and has a goal and a plus-one rating this season.
Caggiuli, on the other hand, has shown promise as a goal scorer, but has had issues on the defensive end of the ice. Caggulia tallied 13 goals last season with Edmonton and has seven goals and 11 points in 29 games this season. Caggiula was posting impressive ice times before new head coach Ken Hitchcock took over, but has seen his playing time dip quite a bit in the last six games as he’s played less than 10 minutes in four of them. However, he was playing well under former head coach Todd MacLellan, suggesting a change of scenery or coaches could be a positive effect for the team and give Chicago yet another young addition to try to work into their lineup.
Mark Spector of Sportsnet was the first to report the trade.