It’s been a long year on the ice. Some positives, some improvement and some hope for better days ahead. An increase in wins, in goal differential and another lottery ticket about to be punched. Perhaps the best news of all? Cap room. Lots and lots of cap room.

In order to improve next year’s Oilers significantly, the management is going to have to spend close to the cap. Right now, they have $21M in cap room and very few contracts to worry over. Ryan Smyth (UFA), Lennart Petrell (UFA), Darcy Hordichuk (UFA), Sam Gagner (RFA), Linus Omark (RFA), Cam Barker (RFA), Theo Peckham (RFA), Jeff Petry (RFA) and Devan Dubnyk (RFA) are up for new contracts and Edmonton will retain several of them.

Smyth, Gagner, Petry and Dubnyk will cost some coin, but with 21M to spend Edmonton should be able to add a major option on the blueline via free agency or trade.


The most interesting name on the free agent list (and that list is getting smaller all the time) is probably Dennis Wideman. However, the odds of Wideman signing with the Oilers for market value are not high–he’ll have several teams interested and the Oilers overpaid Sheldon Souray to come here and that didn’t work out well.

The more likely scenario is a trade, possibly a three-for-one deal along the lines of Brewer, Woywitka and Lynch for the Human Rake. Those deals are tough to do, but Edmonton does have some nice things and there are several teams entering the summer with cap issues.

The Flyers for instance signed Nicklas Grossman to an extension yesterday and their 12-13 cap space won’t let them walk to the corner store and buy a pack of smokes. This could mean a player like Matt Carle (UFA July 1) might shake loose, or perhaps Edmonton could trade for his "rights" and then get a deal done before July 1st. They could also take that route to get the best available defender; the "Pronger" this summer is no doubt Ryan Suter, but I don’t know if Edmonton has the horses to make that deal work (maybe the lottery pick?) and even after you make the deal signing the player is an obstacle.

That’s a balls out move though, and the kind of thing Edmonton management is going to have to push if they want to move up significantly in the wild, wild west. College phenom Justin Schultz also remains a possibility and he would cost only money (no assets).


We should find out soon about GM Steve Tambellini, if he’s not on a plane to Toronto for another lottery shuffle this week that might be a tell. Coach Tom Renney’s situation may take a little more time, these things usually get announced either right after the season or after the playoffs.

I think it is reasonable to wonder about both men since there’s no contract for either.


It’s another summer with plenty of opportunity for an active news cycle surrounding the Oilers. Ownership, the arena, the GM, coaching staff, the draft, trades, free agency, the CBA negotiations, hell maybe Gretzky’s looking for work by now.

Expect the unexpected. Who said that, anyway?



A busy Saturday, noon start on Team 1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Jonathan Willis from the Nations Network, Cult of Hockey, Hockey Prospectus and ESPN Insider. We’ll talk about the Oilers season, the draft, the importance of adding a defenseman and other items that might be on the shopping list.
  • Jason Gregor from The Jason Gregor Show on Team 1260. There’s a reason his show is a must listen for Edmontonians, Jason has an opinion and brings it every time. We’ll discuss the Oilers management, the draft and I’ll ask how many holes the Oilers can close up in one summer.
  • Danny Gray from Leafs Nation, It’s been a weird year for Toronto and the knives are out for everyone. I’ll ask Danny what the Leafs need to do and find out which defender might be available via trade.
  • Corey Graham Edmonton Oil Kings pbp man updates us on the team that cannot lose these days. Edmonton is up in their 2nd round series and Oiler prospects are looking good. We’ll get an update from Corey.
  • Kent Wilson from Flames Nation and Hockey Prospectus. Calgary is facing an off-season of great change, and Mike Keenan didn’t make things better. We’ll talk about it with Kent.
  • Robert Cleave from Flames and Jets Nation. Robert gave us great insight into the Jets down the stretch and this time we’ll talk about the owner’s sublime press conference, the entertaining coach and the team that conquered central Canada this winter. 

Please join me, it’ll be a blast.

  • Lowetide

    I doubt the 1st rounder makes this year’s team and the Oilers. The key contracts will be Smyth, Gagner, Petry and Dubnyk. That won’t cost them 14M and with those players signed EDM will have 20 NHL contracts. 21 if you include Paajarvi.

    Of course it’s all fluid until July because some of these players (Gagner, others) might be moved out.

    • Lexi

      I think Grigorenko would takes Gagner’s place and improve that position immediately. Sorry Gagner.. Great attitude.. lots of try. But just not good enough as a 2nd line Center on a Stanley Cup contending team. And Grigorenko is an immediate upgrade.

      • Skidplate

        Would you move Gagner up to wing with Eberle and RNH? And play Grigorenko or Galchenyuk with Hemsky and Hall. Or trade Gagner and MP for a top 10 pick to get a chance at a Dumba or Rheinhart. The nice thing this year is that whoever is GM is going to have alot of options to trade and draft players for position.

        • Time Travelling Sean

          I like your second option personally. A Gagner/Ebs/Eberle line maybe just a tad small to handle a playoff run. I think adding a player with grit+skill+size into the top 6 is needed greatly. Grigs adds size and may not have a mean streak but scouting reports say he doesnt shy away from the physical side of the game and at 6’2″ and 202lbs at 17yrs old. Its possible we are looking at a 6’3″ 225 lb player when its all said and done. IF we could then also parlay Gagner + Prospect into a quality D already in the NHL or top 10 pick i think it would have to be considered a successful off season.

