The Edmonton Oilers’ 50-man list

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

No. Player League Status
1 Shawn Horcoff NHL Signed
2 Ales Hemsky NHL Signed
3 Ryan Whitney NHL Signed
4 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins NHL Signed
5 Nikolai Khabibulin NHL Signed
6 Taylor Hall NHL Signed
7 Nick Schultz NHL Signed
8 Sam Gagner NHL Signed
9 Ladislav Smid NHL Signed
10 Eric Belanger NHL Signed
11 Magnus Paajarvi NHL Signed
12 Andy Sutton NHL Signed
13 Ryan Jones NHL Signed
14 Jordan Eberle NHL Signed
15 Ben Eager NHL Signed
16 Teemu Hartikainen NHL Signed
17 Corey Potter NHL Signed
18 Colten Teubert AHL Signed
19 Curtis Hamilton AHL Signed
20 Anton Lander AHL Signed
21 Martin Marincin AHL Signed
22 Ryan Martindale AHL Signed
23 Tyler Pitlick AHL Signed
24 Taylor Fedun AHL Signed
25 Mark Arcobello AHL Signed
26 Toni Rajala AHL Signed
27 Olivier Roy AHL Signed
28 Tyler Bunz AHL Signed
29 Tanner House AHL Signed
30 Cameron Abney AHL Signed
31 Philippe Cornet AHL Signed
32 Antti Tyrvainen AHL Signed
33 Kristians Pelss AHL Signed

Restricted and Unrestricted Free Agents

No. Player League Status
34 Ryan Smyth NHL UFA
35 Cam Barker NHL RFA
36 Theo Peckham NHL RFA
37 Jeff Petry NHL RFA
38 Lennart Petrell NHL UFA
39 Linus Omark NHL RFA
40 Darcy Hordichuk NHL UFA
41 Devan Dubnyk NHL RFA
42 Alex Plante AHL RFA
43 Chris Vande Velde AHL RFA
44 Taylor Chorney AHL UFA
45 Yann Danis AHL UFA
46 Ryan Keller AHL UFA
47 Josh Green AHL UFA
48 Hunter Tremblay AHL RFA
49 Milan Kytnar AHL RFA
50 Bryan Rodney AHL UFA

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?

The Plan

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

  • Badger

    Here’s an overage European to look at….Jesse Niinimaki, our old 2002 pick. He had the offence of a dead horse for years, and then all of the sudden, I look him up one day, and he’s been the leading scorer for the Ilves for the last 2 seasons. He’s big now too. Anyone know what the scoop on him is?

  • Oilforlife

    @Jonathan Willis

    How do you see the goalie situation. After Dubynk, Khabi, and Bunz, where does it go. Do they keep Roy in the system. Do the Oilers have to start looking at drafting goalies again.

  • NewfoundlandOil

    I realize he is a longshot and you can’t keep ’em all, but I would like to see them hang onto Hunter Tremblay. One of the better 2-way Barons this season.

    He certainly has earned a call-up in 2012/13 in my mind.

  • Lexi

    I always thought haveing a space available was necessary if the team wanted to pick someone up who was placed on waivers, thus they should have a space open. Some gems to be had, worth taking a chance on.

  • Ducey

    Jonathan,

    When does the 50 man have to be complied with?

    I assume there is portion of time when you could exceed the 50 (the offseason) and then you have to bring yourself into compliance. No?

    It seems likely the Oilers might lose a guy like Plante or Vandevelde on waivers.

  • Ducey

    Hey, I will throw in my 2 cents. We have to comply with contract years. Right now we are currently under our 50 limit for the 2011-12 contract year so we won’t be adding anybody else to this year.

    For the 2012-13 contract year we need to stay under 50 contracts. Every players contract ends on June 30 of that contract year.

    After each training camp we have oilers rosters and Barons rosters, it is when movement happens between the Oilers and the Barons that a player may be subject to going through waivers or re-entry waivers. I believe its somewhere around 160 games that is the majic limit.

    Please correct me if I am out in left field.

  • Lexi

    Jonathan,

    I just went through the 30 teams reserve list and almost every team seems to have at least 5 guys over 23 who I’ve never heard of, meaning they are probably not prospects. I can’t recall anybody who didn’t get signed because of the 50 man limit who went on to being a significant NHLer. My gut says there’s enough deadwood on the Oiler roster to clear out if they figure Davdson, Blain and Czeronka are legit prospects.

    Us Oiler fans might be the first fanbase in history to stress over the fact that our drafting in the last few years might too good.

  • RexLibris

    @Lexi

    I was thining the same thing. Most other teams’ fans are probably all worried about cap space and such. Not here in Oilerland. We’re trying to figure out how to shoe-horn Cameron Abney out of a contract so we can take a look at Drew Czerwonka.

    This is likely just part of the lifecycle of teams. In a few years we’ll be doing mental math gymnastics trying to discern ways that player x could stay on the IR for a few games longer until player y gets injured and we can keep all of our stars.

