The Edmonton Oilers have made a few swaps on their roster, recalling Cooper Marody from the minor leagues and activating recently claimed forward Valentin Zykov. To make room, the team has moved Drake Caggiula to injured reserve, and assigned Patrick Russell back to Bakersfield of the AHL.
Most interesting in the bunch is Zykov, who was claimed off waivers from the Carolina Hurricanes at the end of November but hasn’t yet played a game for the organization. The 23-year old forward has some lofty offensive potential as shown by his AHL-leading 33 goals for the Charlotte Checkers last season, but hasn’t been able to fulfill it at the NHL level. That is to say, not on a full-time basis at least. Zykov does have 11 points in 25 career games, which actually comes out to a 36-point full season pace, a total the Oilers would likely take at this point.
Through 28 games, the Oilers sit 14-12-2 on the year and can thank just a handful of players for nearly all of their success. Outside of their three big forwards, Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the rest of the team has been nearly invisible through the first third of the season. Alex Chiasson has been a nice addition with 11 goals, but no other forward even has more than 10 points on the year.
If Zykov can find some of that offensive success he showed at the minor league level, there’s no reason to think the Oilers wouldn’t push him into a full-time, top-six role. The team simply hasn’t gotten enough from the wings this year, and has had trouble finding linemates to skate with McDavid and company. Cagguila, who at times looks like a perfect fit for the top line, has just 10 points in 23 games and is now dealing with a hand injury. You couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to make an impact, one that Marody or Zykov (or both) will need to take advantage of.