ONE WAY OR ANOTHER

The Edmonton Oilers began July 1st like a house on fire, but cooled off quickly. Oiler fans are thrilled with the summer so far (or most are) but there’s work to be done. Is this the week something happens?

PROGRESS!

So far this summer, Steve Tambellini and the management group have done some nice things.

  • May 1: Signed Oil King winger Kristians Pelss. Speedy winger with a sneaky quick release, he’s bound for the minors but has some nice things.
  • May 31: Signed Regina Pat defender Brandon Davidson. Another part of the watershed 2010 draft, Davidson is an overager and should be able to adjust quickly to pro hockey.
  • June 12: Signed Farjestads defender Oscar Klefbom. The most talented defensive prospect in the system, there’s a chance he’ll be here for training camp. He performed so well at the prospect camp I think there might be a plan to bring him to camp and start him in OKC this fall with an eye to getting playing time in Edmonton during the 12-13 season. Unlikely, but possible. The impending lockout could dash those hopes.
  • June 19: Signed Oiler Lennart Petrell to a one-year, $825,000 contract. Petrell’s contract pays him the same in OKC or Edmonton so the plan must be to play him. Likely means one of Teemu Hartikainen or Magnus Paajarvi (or both) spends some or all of the season in the minors.
  • June 22: Selected Nail Yakupov #1 overall. The selection completes the "fab four" and gives Edmonton electric offense rolling out for the next decade or more.
  • June 27: Name Ralph Krueger head coach. Based on what has been said since that day, Krueger has great rapport with everyone and has a plan for success. Honestly, the verbal has been incredible since Krueger was hired as head coach.
  • June 30: Signed Vancouver Giant D David Musil. Musil will go back to junior unless he makes the Oilers and that’s a long shot. Musil is an outstanding defensive defenseman in junior.
  • July 1: Signed D Justin Schultz as a free agent. The Edmonton Oilers rarely score big in free agency, and to get a young man who can grow with the cluster is phenomenal. A high water mark for this team in free agency.
  • July 1: Signed L Ryan Smyth to a 2-year, $4.5M deal. A solid deal for the veteran winger, makes it extremely likely he’ll finish his career in Edmonton. His role may change this season, but the Oilers would be wise to make sure the kids earn it.
  • July 1: Signed G Yann Danis. He’ll be the OKC starter and first callup, giving the club a third option for NHL goaltending.
  • July 1: Signed L Darcy Hordichuk to a 1-year, $850,000 contract. Oilers management wants that enforcer type and Hordichuk fits the bill. Oilers can play him 4 minutes a night and not hear a word of bitching.
  • July 5: Oilers sign G Devan Dubnyk to a 2-year, $7M contract. It seemed like a lot but is in line with other goaltenders of similar experience and quality. He’ll be UFA at the end of the contract.
  • July 5: Oilers sign D Jeff Petry to a 2-year, $3.5M contract. This is insane value based on the role he played (and how well he filled it) in the second half of the season.
  • July 16: Oilers sign D Theo Peckham to a 1-year, $1,075M contract. Peckham offers the team a great deal of toughness and reports have him working hard this summer in preparation for 12-13.
  • July 20: Oilers sign C Sam Gagner to a 1-year, $3.2M contract. The two sides had discussed a longer term but both appear pleased with a shorter deal.

ARE WE THERE YET?

Steve Tambellini has a few more items on the list, like getting Nail Yakupov’s entry level deal put away. There’s also the matter of picking up another top 4 defender–Tambellini mentioned that early on in the process and some of us having good memories.

Jim Matheson’s latest column offers us some good news on Yakupov:

  • Yakupov will be signed very shortly. While other teams are signing their first-rounders and people are getting antsy for the Oilers to sign the Russian-born winger, who is back in his homeland, it’s going to get done. Likely early next week. It’s a boiler-plate, entry-level contract with a big bonus structure as the Hall and RNH deals were.

Matheson–like our own Robin Brownlee and Jason Gregor–is money when he uses that kind of language. We’ve heard less about that top 4D, especially since Marc Methot left Columbus. However, this week should be important for several reasons, including Shea Weber’s offer sheet closure.

My guess is that some of the tumblers click after Weber finds out his final address, and the defenders like Andrej Meszaros, Fedor Tyutin, Jay Bouwmeester, Keith Yandle and Cody Franson could come available. Obviously those names range in price and quality but there are still teams with business left to do and a team like Edmonton–with plenty of forwards, cap room, prospects and draft picks–should be a player.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Keep your twitter on, have Oilers Nation on your iphone and if you’re in the office check the ticker. It’s a long summer and business has been slower than usual. The Weber decision might jump start some activity and Edmonton might be involved.

And we could see Nail Yakupov signed this week. 

