Desharnais hasn’t had the greatest year this season, but he is what the Oilers were in need of. Edmonton has been forced to play center Leon Draisaitl on the top line right wing due to his chemistry with captain Connor McDavid.
David Desharnais, Newest Oiler
Draisaitl’s deployment has led the Oilers to employ Drake Caggiula as the third line center, something which has been too hard to hack for the natural rookie winger.
Mark Letestu is a solid power play specialist, but he is better-suited playing on the fourth line with Zack Kassian and Matt Hendricks or Jujhar Khaira. Letestu can move up and down the lineup, but the depth at center is the most important factor in this deal.
The Oilers are the worst faceoff team in the league, with only Letestu eclipsing the 50 percent mark with a 50.3 percent winning percentage. Draisaitl (48.6), Nugent-Hopkins (44.1), McDavid (43.8) and Caggiula (38.8) haven’t done much to inspire confidence in the circle.
Desharnais is only winning draws at a 47.8 percent rate this season. He was 47.8 in 2015-16 and 52.9 in 2014-15.
A Just Move
Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli claims to know the player very well from his time working in the Ottawa Senators organization and during his tenure as GM of the Boston Bruins. Chiarelli believes Desharnais will give his head coach Todd McLellan options with the forward group.
The cost to bring in Desharnais was a good young defenceman in Brandon Davidson. Davidson was a revelation last season but an early season injury slowed his game down a bit this year.
The Oilers were expecting to lose Brandon Davidson in the expansion draft, and considering Davidson is their 8th d-man, the Oilers felt comfortable moving Davidson to add some depth down the middle up front.