Roy looking for fresh start

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI

, Last Updated: 8:54 AM ET

Mathieu Roy is tired of not being an Oiler, so he no longer wants to be an Oiler.

After too many failed attempts to stay with the big club, the hard-luck defenceman said yesterday he wants out of the organization. Period.

"I'm totally disappointed, but there's not much I can do," said Roy, who was placed on waivers yesterday for the purpose of being assigned to Springfield.

He's crossing his fingers that another NHL team claims him and his Oiler frustrations are over, but he knows it isn't likely now that all clubs have already settled on their 23-man rosters.

"I've been hoping to get picked every time I've been put on waivers. I've been hoping to get a chance to play and stay healthy," he said.

A series of inopportune injuries, from neck to concussion to shoulder, kept Roy from carving out a spot on the big team over the last few years. He managed only 30 NHL games over the last three seasons.

And now, with one of the deepest defence corps the Oilers have ever boasted, there just wasn't a spot for him in Edmonton's top seven.

"It's hard to overcome," he said. "I get a chance to do something and something (bad) happens to me. It delays my progression to be able to step in and stay in. It's painful, but I have to live with it. It's not the first time (an AHL demotion) happened to me.

"(A new team) might be a good thing ... but it's hard at this stage of the season to get picked up. If I'm going down, I'll go down and play hard and see what happens after that."

Oilers GM Steve Tambellini says the club is torn between what's best for them (having a good defenceman ready in case of injury) and what's best for a really good guy who desperately wants to be in the NHL.

"There's part of us that hopes he'll be claimed, for himself, and the other part is we'd like to be able to keep him as depth," he said.

"Mathieu has shown good qualities in his game. He's competitive, he's a great teammate, he sticks up for his teammates, but the fact is we have a lot of depth here right now on our defence."

Head coach Craig MacTavish doubts that Roy will get his wish today.

"He battles hard," said the coach. "I'd like to see him stay in the NHL, for him. It would be good. But it's unusual that people get picked up at this time of year."

The only positive for Roy is that he'll be making one-way money in Springfield. The Oilers will have to pay him his NHL salary of $500,000.

In a paper transaction necessary to satisfy the CBA, the Oilers had to put Roy on the 23-man roster in order to waive him.

So, to free up space on the roster, they had to assign Ladislav Smid to Springfield for the 24 hours it takes Roy to clear or be claimed.

Smid won't actually report to Springfield, but because he's not on the official roster he couldn't even practice with the team yesterday in Jasper.


Videos

Photos