With three significant players heading to free agency – including their number one goaltender – the Oilers have made decisions on each of them, and those decisions have been made public. Terry Jones reports that free agent goaltender Dwayne Roloson has been offered a one-year contract in the same range as his previous deal. It also appears that Steve Tambellini has wisely chosen to make this his line in the sand:
In the event the 39-year-old Roloson decides to test the waters of free agency, Oilers GM Steve Tambellini told Sun Media, the Oilers will make replacing him their top priority at 10:01 a.m. Wednesday, when the free-agent action begins.
The outlook is even bleaker for winger Ales Kotalik, who Rob Tychowski reports has not recieved an offer from the Oilers. Despite this, Assistant GM Rick Olczyk made concilliatory noises:
“Players have signed with their respective clubs after July 1. Either the team steps up or the player realizes there’s not as much interest out there as I thought, I want to talk again.”
That’s a funny comment given that the Oilers haven’t made an offer; my take on it is that the team has decided that Kotalik isn’t a good fit on the top line, but that they aren’t opposed to talking to him later in the summer if a) their other options don’t work out and b) Kotalik is still available.
Finally, in the same article Tychowski confirms something which has been pretty much common knowledge for a while – that the Oilers wish to retain Jason Strudwick. He quotes Olczyk:
“He’s definitely on the radar to get done. If it gets done before July 1, great, if we don’t, we’ll make sure it gets done shortly thereafter.”
I’m assuming that Strudwick isn’t the priority, but he isn’t going to be in demand everywhere either, so the Oilers should be able to sign him to a modest contract to play the 7th defenseman/14th forward role on the team.