Oilers Add Sorely Needed Grit in Mike Brown Trade

It was pretty obvious that Edmonton was lacking heart in their losses to St. Louis and Minnesota. Only four times in franchise history did the Oilers fail to register a shot on net in a period of play. Sundays loss to the Wild made for five.

For most teams, when they lack that level of compete, teams call upon that one player who will make an attempt to jump start play with a big hit, a fight or a gritty shift. Edmonton didn't have that player, so they took steps to rectify the situation.

Enter Mike Brown, a character player for the Leafs who was on the wrong end of a numbers game. Toronto had an over abundance of tough guys, so Brown, who is third in the NHL in penalty minutes and not shy about dropping the mitts with anyone, became an Oiler for a conditional fourth round draft pick.

Leafs fans and players took to Twitter with a myriad of emotion. From disappointment that Brown was leaving to well wishes, it was clear the Leafs thought they were losing someone truly meaningful to their team. This is the type of player Edmonton needs and according to manager Steve Tambellini, someone Edmonton has had their eye on for a while.

Brown coming in creates a few questions on the current Oilers roster. Who goes down to make room for the grit? Paajarvi has had strong performances despite being a healthy scratch. His numbers and eligibility to go down to Oklahoma make him the odds on favorite. Petrell has had a rough go and while he's useful on the penalty kill, Brown is known widely for his ability to not only fight, but be reliable when a man down.

The question becomes, how willing will coach Ralph Krueger be to play him? Krueger has been reluctant to play toughness for the sake of playing a tough guy. Thankfully, and for Brown sake who has been a scratch in some of Toronto's games, Krueger was more upset in the Oilers last contest than at any other time in the season.

This may be the opportunity Mike Brown needs to make an impact and impact is exactly why Edmonton wanted him in the first place.


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