Free agency begins...Oilers sign Fayne and Pouliot

Jason Gregor
July 01 2014 10:02AM

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The Dallas Stars got a jump on the rest of the NHL when they acquired Jason Spezza and Ludvig Karlsson for Alec Chiasson, Alex Guptill, Nicholas Paul and 2nd round pick in 2015.

The West continues to get stronger, and if the Oilers plan to become competitive in two years they must develop Leon Draisaitl correctly. You need elite centres, two of them, to compete in the western conference. 

The Oilers won't get an elite centre in free agency, but they will try to find some quality veterans to help the Oilers young core become more competitive.

BREAKING...Oilers sign Mark Fayne to a four-year deal at $3.5 million/year and Benoit Pouliot for five years at $4 mill/year.

Former Oiler, Ales Hemsky, signs in Dallas for three years at $4 million/year 

Oilers sign Keith Aulie to a one-year deal. Good depth guy. He can be a #6/7 and it is better that he sits in the pressbox instead of a young D-man.

The Oilers will try to land a centre, a 3rd line left winger a 4th line right winger and some D-men.

They will go after players like Legwand, Goc, Grabovski, Jokinen, Boyle, Kulemin, Pouliot, Winnik, Fayne, Engelland, Stralman and Dan Boyle.

If they can land two of those players that would be a good day, if they get three would very good. We'll see what happens.

We will update you as the day unfolds.

Also, before we get to hockey I'd like to say Happy 147th birthday to The True North Strong and Free. I'm extremely lucky to have been born in this great country and make sure you celebrate our great Nation today.

BrdvKyfCAAEtdTE

QUICK HITS...

  • With Dallas trading for Spezza, this puts even more pressure on St.Louis to try and sign Stastny. I like Stastny a lot, but if he gets $7mill/year that is huge money for a guy who is a great 2nd line centre.


  • Jarome Iginla and the Bruins might have to part ways because the Bs have limited cap space. Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Colorado and Detroit are interested. The Avs really like Iginla and want his experience and if they lose out on Stastny, which seems likely, they could go hard after Iggy.


  • Dave Bolland is my pick for biggest overpayment. Who is yours?

SIGNINGS BEGIN...

  • Penguins sign Ehrhoff for one year at $4 million. Good signing for Pens, especially with Maatta coming off shoulder surgery.
  • Manny Malhotra signs a one year, $850,000 deal with Montreal. Malhotra continues to be a great feel good story....
  • Mark Fayne at four years $3.5 million is a solid signing, but I don't see him more than a #4 long term. The most important part of this signing is that means the Oilers don't have to rush their young D-men.
  • Pouliot's five years concerns me. Time will tell, but that money for five years could be an issue in the future. He has played on five teams in five years. The Oilers needed a proven NHL player and he is that, but five years is major risk, IMO. Pouliot is a former #4 overall pick, so he does have some skill. I like that he is very aggressive on the forecheck and he will give the Oilers a good puck retriever.

Recently by Jason Gregor:  

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#301 Will
July 01 2014, 11:20AM
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madjam wrote:

WOW . Hemsky to Dallas for 3year - $4M/season . He'll be back with Spezza . Nill doing a good job in Dallas . R.Miller to Canucks .

Not back with Spezza, back with Horcoff. CAAAAAANNNNNN you FEeeeeel the LOOOOUUUUUUve 2Nyyyyyyght toooniiiiiiiite.

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#302 ThatButthurtOilersFan
July 01 2014, 11:20AM
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Anyone reading the tweet bar on TSN? I like the one that says that Florida should trade Ekblad for Theo Fleury and Dion Phaneuf.

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#303 v4ance
July 01 2014, 11:25AM
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Ryan2 wrote:

You are assuming that the salary cap goes up. There is no guarantee of that.

It was a big overpay in both term and $$$ for an underachieving former 1st round pick with consistency issues. He is essentially MacT's Pisani - Pouliot had a so-so year and a decent playoff and got rewarded for it. This will likely be another Gagner-like outcome in the end for the team........

The term is the head scratcher for me. At that length this contract will likely cause issues down the road. The good teams keep the core stars and develop cheap depth players to plug in and play as the more veteran ones get overpaid elsewhere. Unfortunately, the Oilers are nowhere near that stage yet so they have to overpay for depth players. Hopefully, likely 3 years out, they have enough NHL ready role players in the system that they do not have to do this and can focus the $$$ to upgrading the lineup or addressing true needs. MacT still needs some true NHL centers......