  • Mason Storm

    I don’t see all the cap space.We will have 21.45 m space if cap stays the same.
    We have to sign the following salaries my guess.
    Smyth 3.5
    Gagner 3
    4bottom six forwards 4
    Petry 2
    First pick 3.8
    Dubnyk 1.5

    That adds up to 21.2 m.there is a rumor that cap will increase by 6 or 7m.
    We would have to use that to sign Justin Schultz a UFA defenceman and Ted if we want him.
    The next year they have Hall and Eberle that I am sure they will want to lock up for 6 or7 years .they will have cap space for that but they will have to sign the Nuge the following year.
    They have to avoid signing any more bad contracts like Eager and Belanger got or we will be in cap hell.That’s why if Smyth won’t take a home team discount they have to let him walk

    • We have $21.45M including the Smyth, Gagner, MPS, Dubnyk and Petry current contracts. The hit to that figure would be the increases (or decreases in Smyth’s case) each of those guys will get, not the entire amount.

      Thus craploads of room for that sick, sick D-Man. Overpay the hell out of him I say.

      A decent goalie wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

  • John Chambers

    I’m thinking the Oilers might be able to fish a guy like Gunnarson or Gardiner out of Toronto as the price to trade down. This way we still draft a Forsberg or a Dumba, and a potential top-4 D. The work shouldn’t be done there though … Webshould seek to overpay one of the UFA d, but only on a short-term basis.

    Hey Mr. Suter, how about a 2-year $17M deal?

  • DieHard

    My this going to be a massive summer in terms of pressure to ensure that the 2012-2013 ends in playoff cheers rather than lottery picks,

    The provincial election is going to be huge. The impact that the results have on the Oilers and Flames franchises is going to be huge. The level of backroom politics probably increases 10 fold as soon as the election signs went up. The arenas are a huge issue in both cities. The Wildrose and the Conservatives appear both steadfast against provincial tax dollars being “directly” spent on new Arena buildings. Its a story that continues to develop and grow.

    I think that tonight is the last we see of ST and Tom Renny. Daryl Katz and Klowe I think will look to new managment to move this team to the next level. Terry Jones believes that there is a deal in place awaiting the end of the season. He is as astute a fellow as there is in this city but the overriding message from ST and company has been that you are eveluated on your body of work. The results have not been there. But the dirty work to get to this point has been shouldered by ST and Renny.I think ST has done an adequet job but not great. I think Renny and his staff have performed above expectations with the players they have been given.

    The overwhelming feeling that I get is that we were left wanting more this season. I expected more from Bulin. He is done. Eager? Where was he most of the year? Belanger? Great player but dosen’t fit. Square peg in a round hole.Barker? Who can figure out this gut deserves a PHD in Psychology. Omark? The guy to blame for our 29th place finish. Apparently the goat who never was. Bizzare. The guy only scores and he is not good enough to play on the 30th and 29th place team? Shades of Ray Whitney.

    Oh I forgot we all have to be the Boston Bruins to win. First it was we have to look like the Hawks. Now its like the Bruins. Coke machines. Talent? LIke Tyler ennis and Daniel Brier and Ryan Whitney. These guys can’t play in the NHL. Can they?

    The Oilers need to stop looking at the soup du jour and focus on thier philosophy. Speed and skill. Size is nice if it comes with the latter two but it should not be the determining factor on who plays on this team and who dosen’t. The Brownleeism “Runt in,Runt out”, should not be the teams policy when it looks at putting together its roster.

    Lastly.Is Ryan Murray the real deal? And should the Oilers look at Mitchel Moroz and Henrik Samuelsson in this years draft. They both bring size,skill and grit. I like both of them and would be happy to see them both drafted by the Oilers. Along with Travis Ewanyk. The Oilers would definitely improve thier level of talent on the 3-4 lines in the coming years. Add Pitlick and Hamilton and the quality in the bottom 6 will equal or surpass most teams in the league moving forwad.

  • Mason Storm

    “expect the unexpected” is most famous from Oscar Wilde. His original quote was “To expect the unexpected, shows a thoroughly modern intellect.”
    Before you go thinking I’m smart, I googled it. Can’t be a hockey nerd and a book learning nerd at the same time.

  • Stack Pad Save

    I think this is the off season were we see Management do something huge and the team starts to take meaningful strides to becoming playoff contenders or we do the usual nothing and become NYI east IMO.

    I hope the Oilers draft Gregerenko with the 2nd pick and use Sam Gagne, Theopeckham and a good prospect for a BIG name D-man to eat huge minutes.

    • Stack Pad Save

      I agree this summer will be different as well.

      For those who think Tambo should be fired, i ask this question: Was his mandate these last 2 years to finish as high in the standings as possible? Or was it to lay down the foundation for a new team, and begin development of a new core to eventually become an elite team that can contend for a long time?

      Now if it was the former,than yes fire him. Although if it was the latter, than imo it would be reasonable to suggest that he has done his job.

      He has already stated that he will be making some serious moves this summer to seriously contend moving forward.

      I think he should get the benefit of the doubt for one more year,as this will be the year we can finally judge his performance based on the teams record.

      I still have faith in the rebuild, but from this point forward this team has to be at least a playoff contender, or ST probably doesn’t make it to next summer.