Signings for the future

Journeyman defenceman Dean Arsene signed with the Oil.

The Oilers recent signings won’t win them many games next year, but they could pay dividends down the road.

The Oilers signed defenceman Matt Nickerson, chosen 99th in 2003 by the Dallas Stars, to a one-year $500,000 contract. He has a two-way deal and will get $95,000 in the minors.

Nickerson doesn’t bring much offence, but it’s his size, 6’4”, 235 pounds and aggressive nature that they like. Nickerson spent the last two years playing in Finland for Ilves Tampere and had 15 points in 78 games along with 301 PIMs.

Nickerson has had a strange career so far. He spent two years in junior in the NAHL, then spent one year at Clarkson in the NCAA. He went to Victoriaville in the QMJHL then he went to Finland for one year. He spent the 2006/07 season in the Stars system, 13 games in the ECHL and then 40 in the AHL, but then he went back to Finland for two years.

A scout outside the Oilers organization told me that Nickerson didn’t see eye-to-eye with the Stars organization, but in the last two years he has grown up and is looking for a fair shot. Right now there doesn’t seem to be any room for him in Edmonton, but they don’t have much depth on their blueline after Theo Peckham as far as NHL ready D-men, so Nickerson gives the Oilers some much needed depth. (Taylor Chorney is not NHL ready right now.)

The Oilers also signed journeyman forward Chris Minard. Minard epitomizes the guy who won’t give up on the dream, and is one of those guys who could be a real life Rudy. Minard signed a one-year, $500,000 deal, but he has a two-way deal that will pay him a respectable $275,000 in the minors. That amount of dollars proves to me that his value is high because of what he will teach the young guys around him in Springfield.

Rob Schremp and Ryan O’Marra are two players who should watch Minard closely this year.

Minard had stops in Owen Sound, Toronto St. Michael’s and Oshawa in the OHL. He spent 2003 in the ECHL, then 2004 in the CHL, then back to the ECHL for the 2005 season.

In his fourth pro season he became a regular in the AHL. After playing 33 games in the ECHL he got called up to Albany and tallied seven goals and 19 points in 37 games. The 2007 season saw him start and finish in the AHL with Lowell.

Then in his sixth pro season he finally reached the NHL, playing in 15 games for the Penguins. This past year he had 34 goals and 57 points in 54 games in Wilkes Barre and he also played 20 games for the Penguins.

In those 20 games he averaged 9:24 of icetime a game, all of it EV strength except :28 per game on the PP.

The scouting report on Minard is “good vision, hard worker, grittier than Potulny, but really needs to work on his first step.” It is doubtful he plays in Edmonton, but his value will be making Springfield competitive, and ensuring that the young players have a solid role model. Minard can’t take a night off in the AHL or he will never get back to the NHL, and that mentality is what the young Oiler prospects will need to see.

Yesterday on my radio show Kevin Prendergast confirmed they’ve signed journeyman D-man Dean Arsene to two-way deal. And like Minard, Arsene is looked as a solid AHLer based on they two-ay deal that will pay him $500,000 in the show and $170,000 in the AHL.

Arsene has been to three Calder Cup championships in the past four years, and as a member of the Hershey Bears he won two and lost one.

Arsene was an assistant captain this past year, and that was due to his leadership not his point totals. Arsene is a stay-at-home D-man, who kills penalties and blocks shots.

“His best attribute is his leadership and veteran poise on the AHL ice,” said a scout.

Signing Arsene and Minard proves the Oilers want to improve the attitude within their farm system. They needed some proven AHL veterans who could lead what looks to be a very young group again this year.

The biggest hurdle many players never overcome is learning how to be prepared to play every night. Last year in Springfield that was a major problem, and the Oilers are banking on Minard and Arsene to help future Oilers understand that aspect of the pro game.

  • Sandra

    Looks like the Oilers are headed in the right direction. It would be great if the Oilers could get Talon on board then we would get a nice stable of home grown talent, the hell with the Heatly's and Prongers , can't forget Harvey(any word yet G.) Would Talon come here? I would want him on our team.

  • hoss

    Good signings, the farm team needs some depth and experience. These guys might be able to wake up some of the prospects that have languished in mediocrity for too long.

  • psycloud

    Interestingly enough, Chris Minard's brother, goaltender Mike Minard, has played in one NHL game in his career. He played that game with the Edmonton Oilers in the 99-00 season.

  • DonDon

    Is it suggested the Oil sign Dale Talon to replace Tambellini? We recognize Tambellini hasn't done much in the off-season strengthening the Oil, but I would have thought Katz would give him a little more time.