Actually, the cap WILL go up to $74 million for the 2015-16 season when the Rogers TV deal will kick in. That was the negotiation earlier this week between the NHL and the PA over this year's (2014-15) salary cap. They were discussing $70 with some of that Rogers money added to this cap or $68 million based on actual 2013-14 revenues. They split the difference and went with $69 million.

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#304 rickithebear
July 01 2014, 11:26AM
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Pouliot Personal procession numbers last 4 years(3.6 seasons) takeaway give away +34.

+9.5/season One of the best Pocession forwards.

90% of other forwards get better results with him than without.

He is a 13-14 EVG/season Forward.

Since 10-11

Perron 47 EVG

Purcell 47 EVG

Horton 46 EVG

J. staal 46 EVG

Callahan 45 EVG

Pouliot 43 EVG

J. jokinen 43 EVG

Oshie 41 EVG

M Raymond 38 EVG

Mcginn 37 EVG

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#305 Will
July 01 2014, 11:30AM
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RJ wrote:

If you read non-oiler message boards, pouliot is in the running for worst contract.

Orpik, 5 years at 5.5 million. That has to win the day.

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#306 a lg dubl dubl
July 01 2014, 11:32AM
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Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate wrote:

Oilers sign D Keith Aulie 2 yr deal, no $$ announced

@edmontonoilers tweeted 1 yr am I wrong?

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#307 Scottyprime
July 01 2014, 11:56AM
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Smokey wrote:

Its term not dollars. Multiply the 2, add in the fact Poo is inconsistent and has character issues and you got bad contract.

I made a point of stating the age the players were being paid to for a reason. The length of the contract is not what the GM's are thinking about. They are thinking about how old the players will be when the contract expires. All the players being signed will be the same age or older than Pouliot at the end of his deal. The reason there deals are shorter is because they are already older, which last I checked was a bad thing when dealing with 27-33 year old players.

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#308 YEGFan
July 01 2014, 11:56AM
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@Smokey

I'm certainly not sold on the contract, but it is fair to note that it is paying for years where the player is under 32. If you're going to give a player term those are the years you should be buying.

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#309 YEGFan
July 01 2014, 12:04PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Last season showed what happens to a team when the goaltending crashes and burns - a lost season not just from a contending standpoint but from a development and morale standpoint.

That's true, but I think this is a different kind of bet.

Last year Dubnyk was anointed the number one goalie. A back up was signed to support him. That was obviously a mistake.

This year MacT is betting on two young goalies who have shown flashes of brilliance and number one potential. It is going to be a gamble no matter who he signs for goal, but he is hoping under these circumstances he can save cap space in goal and have a tandem motivated to compete and outplay their contracts to build their careers for the future.

It isn't a sure thing, but it sounds like a smart strategy to me.

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#310 Scottyprime
July 01 2014, 12:27PM
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@The Last Big Bear

Apparently it is, as objectively demonstrated by the last 3 hours and at least 5 actual NHL GM's(not even counting any of the other GM's who have sought and paid other middle-lineup players big deals this morning, like Washington, Toronto or New Jersey, all of which who also signed OLD players to those deals).

Times change, markets change, who could have guessed?

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#311 Grant
July 01 2014, 12:34PM
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Need a centre !!

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#312 Wax Man Riley
July 01 2014, 12:35PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Actually the trick is moving an undrafted player something that the team spent no draft picks on for something of value.The Bryzgalov pick up and trade was an example of that.Getting something for nothing.

Letting him walk for nothing puts you no further ahead of the game.

And what, tell me, would you have paid for Fedun knowing he was coming up to free agency.

Would you have traded for Taylor Fedun?

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#313 Craig1981
July 01 2014, 01:38PM
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Will wrote:

The problem is that what the Oilers really need is a big bodied, two way, free agent vet to centre the second line, but only need him for 3 years absolute maximum, until Draisaitl is ready to take over as the cheaper better option.

That type of centre does not exist in free agency, and if he does, he's not looking for a 2 year deal on a bottom place finisher.

