We’ve talked a little bit in the last few days about the Oilers’ 50-man list. What does it look like now? What should it look like going forward? Is it valid to worry about how much room there is on it, or is that a red herring?
Here, compiled via various sources (NHLNumbers, Capgeek, Copper and Blue, the Oilers’ official site) is the Oilers’ current 50-man list – naturally, any errors are my own responsibility. All players are listed as either NHL or AHL, even if they’re in a different league (i.e. Toni Rajala). It’s worth noting that several players listed (Marincin, Bunz, Pelss) will not count until next season.
Players Under Contract For 2012-13
Restricted and Unrestricted Free Agents
|43||Chris Vande Velde||AHL||RFA|
Obviously, not all 50 players will be back. So how do we get a reasonable idea of what the Oilers will need for next season?
Seventeen players on the signed list will likely start next season in the NHL. I’ve included Magnus Paajarvi, Teemu Hartikainen and Corey Potter on the NHL list, and Anton Lander on the AHL list, despite uncertainty or speculation about their status for next year. The list as it stands includes 11 forwards, five defensemen and one goaltender.
It stands to reason, then, that the Oilers will need three more forwards, two more defensemen (alternately, two more forwards and three more defensemen) and an additional goaltender at the NHL level. Let’s call these players Ryan Smyth, Lennart Petrell, Darcy Hordichuk, Jeff Petry, Theo Peckham and Devan Dubnyk. Aside from Petry and Dubnyk, any of these might be let go and replaced by external candidates, but this makes things simple.
Our list of signed players for next season now stands at 40 names – the 33 guys under contract, plus seven others to fill out the NHL roster. There’s still room for 10 more contracts.
In 2011-12, a total of 597 forwards, 297 defensemen, and 89 goalies played at least one regular season game. This means the average NHL team can expect to use six forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie not on the NHL roster at the start of the year. Of the players on the AHL list, it seems reasonable to expect that Lander, Pitlick, Cornet, Teubert and Fedun will all qualify as call-ups. Let’s toss Tyrvainen in for good measure. We could include Roy, but the Oilers (intelligent) pattern under Tambellini has been to always have one veteran goalie on a two-way deal in Oklahoma City. This means that the Oilers will use two-way deals on two AHL forwards, an AHL defenseman and an AHL goalie. We can call those guys Vande Velde, Green, Plante and Danis. That brings us to a total of 44 names under contract.
The Oilers have six slots left. They still have three 2010 draft picks unsigned. They should sign Jeremie Blain and Brandon Davidson. Drew Czerwonka’s bigger than Kristians Pelss and has similar numbers, but for argument let’s say they let him go. That brings our total to 46 names under contract, and four slots left.
Of course, the team in the AHL is now significantly weaker. Let’s say they keep Keller, because it’s hard to find high-end AHL veterans willing to sign AHL-only deals. Let’s further say they keep Chorney, because he had a pretty good season in 2011-12 and Bryan Helmer turns 40 over the summer.
So far, they’ve dumped Barker, Omark, Tremblay, Kytnar and Rodney, and allowed Czerwonka to re-enter the draft. They may have upgraded the NHL forwards and defense – perhaps trading away Theo Peckham and signing someone new, perhaps dumping Petrell and Hordichuk, and signing someone else. Forty-eight slots out of 50 are full, and there are still two open slots.
Then the first overall pick comes into play. Assuming it’s Nail Yakupov, they could slot him into one of the spare NHL forward slots, and cut a guy like Lennart Petrell or Darcy Hordichuk. Alternately, they could make a trade to free up a slot. If it’s Yakupov (or even if it’s Ryan Murray) and he makes the team, he’s taking one of those slots we set aside for an NHL player, and probably isn’t going to represent an addition to that 48-man total. If by some chance the Oilers’ selection doesn’t play in the NHL, his contract should slide forward for one year and not count against the 50-man list.
Forty-eight names is a manageable total, but it guarantees the Oilers will be keeping their contract list in mind. If the club wants to bring a veteran tryout to training camp, or look at an overage European in the same mold as Petrell and Tyrvainen, or trade to add a player at some point during the regular season, that 50-man cap is going to be a consideration.
This week by Jonathan Willis at the Nation Network
- The flood is coming on the Oilers’ blue line
- Oilers sign Kristians Pelss
- Free agents: Zach Parise, New Jersey Devils
- Report: KHL club trying to poach Jets’ Alexander Burmistrov
- Free agents: Ryan Smyth, Edmonton Oilers
- Should the next coach of the Oilers be young?
- Free agents: Alexander Semin, Washington Capitals
- Playoff picks: Round 2
- Why an amnesty clause makes sense
- Kevin Lowe: "It’s a business first"
- Justin Schultz would solve a lot of problems for the Oilers
- The Oilers should sign Josh Harding this summer
- Roberto Luongo asks for a trade