  • cm

    as per ESPN
    "Tallon had trouble recently when the team didn't mail out qualifying offers in time to a number of free agents"

    "Stan Bowman has been an assistant general manager with the Hawks for almost a decade. He has been primarily responsible for contract negotiations, collective bargaining agreement issues and free agency."

    So the Backhawks fire Dale Tallon and replace him with the guy who should have known the collective bargaining agreement well enough to inform Tallon that the qualifying offers needed to be couriered and not mailed.

    Don't think there is anything Tallon could have done to save his job.

  • The Pestival

    cm wrote:

    “Stan Bowman has been an assistant general manager with the Hawks for almost a decade. He has been primarily responsible for contract negotiations, collective bargaining agreement issues and free agency.”

    well what the hell did Tallon do then?

  • jeff

    @ vern:
    They use a formula now.

    — “The waiver status of a player is determined by whether he has a 1-way or 2-way contract.”
    Answer: False. Whether a player has a 1-way or 2-way contract has absolutely no effect on his waiver status – it has to do with the number of years since the player signed his first NHL contract and the number of NHL games he’s played since signing. In fact, there are ten (10) players who have 1-way contracts for 2007-08 and are exempt from waivers.

    as per nhlscap.com

  • scorecoff hemmercules

    @ swany:

    God I hope thats true! We have waited long enough for that guy already. I would be suprised if we didn't wait him out until october though, what other player of his calibre might we trade for at this point???

  • swany

    scorecoff hemmercules wrote:

    @ swany:
    God I hope thats true! We have waited long enough for that guy already. I would be suprised if we didn’t wait him out until october though, what other player of his calibre might we trade for at this point???

    Agreed on his calibre but when does this organization grab a set of balls and tell the guy we want an answer? It's been so long that now we look second rate, we are beeing kept in the lurch in case he doesn't get his ideal location, it's horse crap time has come either come here or we will try to trade for another player, TB looks like it's in trouble again maybe Vinny would want a fresh start, but this is enough on Heatley lets just have an answer yes or no I don't care if he comes great if not so what go after someone else.

  • jeff wrote:

    So don’t these guys still have to clear waivers? Wouldn’t Pittsburgh and Washington take back their players if they were that good?

    That is why the Oilers gave them decent money to play in the minors. The thinking is that could scare them off from putting in a waiver claim. And if the Penguins and Capitals wanted them they could have signed them before the Oilers.
    @ vern:

    And Jeff is correct, the two-way contract doesn't alter whether a player is waiver eligible or not. It just affects what he gets paid in the minors compared to the NHL.

  • Signing Arsene and Minard proves the Oilers want to improve the attitude within their farm system. They needed some proven AHL veterans who could lead what looks to be a very young group again this year.

    And more than that, a winning tradition in the AHL can't hurt the chances of developing playoff-tested prospects who have that habit of winning.

    It's about time the Oilers started taking their AHL team seriously.

  • scorecoff hemmercules

    @ swany:

    I'm just happy this Heatley thing could be over soon. Doesn't Vinny have a NMC??? TB's Gm has repeatedly stated that Vinny isn't moving anyway. If he ended up requesting a trade I'm sure the Oilers aren't at the top of his list either.

  • Dallas

    hire tallon the guy made THE biggest boneheaded move of the ages with those qualifing offers I lmao when I found out about that why in gods green earth would we want that bonehead he has messed up chicago for years to come

  • jeff wrote:

    @ Jason Gregor:
    I heard with Arsene it was he wanted a shot at the NHL and the Capitals wouldn’t give him a contract that would allow that.

    Are you saying they were only going to sign him to an AHL contract? That is the only way he wouldn't be able to make the team. I guess it is possible, but currently the Caps have 41 contracts.

    They had room to sign Arsene if they really wanted him. I think it is more the finances that he wanted. An AHL veteran like him, who realizes the NHL dream might be done wants to get as much as possible in the AHL, and I'd bet the Caps wouldn't match the Oiler offer. And in Arsene's case an injury or two and he could get a call up with the Oilers.

  • Deke Rivers

    Tambo has been on the job for a few months and people are talking about replacing him with Tallon? WTF

    Give Tambollini or any other GM a 1st and 3rd pick and they'll look like a genius too. But when you or your staff screw up paperwork that will cost the Hawks an extra 4mil this year you deserve to loose your job.

    Good strategic signings by the Oilers. Patience with the building, there just might be a grand plan.