August 12 2009 11:15AM
The Edmonton Oilers have announced the signing of restricted free agents Ladislav Smid, Gilbert Brule, and Ryan Stone.
The key player here is obviously Ladislav Smid. He's spent his entire NHL career in Edmonton, and their have been rumours that he has requested a trade in the past, but he sounded fairly happy today:
“This is great news for me. I really enjoy playing for the Oilers. I feel my game is improving every year and I can’t wait to get started again this fall.”
It's a two-year contract, and dollar figures are presently unavailable. Yesterday, Jim Matheson suggested that Smid and Brule combined would be around 2.5 million, so I'd guess Smid's deal is in the 1.5-1.6 MM range. If so, it isn't exactly a bargain, but it isn't a bad bet either for a maturing physical defenseman.
Gilbert Brule also signed, and the surprise is that it's a two-way deal (evidently the Oilers are convinced he can be sent down without clearing waivers). It's only for a single year, and should give Brule a chance to prove if he belongs in the lineup or not. I'd guess he'll earn between 800K and 1MM (based on Matheson's article yesterday) and I hope it's toward the lower end of that range.
Lastly, Ryan Stone has signed. Stone came over from Pittsburgh in the Matheiu Garon trade last year, and spent all of his time after the trade with Springfield. He's a darkhorse candidate for a roster spot, but the smart money says he's a top-six AHL forward this coming season. He's got size, a willingness to use it, and some scoring ability. Today's signings leave Rob Schremp as the last of the Oilers' restricted free agents.