I mean, I look at a guy like Legwand who might want to sign here, but it would be for a high pay long term contract. I'd be thrilled if it was a high pay short term one ala Nikitin, but I don't see it. THe only other hope is Grabovski.

Or, now with the actual NHLers this team has peppered through the line up, I wonder if Mac T has more confidence in letting Lander or Arco take a shot. I really thought Arco looked good last year.

I agree, Legwand would be my vote, but can you get him short term?? 2 years would be a good term since you only have Yak and Marincin as larger $$ next year that will need a raise.

I think Arco is the guy right now, and I guess we would see how he did. Maybe Draisait is able to move up to 2nd line duty

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#314 v4ance
July 01 2014, 01:48PM
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The Last Big Bear wrote:

Ugh. And Flames step right into the Engelland contract cow-pie.

Knew it was gonna be somebody, was just hoping it would be someone else.

Jonathan Willis ‏@JonathanWillis Deryk Engelland cap hit by year: 08-09: 493K 09-10: 493K 10-11: 500K 11-12: 567K 12-13: 567K 13-14: 567K 14-15: 2.9 million

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

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#315 Oil Vice
July 01 2014, 02:57PM
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Solid pickups by MacT. Pouliot and Fayne have both been deep in the playoffs recently. Purcell and Nikitin have also been to the playoffs recently and all 4 players are still in their 20s and address the teams lack of size. Aulie is huge and only 25. At worste he'll help buy klefbom/marincin a half season in the AHL before jumping back up to the show.

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#316 v4ance
July 01 2014, 03:01PM
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7 years, $40.25 or $5.75M/yr AAV Niskanen to WAS to be with Ovechkin.

Expect a trade of Green or another D to drop their cap committments since they overpaid on Orpik ($5.5) already.

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#317 Mike Krushelnyski
July 01 2014, 03:34PM
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Orpik and Niskanen now make around $80k combined per year less than Keith and Seabrook.

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#318 The Soup Fascist
July 01 2014, 03:49PM
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Mike Krushelnyski wrote:

Orpik and Niskanen now make around $80k combined per year less than Keith and Seabrook.

Add in Green and Carlson and you have well over $21 million invested in four defensemen.

All the D-men in the world are not going to make up for their horrid goaltending. And they are now officially against the cap.

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#319 2004Z06
July 01 2014, 03:57PM
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Yammer wrote:

the guy couldn't make it in Calgary or Toronto but suddenly he'll fit right in Edmonton huh?

He's a number 7 for one year at 800k. Really? You have an issue with this signing?

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#320 Reg Dunlop
July 01 2014, 04:52PM
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Clearly I can only judge Mac on what he has done so far. Forward depth is marginally better but center position remains the league worst. Defence has improved, just how much TBA. The way I see it: this remains Hall's team, they go as far as he can take them. No playoffs next year but we should pass a couple teams in the standings, 20th to 25th overall.

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#321 DoubleJ
July 01 2014, 04:56PM
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I'm not going to skim the 250 plus remarks. So If someone already mentioned it sorry. I wonder what it would take to land Sharp from Chicago.

Chicago needs to dump salary just to start the year plus they need to resign toews,Kane and Saad next year all three will be getting at least a 2 mill raise.

I'd be all over Chicago right now trying to free Sharp from them.

He'd be perfect for the oilers.

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#322 The Soup Fascist
July 01 2014, 05:00PM
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DoubleJ wrote:

I'm not going to skim the 250 plus remarks. So If someone already mentioned it sorry. I wonder what it would take to land Sharp from Chicago.

Chicago needs to dump salary just to start the year plus they need to resign toews,Kane and Saad next year all three will be getting at least a 2 mill raise.

I'd be all over Chicago right now trying to free Sharp from them.

He'd be perfect for the oilers.

Two problems. He has a NMC and he is a winger.

You are correct he could be the guy on the way out. But not sure how he ends up here.

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#323 KozyMel
July 01 2014, 05:27PM
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@The Soup Fascist

And @ DoubleJ

Not only is Sharp a LW, but MacT has loaded up on the left side with 6 LW's now signed.

He's short on the RW side (no #4) and down the middle - no #2 or #3.

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#324 Zarny
July 01 2014, 06:17PM
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The Last Big Bear wrote:

How about these comparables?

Benoit Pouliot: $1.3m, signed for 1 year at age 26, after a 20 point lockout season, good defensively, big body.

