Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland has been facing some criticisms from his own fan base, and perhaps unfairly so in many cases, due in large part to his failure to fill certain holes in the Oilers lineup thus far in the offseason. In defense of Holland here he has been saddled with some bad contracts including dead cap space being used up by former Oilers Benoit Pouliot and Andrej Sekera, both who were bought out of their contracts and as well in the form of $750,000 on Milan Lucic's contract which was part of the trade deal that sent Lucic to the Calgary Flames.
Some of the criticism however has also stemmed from a seemingly strange desire to bring in players from his former Red Wings team, players like defenseman Mike Green and forward Andreas Athanasiou, even when the moves on the surface don't seem to make a ton of sense for the Oilers, especially not in the long term. That's why a column from the Edmonton Journal over the weekend caught my eye, one in which Edmonton Oilers reporter Kurt Leavins suggests that the Oilers may once again have a Red Wing in their sights.
The aforementioned Mike Green is extremely unlikely to return to Edmonton next season, there has been talk of retirement, and that combined with the departure of Matt Benning has left the Oilers with a need for depth when it comes to right handed shooting defensemen, one that Leavins believes they can fill with the scraps left over on the Red Wings table. Again why you would look to poach players from one of the worst teams in the league is something of a mystery to me, but Leavins suggests that the unrestricted free agent Madison Bowey could be a target for Ken Holland.
Bowey was of course a member of the Detroit Red Wings organization but given that the team failed to extend him a qualifying offer he is now free to sign where he pleases. Now despite not qualifying Bowey the Red Wings could still re-sign him at a lower number, but the fact that they would let the former Capitals 2nd round selection (53rd overall) at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft walk scott free tells me they don't see a ton of value in keeping him around. When you consider just how bad the Red Wings were last season that is a pretty telling move on the part of Steve Yzerman. To be fair to Bowey the addition of Troy Stecher no doubt played a role in the Red Wings decision to move on and although he shoots left Marc Staal has also been brought in and now provides the Red Wings with an additional option on the blue line as well.
The biggest knock against Bowey has been both his lack of consistency on the ice as well as his struggles in his own end. Red Wing fans who watched him closely last season often found themselves with their face in their hands after seeing Bowey blow another obvious assignment in his own end, errors that often led to goals for the opposition. Perhaps fans in Edmonton will get to enjoy a similar experience come next season if Leavins is right about this prediction.
Update: David Staples is now saying the Oilers are "likely" to sign Bowey, sounds like there may be something to this.