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Oilers waiver claims see reunion for Cracknell and Pardy

by Meg Tilley / Edmonton Oilers
Adam Cracknell. Photo Getty Images/

It’s a status of limbo when a player is placed on waivers. Will they be picked up or won’t? And if they are claimed, where is their next career stop?

On Sunday morning, and with the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline looming, that was what then–Vancouver Canucks forward Adam Cracknell was facing.

Preparing for the Canucks game against the visiting San Jose Sharks that evening, Cracknell received an early morning call from Vancouver General Manager Jim Benning.

“The first thing that went through my head was, ‘wow, I’m traded,’” said Cracknell.

It turns out that Cracknell wasn’t traded, Benning was calling to inform him that he was going to be placed on waivers, although he was still going to suit up for the game against the Sharks.

“It was exciting for me,” said Cracknell. “I just didn’t know what waivers was going to bring and obviously the possibility of getting claimed — it could be my last game in a Canucks jersey — so I just wanted to go out and play hard.”

There’s a lot of moving parts in the business of hockey. Once an NHL player has been placed on waivers, they become available to the other teams before they can be assigned to a minor league affiliate.

On Trade Deadline Day, the Oilers capitalized on the opportunity, picking up both Cracknell and Winnipeg Jets defenceman Adam Pardy from waivers.

“They’re both veterans, they both have played a while in the league. I don’t know if you want to call them journeymen but they’ve been able to adapt to change with different teams,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan.

Cracknell, 30, has played in 44 games with the Vancouver Canucks this season, posting 10 points (5G, 5A) and 14 penalty minutes.

Adam Cracknell plays the puck against the Arizona Coyotes during their NHL game at Rogers Arena. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

“It’s not the first time I’ve been on waivers,” said the Prince Albert, SK native, who has appeared in 126 career NHL games with the St. Louis Blues, Columbus Blue Jackets and Canucks. He has registered 27 points (11G, 16A) and 28 penalty minutes.

“If I was cleared then who knows what would have happened? But I look at this as another opportunity in my career to showcase myself and hopefully I can impress the Oilers enough to stick around for next season and just come in and play the way I’ve been playing.”

With a new city — though he won’t have the chance to see it until the team returns after their four-game road trip — and a new team, Cracknell is ready to put in the hard work.

“I just want to kind of showcase myself as a physical player,” he said. “I’ve scored a couple goals as of late and as I’ve played more my confidence is up. I can bring that physicality maybe that Edmonton’s lacking on the bottom six and [be] a guy like Matt Hendricks — he plays a physical game and I like the way he plays — and I’ve played with Mark Letestu (in Columbus) — a really smart player — so those are guys I hope I can mould well with and we can have some success together.”

Cracknell won’t be alone when it comes to adjusting to the changes.

Pardy, 31, has appeared in 14 games with the Winnipeg Jets this season, posting one assist and eight penalty minutes, will also be navigating a new locker room.

“This morning, I didn’t know what to expect. I got the call from the agent that I’d been picked up,” said Pardy.

“It’s a little nerve-wracking but it’s exciting at the same time. It’s been crazy but it’s a fresh start. I look at it as a challenge and that’s everything I’m about. I love challenges. I’ve been going through a lot of things in my career so this is just another thing that I’m looking forward to.”

Adam Pardy. Photo Getty Images.

Though the Bonavista, Newfoundland native was limited to 14 games with the Jets this season, producing one assist and eight penalty minutes, Pardy has appeared in 329 career NHL games. In his career with the Jets, Calgary Flames and Buffalo Sabres, the blueliner has recorded 49 points (4-45-49) and 257 penalty minutes.

Both Cracknell and Pardy were selected by the Calgary Flames in the 2004 NHL Draft; the former in the ninth round, 279th overall, and the latter in the sixth round, 173rd overall.

“[Pardy’s] a big steady [defenceman] that brings a lot of size and I think he’s going to be a great fit,” said Cracknell.

“He’s a great person off the ice and a great guy in the room, so he’s going to bring a lot to this team… I’m looking forward to seeing him again and reminiscing about the old times. But I think, for both of us, it’s another step in our careers and hopefully we can advance them.”

The two played together with the then-Flames American Hockey League affiliate the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights and Quad City Flames.

“It’s always nice having a familiar face around,” said Pardy. “I played with [Cracknell] in the minors a little bit. We were going to camps together — development camps — that’s going to be helpful coming into the room and getting to know people and getting to know all the players.

“He’s a good player and I’m sure he’s just as excited as I am to get there and play for this organization. It’s going to be a good thing. The impact that we’re going to make, we won’t know until the end of the season but we’re definitely going to put our best foot forward and just try to take these 20 games and show them what we are, who we are, not just our on-ice product but our off-ice attitudes. Who we are as players and people are the kind of people they want in their organizations moving forward.”

Photo Getty Images.

Each carrying a veteran status, Cracknell and Pardy bring with them a determined effort that McLellan says fits in with what the Oilers are looking to do among the small restructuring that has occurred the last few days with the young team.

“They’re both effort-orientated players,” he said. “Cracknell has gained a lot of respect in Vancouver and also I know people in St. Louis that really believed in him when he played there. Adam Pardy has a ton of experience, a bigger body, moves pucks and can skate. We think that both of them can come in and contribute and we get an opportunity to look at two veteran players and evaluate whether they may fit our future.”

The six-foot-plus additions are not only aiming to help the Oilers finish on a high note this season, but will now have the chance to make an impression that will resonate with the Edmonton team.

“I think that you’ve got to keep an open mind,” said Pardy. “Learn the system as quick as you can, try to pick up as much as you can. There’s going to be a lot of information coming [our] way and there’s kind of a lot on [our] plate the first few days. I think the first few games [we’ll] play off emotion — everything is exciting, everything’s new.”

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