The Edmonton Oilers placed Darcy Hordichuk on waivers on Monday morning.

Hordichuk has been an irregular presence in the Oilers’ lineup. Despite significant injuries, head coach Ralph Krueger has been reluctant to dress the veteran forward, and even more reluctant to give him minutes when he is in the lineup. Hordichuk has played in just four of the Oilers first 12 games, and averaged just 2:02 of ice-time when dressed.

The move clears the way for the Oilers to address their problems at centre. Due to injuries, winger Ryan Smyth has been filling in as the team’s fourth-line pivot. The expectation now is that the team will instead recall Chris VandeVelde, which will mean that each of the four lines has a natural centre playing the position.

While some fans will be disappointed to see Hordichuk, the team’s most likely fighter, waived to make room for VandeVelde, this was a necessary move given Krueger’s obvious distrust of the player. While Hordichuk has enjoyed a long career – 559 NHL games between the regular season and the playoffs – and in some of his stops has been a fourth-line regular, it was clear that Krueger never really felt comfortable using the winger. Given that another of the team’s roster spots was being taken up by Theo Peckham, currently on a conditioning assignment in Oklahoma City, the Oilers simply could not afford the luxury of carrying players that the coaching staff would not use. With two roster spots going to Hordichuk and Peckham, the Oilers were forced to do things like temporarily demote Magnus Paajarvi to make room for Anton Lander and ice a lineup with only three centres. The obvious fix was to move out one of the players taking up a spot on the roster despite not being seen as an option for the team’s lineup.