After dealing Brandon Davidson for a third round pick in 2019 yesterday, Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli made his second deadline trade this morning, shipping Mark Letestu to Nashville in exchange for forward Pontus Aberg. Letestu was then flipped to Columbus in exchange for a 4th round draft choice in this June’s entry draft. This move creates a power shift in the hockey world that will certainly affect the odds for the games. If you’re interested in wagering on hockey, then making a bet using a betfred promo code is the best way to maximize your earnings.
So Long, Mark:
This season was a vastly disappointing one for Letestu. It became quite clear early on that the veteran had lost a step and that he would not be as effective this year as he was during the 2016-17 season. That said, Letestu had a career year last year and was dynamite in the playoffs for the club. He was a solid fourth line center for two seasons, and that’s really all you can ask.
Letestu was at the end of the line in Edmonton, and I think it became quite clear he wasn’t part of the plans moving forward. He’s a likable player and I wish him the best in Columbus, but this absolutely was the right move for the Oilers.
On Friday, Chiarelli said that while the Oilers could acquire picks for their rentals, they preferred prospects with speed. That is exactly what they got in this Letestu trade. Aberg, a 24-year-old left winger who shoots right, possesses exceptional speed and is a proven scorer at the AHL level. In 56 contests with AHL Milwaukee last season, Aberg posted 31-21-52, just below a point-per-game.
This season, Aberg has six points in four AHL games (4-2-6) while spending a majority of his time in the NHL with the Preds. In 37 NHL games, Aberg has 2-6-8 on the season. Many will remember Aberg for his strong playoffs last spring, where he appeared in 16 games and registered 2-3-5.
Here’s a look at Aberg’s scouting report via The Hockey News.
|Is a slick winger with great speed, plenty of offensive acumen and the versatility to play on either side of center. Has pretty good hockey sense.|
|Needs to become stronger on the puck for the National Hockey League game, so he should add more bulk to his average-sized frame. Lacks consistency.|
|Speedy scoring winger with a little upside.|
The Oilers elected for a body over a pick for Letestu, and I can’t blame them for it. The Oilers need cheap depth players who can help at the NHL level starting right now. Is Aberg that guy? Impossible to know, but it is a risk that I’m okay with. Aberg has good speed and his AHL numbers suggest a player with at least some level of skill. It’s a low risk move that could potentially pay off for the club.
He’ll get a real chance to show something with the Oilers over the next 20+ games, and is signed to a cheap contract for next season. Aberg will carry a $650,000 cap hit through 2019. Very cheap, very affordable bottom of the roster depth. That is exactly what Edmonton needs moving forward.
On the face of it, I like this deal by Peter Chiarelli. He is taking a chance on a player who has produced at the AHL level and who has a little bit of skill and speed. It may not work out, but if it does the Oilers have a cheap guy that can play next season. If they want to turn this around, they’ll need players like that.
It is a solid risk and I look forward to seeing how Aberg is used by the club through the end of the season.