Benoit Pouliot: $1.8m, signed for 1 year at age 25, 32 points on previous contract, good defensively, big body.

Benoit Pouliot: $1.1m, signed for 1 year at age 24, 30 points the previous season, good defensively, big body.

Benoit Pouliot: $1.375m, signed for 1 year at age 23, 28 points the precious season, good defensively, big body.

I'd say those are some pretty good comparables to 27 year old Benoit Pouliot.

He's been a fringe NHLer, bouncing from team to team on 1 year, $1-ish million contracts, not getting renewed, and having to look elsewhere.

The Oilers just signed the same player to triple the salary and five times the term that everyone else has been giving him.

This is not the kind of contract needed to land this kind of player, as objectively demonstrated by *this exact player*.

Hey, it could be worse.

The Oilers could have David Jones signed to $4M per year.

Or worse yet, they could have given Deryk Engelland $2.9M for 3 years lol. That's over 5 X more than any GM has ever paid him to be a 3rd pairing Dman.

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#325 v4ance
July 01 2014, 06:52PM
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bwar wrote:

I don't know anything about Aulie. Was he essentially signed as the 7th dman or does he have a shot at leap frogging others on the depth chart?

Strictly signed as #7 so Klefbom and Nurse can stay in AHL and CHL respectively and play tons of minutes.

If either of them can flat out beat Aulie or another D above them in the depth chart for a spot, then they'll totally deserve it. They'll need to show that they've taken another great leap forward in development. If it's even close between Aulie and either of them, they go back down and Aulie is the guy who sits in the pressbox and rotates in every few games for one of the other D.

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#326 utarded
July 01 2014, 07:05PM
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Well that escalated quickly. So much negativity here today. Griping and checking player stats will not give you any closure for the moves made today. I just wanna watch the boys in blue win this year like any of you. Maybe we're a step closer, maybe not. It remains to be seen, but calling each other out in chat rooms over oppinions is becoming insufferably overbearing.

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#327 BleedingOil
July 02 2014, 06:18AM
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Ed in Edmonton wrote:

Bear

Any thoughts on the Flames asset management wrt Camalerri? MacT got a 3rd and 5th for a RFA worth $4m today, whilst Burke got SFA for a $5.25m man today.

who was that rfa that got us those 2 picks?

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#328 Ed in Edmonton
July 02 2014, 08:23AM
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BleedingOil wrote:

who was that rfa that got us those 2 picks?

My mistake, I meant UFA Hemsky.

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#329 vetinari
July 02 2014, 11:30AM
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Alright, enough of the p!ssing and moaning about the players who did and didn't sign here. Here's a few simple rules to consider when looking at the deals:

1. players have preferences and it's not always about the money. They have friends, former coaches and other contacts on different teams and sometimes it's nice to be on the same team as them no matter how much money another team offers the player.

2. Sometimes it's about having a shot at the Cup. Ehrhoff signs for $4M with the Penguins. Couldn't MacT beat that? Of course he could but Ehrhoff goes to a team that is almost guaranteed a post season berth because of the other players on it. Accept it and move on.

3. Sometimes it's about living somewhere that gives you anonymity or is just beautiful all year round. Some places give you both. Play in Florida? Sure. No one is likely to bother you when you are out with your family for supper and heck, winters would be a breeze. Same for Tampa Bay. And LA. And Anaheim. And Phoenix. And San Jose. It's an off ice competitive advantage that is impossible to beat, so don't even try.

4. Sometimes it is about the money and the term. I'm happy Calgary went crazy on Engelland's contract. Really, really happy. Just be happier that it wasn't one of our contracts. If I worked in a career that averaged 5 to 7 years, you bet that I'd love to cash in when I had an opportunity. And when you can offer a team something that few of your competitors can, like "truculence", it's called having a competitive advantage and you will get paid more (see below).

5. Finally, every contract is "market rate". How do I know? Because up to 30 teams in the NHL and an untold number of overseas teams sets it by bidding for free agents. It's called the free market and it is subject to the laws of "supply" and "demand". Need a quality right shot defencemen in 2014/15? Guess what. There's only a couple available-- so gentlemen, prepare to open your wallets and guess what, if enough GMs are offering money that you can live with, factors 1 to 4 come back into the equation.

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