  • John Chambers

    I think on reflecting on all the moves they made on july1 2011 and how they have worked out they have decided to be patient.
    I don’t see were the free agents they could possibly have a chance of signing will help the team .
    The signing of Schultz was handled well.We have to credit them for that.
    Yakupov will make the team and give them more scoring and energy.
    I would think they are trying to make trades for a defender but 29th place teams spare players don’t attract a lot of interest.
    The oilers need to improve from within so that next season you can find trading partners that will take your discards.
    15th to 20th place overall would do that.

  • John Chambers

    @ gcw_rocks

    For me it’s a kind of glass-half-full, glass-half-empty kind of thing

    On the – side: We cannot compete with San Jose, Detroit, Minnesota, Anaheim, Dallas, and Chicago, or the teams who I think will round out the bottom-half of the West playoff, until we add a legit top-pair defenseman and boast a solid goaltending tandem. Adding Jason Garrison and Tomas Vokoun would’ve convinced me that we’d be there.

    On the + side: The moves we have made will have terrific long-term impact. Yakupov is another super-stud, while Schultz might be a top-pair guy in 3-4 years right when we’ll be in position to compete for Stanley. We also didn’t do something stupid like sign anyone to a Wisniewski-type contract that will end up hurting us long-term.

    Right now I think the Oilers roster puts them in 11th place in the West in ’12-’13. If we add a top-4 D like Tyutin or Meszaros, I think we’re a 9-10 team with an outside shot at the playoffs … not quite there but it’s definitely starting to turn the corner.

  • Truth

    LT,

    I’m sorry if this has already been clarified, but is that correct that Musil must play Junior or NHL, no AHL? I thought that rule was only for Junior kids the year after they are drafted (18 yr old season). As such, Pitlick, Hamilton, etc. played in the AHL last year.

    Reading it again you could be assuming the Oilers want Musil in Junior, which I know is plausible, but as you mention he is an oustanding Junior defenceman and I believe the AHL would do him good.

    • Truth

      I believe Musil could be sent down the AHL in the 2nd year of his ELC, but why would you want him to play in OKC this year (considering the log jam of defense we have)?? In OKC – I believe your top-4 would look something like Plante-Tuebert Chorney-Fedun… At this point, we also haven’t mentioned Klefbom (who I believe is heading to the SEL for one more year), Marincin or Tulupov…

      Musil will get a ton of ice time in Vancouver for at least another two years… Let him stay there – get ice-time in all situations and develop… Our biggest need on the back-end is another top four d-man… He’s a long shot to make the big club at best, and would be a #6-7 at best…

  • Truth

    Thanks for the Debra Harry pics, I never thought of her as hot but when she was popular I was in my early teens so it makes me feel young.Spent Sunday at the Sutter’s with the Stanley Cup which is completely of topic except I hope it will be paraded down Jasper and by the new arena in the not too distant future. The Oilers will improve in leaps and bounds this season

  • Truth

    I believe for Musil its junior or NHL. I also believe that the rules are that they have played 4 years of junior or are 20 years of age to qualify for playing in the AHL.

    But to comment on what we have been discussing I think Tambi gets a fail grade for this years recruitment. He spouted off during the spring that the Oil would acquire 2 top D. Well one walked into his lap, but he has done tweet to secure another D.

  • Truth

    @Dman,

    Chorney signed with St.Louis as a UFA. I am of the understanding that Musil won’t burn up a year of his ELC until he plays a year in the AHL or NHL. Pitlick and Hamilton both played 1 year of Junior after being drafted and then played last year in the AHL on year 1 of their ELC. Musil playing in the AHL this year would be on year one of his ELC. Not sure what would happen with his ELC if he gets sent back to Junior again.

    I could see Musil playing in Junior this year but definitely not next. If that is the case I would say he is off track as a prospect. If he is a standout in Junior why keep him there? Playing far inferior competition would not help him develop and the AHL is the next step up. IMO

    • Truth

      You’re right about his ELC – it doesn’t kick in until he’s playing pro hockey… Also – if he plays pro, he wouldn’t be allowed to go back to junior… He’d just get demoted to the ECHL (if he were to take a step backwards after a year in the AHL)…

      I don’t see a problem if Musil were to play in the WHL as an over-ager… Defense historically need more time to develop and the only way one develops is by ice time… Now if Musil is ready to assume a regular shift role after this year on the AHL squad, then yes, have him play in the AHL.. If not – one more year of junior won’t hurt his development… That additional time in the WHL would allow him to work on the areas he’s lacking (like foot speed) and give him the time to grow into his already decent frame…

  • Truth

    I don’t understand how we can rate Klefbom as the most talented defensive prospect in the system. He did not much in his draft year and less this year, yet he’s highly rated.

    Meanwhile, the likes of Gernat and Marincin were tearing it up in junior. =/