Rattie's New Deal Has Potential
The Oilers have been relatively quiet this past week with their activity. The only real update is that the team signed forward Ty Rattie to a 1 year $800,000 one-way deal. The Oiler forward played 14 games with the big club, being elevated to the top line almost immediately.
Rattie scored 5-4-9 in 14 games with Edmonton as well as 21-22-43 in 53GP with Bakersfield. In the AHL, Rattie had resurrected his scoring touch and was hands down their top offensive player. He finished 3 points back of their scoring lead with 15 fewer games played than Josh Currie who beat him. Even missing those 15 games, he was still their top goal scorer.
Ty Rattie a year ago was a broken player. He played in 22 AHL games during the 2016-2017 campaign but he picked up just 5 points. He had cups of coffee with the Blues and Hurricanes but wasn’t any better there either. It looked like he was headed for the end of his professional career, but the Oilers gave him an opportunity to re-start.
The 14 games he played with Edmonton, all of them after February 25th, are the most he’s ever played in 1 NHL season. It’s hard to imagine that this is all the 25 year old has been able to do considering that at one time he was one of the most anticipated prospects in the Blues system. After that 121 point season with the Portland Winterhawks and his 31 goal debut with the Blues AHL affiliate, the young right winger seemed on his way to a productive professional career. It didn’t work out that way.
Rattie sputtered and regressed and was eventually lost on the waiver wire, only to be picked right back up on the waiver wire a month later. He was an unwanted commodity on the NHL market. The Oilers gave Rattie a chance but they made him work for it in the AHL. He didn’t get a sniff of NHL action until the majority of the season was through.
However, when he did get his chance, it was the one every player dreams about. He got to line up with Connor McDavid on the top line of an NHL team. If you’re an offensive player trying to break into the NHL, there is no better gift than minutes with McDavid.
To his credit, Rattie did his part. In points per game, Rattie was 4th on the Oilers with 0.64 per game. That’s not exactly surprising given that he arrived on the top line when McDavid went supernova to overtake the lead in NHL scoring. Still, Rattie found himself a role on McDavid’s line. Frankly, it was a perfect opportunity – the kind that do not present themselves in life very often.
The Oilers were motivated to make McDavid’s regular RW a Center on his own line and moved the regular 2C into the LW spot. There was a Rattie sized hole on the top line. Rattie didn’t have to be the 2nd person on that line (RNH was already there), he just needed to be a functioning 3rd. Organizationally – financially – the Oilers needed to combat the problem of high ticket spending with a cheaper contract who could appear in the top 6. The Oilers are locked into McDavid and Draisaitl for a combined $21M a year. RNH and Lucic both make $6M on the cap. The only places to save money are on the right wings.
At $800,000 Ty Rattie earns himself a nice sum of money for a man who hasn’t established himself as a fulltime NHLer, but it’s a very low risk to the club. If Rattie makes the club at all next season he’s not hurting them financially. If he plays on the top line with McDavid and RNH then he’s easing major pressure off the club and allowing them to allocate resources elsewhere. And, in a worst case scenario, if he doesn’t make the NHL club then the entire $800,000 can be buried in the AHL and off the books for the Oilers.
Because Rattie appeared in so few games, it’s tough to get a handle on his place in the Oiler roster from a stats perspective. He played just 190:36 5v5, which is really almost nothing. He also appeared with the Oilers after the trade deadline and over that period the Oilers were 29th in CF% and FF%. What I’m saying is that his NHL time was specifically with a team at its worst.
At any rate, Rattie ranks 16th of 16 Oiler forwards who played at least 150 minutes in both CF% and FF%. The team was getting trashed with him out there. It gets a little better if we look at the final 21 games in particular and players who played at least 100 minutes. In that chunk of time, Rattie is 9th of 14 in CF% and in FF%.
We have to remember that the Oilers in the final stretch of the season had lost Maroon to New Jersey and both Sekera & Klefbom were limping to the end of the year. The defense was beat up and the forward corps was depleted. So we have to provide that context to the results Rattie produced in terms of the fancy stats.
I think this contract and this player is a reasonable bet for the Oilers with a chance to hit a home run. Would I pencil him into the top line? Probably not, but I would give him the inside track. I want to see if the chemistry he showed with 97 and 93 can pick up in September and October where it left off in April.
Follow me on Twitter @Archaeologuy