The first trade, of possibly a few, in the week leading up to the NHL Olympic trade freeze went down this morning as the Edmonton Oilers acquired much needed grit on the back end by acquiring defenseman Mark Fraser from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Going back to Toronto in the deal are Cam Abney, who is currently playing in the ECHL, and Teemu Hartikainen, who is playing in the KHL in Russia.
Fraser, 27, was originally drafted by the New Jersey Devils in 2005. He was traded to the Maple Leafs in February 2012, and became a mainstay on the Toronto blue line last season, appearing in 45 of 48 regular season games. Unfortunately for Fraser, playing time was hard to come by this season in Toronto.
The play of rookie Morgan Reilly in addition to a knee injury cost the Ottawa, Ontario, Canada native is spot in the lineup. Now, he heads to an Edmonton team that can sure use the defensive help after allowing 59 shots on Wednesday night against San Jose.
Fraser will have some familiarity with how things work in Edmonton. His former coach when he was with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL, Dallas Eakins, is now the head coach of the Oilers so the playing style expected of him shouldn’t be anything new.