If you’re a restricted free agent on the Edmonton Oilers roster, there’s a chance you’re heading out of town.
The Oilers had 12 rfa’s one summer ago, and they fell into four categories:
- NHL Players sent away: Andrew Cogliano, JF Jacques, Liam Reddox, Zack Stortini
- NHL Players retained: Ladislav Smid, Theo Peckham
- Minor Leaguers sent away: Kevin Montgomery, Matt Marquardt, Bryan Pitton, Jordan Bendfeld
- Minor Leaguers retained: Taylor Chorney, Ryan O’Marra
Flushed 8, signed 4. Now, a few of these guys weren’t going to spend a decade in pro hockey but the club did make some decisions on a few guys who’d been Oilers for awhile.However, going back awhile this is the period where the team takes a good long look at players and moves away. Filing for arbitration (as done recently by Andrew Cogliano a week before he was traded) can often mean a ticket out of town.
In the last two summers, Edmonton has decided not to tender offers to Zack Stortini, JF Jacques, Marc Pouliot, Ryan Potulny, Bryan Lerg, Colin McDonald, Geoff Paukovich and Slava Trukhno. That’s a large portion of the Kevin Prendergast era down the road, but then again none of these players has established an NHL career in another city at this time.
THIS SUMMER’S RFA’S–THE TOP GROUP
Steve Tambellini has more prominent rfa’s this summer. A year ago, Smid and Cogliano were the big decisions. This season? There are three significant players:
- Sam Gagner: Made $2.275M this past season and could demand more money than the Oilers want to pay. Gagner is also one of the players who might be considered available for an upgrade on defense, and that could be the way Edmonton proceeds should they draft the Russian Yakupov. My guess is Gagner signs a two-year deal at reasonable dollars.
- Jeff Petry: Made $1M all-in this past season and will get a big pay increase. Petry could come out of this summer as the highest paid RFA in the group despite a lack of NHL experience. Edmonton may want to sign him to a long term deal similar in length to the one given to Tom Gilbert at a similar point in his career. He’s the one guy in the group we can be certain will return to a bigger contract and a bigger role.
- Devan Dubnyk: $800,000 in 11-12, Dubnyk should be looking at a decent raise but hasn’t been able to convince his coach that he’s the de facto starter (in spite of the evidence). I think he’ll get a raise, and maybe a two year deal, but the coming season will have a lot to do with how much money he’s going to make in his career.
- Theo Peckham: Made $1,075,000 last season but struggled badly. Peckham has some things this organization values highly and they certainly do not have a great deal of depth on the blueline. I can see this going either way: traded or re-signed. He likely cost himself a few dollars with inconsistent play this winter.
- Cam Barker: Had a tough season and is unlikely to return. Edmonton took a chance and it didn’t work out. We don’t know the extent of the injury problems and how much it hindered him and he could recover his career. I don’t think it’ll be in Edmonton.
THE ALSO RANS AND BUBBLING UNDER
- Linus Omark: Oilers will probably try to deal him and then set him free if there are no offers available.
- Chris VandeVelde: You know he’s been on the outskirts for a couple of years now but is still in the mix. VV doesn’t have much offense and his skating is not a strength but he can do a few things and has size. AHL regular and a possible callup would seem to be his role.
- Alex Plante: Had his strongest AHL season (made the All-Star game mid-season) and at the very least is back in the conversation for NHL employment.
- Hunter Tremblay: Crazy PK season, he’s a player OKC would like to see return. His injury in the playoffs coincided with a downturn in fortunes. He certainly moved up the depth chart during the season.
- Milan Kytnar: Already back in Europe, always cheered for him and glad he got into an NHL game.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The big names (Gagner, Petry, Dubnyk) are likely to return; the club has some AHL regulars like VandeVelde, Plante and Tremblay who they may see as part of the NHL future. Theo Peckham is about 50/50. I would guess Edmonton flushes Cam Barker, Linus Omark and of course they’ve already said goodbye to Milan Kytnar. The performance of someone like Alex Plante may impact the signing decision on Brandon Davidson and Jeremie Blain. The Hunter Tremblay decision may do the same for Drew Czerwonka.
The Oilers could do something fairly unique this week–graduate 10 players from one draft to pro hockey. If they sign all of Blain, Davidson and Czerwonka, they’ll join 2010 picks Taylor Hall, Tyler Pitlick, Martin Marincin, Curtis Hamilton, Ryan Martindale,Tyler Bunz and Kristians Pelss. I do not recall that many from one Oilers draft.
That my friends is 20% of the 50 man reserve list. Stu MacGregor, you magnificent bastard!
Your questions are always welcome, please email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @ItsNationRadio or Lowetide_ I also grab questions from the comments below and most of the time they’re the gems so please keep them coming. Scheduled to appear:
- David Staples from the Cult of Hockey. We’ll discuss the arena, the draft, advanced stats and the coaching situation.
- Kent Wilson, Nations Overlord. We’ll talk about positives and negatives re: Brent Sutter, Flames at the draft and their summer plans and try to find a good home for Miikka Kiprusoff.
- Corey Graham from Team 1260’s Oil Kings broadcasts. We’ll talk about the Oil Kings miracle run, the kids we might expect to see at the draft, which players will return and expectations for 12-13.
- Jim Byers from the OKC Barons radio broadcast. Jim is a gentleman and a fine broadcaster, he’s given us lots of his time this season and we’ll review a strong effort by the Barons in 11-12 and look to the future.
- Kirk Luedekefrom Redline Report. Kirk will give us a nice look at the New England kids and we’ll talk about a player Kirk mentioned one year ago on our show as being a solid prospect–and that player is extremely likely to be taken this time around.
- Peter Loubardias is a legendary broadcaster with an encyclopedic knowledge of junior hockey and the draft. We’ll discuss the Memorial Cup, the 2012 draft and the SC finals.
Hope you tune in, Team 1260 High noon and of course the archived show will appear at the Nations tomorrow.