Beware of lightning in a bottle with unheralded UFAs

BOB STAUFFER

, Last Updated: 7:25 AM ET

For those of you who believe that Edmonton Oilers GM Kevin Lowe should open up the vault to sign unrestricted free agent Curtis Glencross, you need a little history lesson.

Do you remember Brent Grieve or Scott Fraser?

Grieve came to the Oilers from the New York Islanders during the 1993-94 season in a deal for Marc Laforge, and finished the season with a bang, scoring 13 goals in 24 games.

During the 1994 off-season Grieve signed with the Chicago Blackhawks as a free agent and proceeded to play 70 more games in the NHL over three seasons. He scored all of seven goals.

Fraser was signed by the Oilers as a free agent in the summer of 1997 and made the most of a late season audition in 1997-98, scoring 12 goals and 23 points in 29 games.

During the 1998 off-season, Fraser, a career minor leaguer, hit the proverbial home run as he landed a three-year, $4-million dollar deal with the New York Rangers. The Fraser deal turned out to be one of the worst in Rangers' history, and that's saying something given their penchant for throwing around the cash.

After scoring just two goals in 28 games Fraser was demoted to the minors, and the Broadway Blueshirts bought him out at the end of the season. After that 1998-99 season, Fraser would never again play another game in the NHL.

Grieve and Fraser caught lighting in a bottle in their brief stints as Oilers, but then reverted to who they were - marginal NHLers.

Grieve was 24 and Fraser, 25, when they enjoyed short-term success in Edmonton.

Which brings us to the aforementioned Glencross.

A 25-year-old journeyman who was acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets, Glencross made the most of a short stint at the end of the season with the Oilers, scoring nine goals in 26 games.

He provided the team with some energy and grit, but he is at best a fourth-liner on a good team, and a third-liner on a bad team. Remember that this is a guy who couldn't stick as a regular with the Blue Jackets.

With Craig MacTavish's penchant for giving third and fourth-liners significant minutes, an argument can be made that Edmonton is a good fit for Glencross.

It was also quite apparent that the former AJHLer seemed to relish playing in Edmonton late last season.

But, at what cost?

If I'm Kevin Lowe, I have a big case of buyer beware.


Videos

Photos