    Of course that’ll be the year the injury curse finally lifts.

    @DLS

    Thanks for the info.

    I was looking at the Flames reserve list and they have 54 contracts not including Roman Cervenka. The best I could figure was that they had several players there signed as juniors where their contracts didn’t officially kick in until next season.

  • RexLibris

    @RexLibris

    hey, good point. I just went over the Flames roster too, and they have 54 contracts that apply to 2011-12. Obviously some contracts must not apply, but which ones.

    JW please

  • RexLibris

    ok, I have found out whats happening. On the contract list for the flames I found 3 players still playing junior hockey and a goaltender who is playing in Europe, that gets them down to the 50 limit.

    • RexLibris

      The three junior-age players just wrapped up their WHL careers in Ferland, Reinhart and Elson and then Baertschi who was an emergency call-up but still has one more year of junior eligibility. And yes, Ortio is still playing overseas so his contract is in the same situation for the Flames as Klefbom’s is for the Oilers.

      What I believe is happening there is that the first three have contracts that will kick in next season (as per your information) but for the time being have been assigned to and are being paid by the Abbotsford Heat.

      There must be more to it than that, in terms of CBA clauses, but we must remember that Feaster and Weisbrod are both lawyers.

      BTW, if you’re interested, check out the article on FN about the Flames signing Roman Cervenka. He is being proposed as their 2nd line center and as I’m reading the article one name keeps flashing through my mind: Jiri Dopita.

      There are going to be some interesting times ahead in Calgary.

  • RexLibris

    When I look at that list of guys under contract and all I notice is 3 failures. Lack of size and grit, too many inexperienced non caliber NHL defencemen, and one decent goalie. I hope FA is good to the Oilers.

  • RexLibris

    I see a minimum of a 10 contracts that the Oilers should throw tot he wayside for the upcoming season.

    The first is Ryan Smyths. If he believes in the 3 million dollar contract. Look elsewhere.

    Hordichuck. Time to move on.
    Petrell. Nice knowing ya.
    Barker. Been a sclice.
    Eager. Square peg. Round hole. 5th round pick?
    Green. Been there.Done that.
    Rodney. Ces’t la vie.
    Omark. Shremp 2.0
    Kytnar.Who?
    Belanger.Thanks for nothing.Pick or prospect.This spot has Landers name written all over it.
    Alex Plante.Change of scenery and opportunity for a young man finding his way. The Oilers need to move on and let Plante find his way with another team. The depth coming up through the organization makes Plante a player who the Oilers should move this summer at the draft. Currently a 1-2 AHL dman but that puts him miles behind when you look at who the Oilers have coming and or already in the system. Tuebert. Klefbom. Marincin etal.

    • RexLibris

      Smyth seems like a 50/50 bet right now to return, as far as any of us fans know.

      Hordichuk, I agree, will likely find other employment. He was great while he was here, but we need to open up roster spots for auditioning internal talent.

      Barker is a given, as is Omark.

      Petrell, I feel, should come back. He brought a portion of Hordichuk’s game to the table and his penalty-killing is invaluable to a coach wanting to manage the ice-time of the top three kids.

      Green and Plante both have a role to fill in providing AHL veteran leadership, but I wouldn’t be overly surprised to see at least one of them moved on this summer. Plante will have the most value at the draft. Afterwards it will fall to near zero because he’ll be waiver eligible this season.

      Rodney, Kytnar, and perhaps Helmer are all likely to find new homes as well.

      As for Eager and Belanger, if they are traded it will most likely be at the trade deadline rather than the draft, in my opinion. Veterans’ value peaks at that time.

      For as many defensive prospects as the Oilers have (enough that I don’t think they need to draft another one until the 3rd round this June) you still need AHL veterans to help them make that jump from junior to pro. Plante and Chorney are both valuable in that regard. Teubert is growing into that role as well but likely won’t be in the AHL after the trade deadline.

  • KatzKidsJewFro

    I was just wondering if anyone knows how popular the 50 man list is amongst all the GMs? Is there anyway this is something that we could see changes made to in the upcoming CBA discussions?

  • The Oilers are under pressure this summer to sign players. For me its a given that Yakupov is drafted number 1 and joins the Oilers ranks. The wild card for me is Justin Shultz. If he decides that the Oilers are a fit then we are looking at adding 2 roster players.

    The addition by subtraction rule applys. The Oilers have some veterans who underwhelmed last year. Belanger and Eager and Bulin are all fodder for this coming season.If they play well? Then thier collective value gets us a better return. If they don’t? Then they just become more deadwieght on a team that slowly is being led by Eberle and Hall.

    Horcoff’s contract is another albatross that should be addressed. Do you buy out that contract if amnesty is granted? I think the guy most likely to be bought out is Belanger. Cheaper and he just does not seem to fit with what the Oilers are going.