Steady Staios suited for a playoff team
Dan Barnes, edmontonjournal.com
As auditions go, this is surely an odd and uncomfortable one for Edmonton Oilers defenceman Steve Staios.
He prefers not to discuss it in detail, even though the potential for a change of address looms large enough that he cannot possibly miss or ignore the signs.
When the Oilers try to sell off veteran assets for draft picks later this season — and, rest assured, attempts will be made — Staios will be among those shopped around. Not because he’s had a terrible campaign.
Quite the opposite, actually.
He shook off the effects of an early-season concussion and put together a pretty solid 27 games before meeting the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday, with a team-leading 66 blocked shots and six assists, while averaging 19:28 in playing time per night.
At the age of 36, those are decent numbers for a defensive blue-liner.
Yes, he was as culpable as any other Oiler during the seven-game losing skid, going minus-six over that span, and it definitely ate away at him.
But he may well find himself somewhere else this spring for two reasons: the Oilers need the salary cap and roster space to significantly change their look for the future, and there is a market
for his ilk at the National Hockey League trade deadline.
So, while he strapped on the skates against Toronto with the intention of trying to win a hockey game for the Oilers, just as he does each night, the Hamilton native is essentially showcasing his simple, gritty game for a playoff-bound team that needs depth on defence and can absorb his rather hefty cap hit of $2.7 million US for another season.