As per the Oilers’ official Twitter feed, Darcy Hordichuk will be back for an encore performance with the team on a one-year deal. TSN reports that he will earn $850,000.
Hordichuk earned rave reviews from many covering the team for his professionalism last season. 630 CHED’s Dan Tencer immediately called the signing "fantastic, fantastic news" and praised the player’s "positive energy" and called him "phenomenal" in the room.
As far as players in the "designated enforcer" role go, Hordichuk’s not so bad. He’s a decent skater and a good enough player that he can handle a regular shift on the fourth line when called upon. He generally wasn’t asked to do that last season – he played just 43 games and averaged 4:21 of ice-time in those contests.
He’s also not a penalty-taking machine. Over the last four seasons, he’s actually drawn more penalties than he’s taken in three of them (data as per behindthenet.ca). We saw him at his best in the video above, where he goaded Brad Staubitz into taking two stupid double-minors.
There are those who won’t be a fan of this signing on general principle. I’m one of them; I personally disagree with the need to ice a Hordichuk-type player in the modern NHL. However, the Oilers have made it clear time and again that they prefer to have a guy like Hordichuk on the roster.
When it comes to players in that role, Hordichuk’s pretty much as good as it gets: reportedly good off the ice, a passable enough hockey player, and not the kind of guy who typically takes a ton of stupid penalties. He’s certainly an upgrade over a player like Steve MacIntyre, even if he isn’t the same calibre of heavyweight as the one-time Oilers’ enforcer.
An interesting byproduct of this decision might be that the Oilers opt for 14 forwards once again. Teams need to make a choice between including a 14th forward, an 8th defenseman, or a third goalie on the roster; it seems unlikely that the Oilers would choose to make Hordichuk their 13th forward given how they used him last season. That may matter because with the addition of Justin Schultz (and including RFA defenders Jeff Petry and Theo Peckham) the Oilers have eight defensemen on one-way contracts, and are rumoured to be looking to add another. This makes it more likely that they dump Peckham or Corey Potter, and if they add another defenseman likely both players will be on the outs.
This week by Jonathan Willis
- Ray Whitney signs with the Dallas Stars: Two years, $9.0 million
- Ryan Smyth re-signs with the Edmonton Oilers
- Free agency: It’s a $70 million cap world, now.
- Jay Grossman talks about the Khabibulin contract
- The UFA market for defensemen: it’s going to get ugly
- Ralph Krueger: in the driver’s seat
- Oilers’ development camp invites
- Jets re-sign Ondrej Pavelec, pay top dollar
- Oilers issue qualifying offers to seven
- Report: Oilers interested in Blackhawks’ defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson
- The 2012 NHL Entry Draft: Recap
- Should the Oilers have made a pitch for Zbynek Michalek?
- The Oilers select forward Mitch Moroz 32nd overall
- The Jets select Lukas Sutter 39th overall
- The Canucks select Alexandre Mallet 57th overall