THE MADNESS BEGINS….

The free agent frenzy officially began yesterday with reports the Flyers had signed Mark Streit to a four-year, $21 million contract. The Flyers can’t officially announce the signing until they shed some salary, which should happen when they buyout Daniel Briere and Ilya Bryzgalov.

Briere is an easy buyout. His cap hit is $6.5 million for the next two seasons, but he’s only owed $5 million in cash over both years. The Flyers can buy him out for only $3.33 million, while Brzgalov is a much larger hit at $23 million. Despite the massive payment to Bryzgalov you can expect the Flyers to eat that since they desperately need some cap space.

Briere will garner a lot of interest, but will Bryzgalov get another NHL deal?

I think a lot of teams will give Briere a two-year deal, and if Mike Smith doesn’t re-sign in Phoenix I could see Bryzgalov return to the desert.

Prior to his entertaining and not overly productive seasons in Philly, Bryzgalov was very good for the Coyotes. His SV% in his four seasons was .921, .906, .920 and .921. Bryzgalov is only 32, and while a KHL team could offer him more money, I suspect he feels he has something to prove in the NHL.

If Smith leaves Phoenix and Mikka Kiprusoff officially retires, would the Flames or Coyotes offer him a contract? The Flames are high on Kari Rammo, but would they enter the season with Rammo and Joey Macdonald?

QUICK HITS

  • Streit is 35 years old and not a great defender, but he can move the puck and his contract illustrates that free agents will still get paid this summer. I suspect the most sought after guys will still get large contracts, but I’m curious to see if teams can show some restraint/patience and sign lesser-lights to more reasonalbe contracts?
     
  • With Teemu Hartikainen signing in the KHL would the Oilers re-sign Ryan Jones? The two sides are expected to talk again next week, but at this point it seems like the Oilers will look elsewhere. The Oilers will be hard-pressed to find a guy who will score 17/18 goals for the same price point as Jones.
     
  •  Could Jones turn out to be the next Curtis Glencross? Glencross signed for $1.3 million/year for three years while the Oilers failed to sway Marian Hossa to sign in Edmonton. I’m not saying Jones will score 25, but considering the solid 3rd line players the Oilers have let leave Edmonton (or traded away) in the past five years it is a concern.
     
  • David Krejci is one of the most underrated passers in the NHL. Watch him closely, his passing skills are incredible.
     
  • Solid deal for the LA Kings. They signed Slava Voynov for $25 million over six years. Would you rather have Streit for the next four years at $5.25 or the 23-year-old Voynov. The Voynov and Roman Josi ($28 million over 7 years) could be good comparables for the Oilers and Justin Schultz.
     
  • I don’t see any reason that Schultz should get much more than Voynov, unless Schultz has a huge season. Voynov’s two-way game is better than Schultz’s at this point.
     
  • The Oilers need at least two significant upgrades on their blueline if they want to compete next year. At this point I wouldn’t put Oscar Klefbom in the "significant" category, mainly because it would be a big risk to have two players in your top-four with fewer than 50 combined NHL games.
     
  • The Oilers haven’t had any luck landing UFA goalies. They’ve tried to sign Eric Hartzell (signed with Penguins), Antti Raanta (Chicago) and Joacim Eriksson (Vancouver), but couldn’t land one. They are looking to sign a #2 and #3 to build some organizational depth. Anton Khudobin, Tukka Rask’s backup is unrestricted and he’d be a great fit for the Oilers.
     
  • Dallas Eakins wanted to spend last week talking with Steve Smith and Kelly Buchberger to get a sense of their strengths and weaknesses and decide if they would be part of his staff. I’d be surprised if both were on his staff. He will add an associate coach with NHL experience, and most likely one assistant. It would make sense to announce the staff before the draft and especially free agency. I keep hearing Paul Maurice is a strong candidate.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

 

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I wonder if we could pry Leddy from the Hawks. Watching the Finals, it’s pretty obvious that the Hawks are missing a legit #2 centre. So if they look to fill the #2 centre hold and if they resign Brian Bickell to big money, maybe they’d move an existing salary in Oduya or move a guy that will be looking for a raise this summer in Leddy. Now I’ve said that moving Sam Gagner to the Hawks is extremely risky. Gagner and Kane had some magic together in London, as if there already isn’t enough to worry about on this Chicago roster. The Hawks are very young, so their window of opportunity to win overlaps a large portion of the Oilers window of opportunity. Meaning the Oil will probably have to beat the Hawks just to make the Cup finals. But if the return for Gagner justifies the risk, then do it.

  • Word to the Bird

    Did you guys consider that Pittsburgh doesn’t want to trade him? And never mind giving him up, what could we offer that Pittsburgh doesn’t already have in spades? The only thing that Pittsburgh actually needs to improve is defense.

    • Eddie Shore

      Read this article by Rob Rossi who covers the Pens…

      http://triblive.com/mobile/4210621-96/letang-shero-penguins

      From the article…

      “Shero is fairly confident Letang has become a must-move player.

      That is true because Letang is not the consensus best defenseman on the Penguins, at least in the eyes of management and coaches.

      That is true because the Penguins are deepest on defense among top prospects, including a couple of first-round picks from last summer (Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maatta).”

    • Quicksilver ballet

      You’re absolutely right. If anything, Pittburgh is looking to add the same guy Edmonton is looking for. A left-shooting mobile Dman.

      I don’t think Shero would even listen to the Oilers’ offer unless it included Justin Schultz. And even then, I doubt if Pittsburgh would do it.

    • Eddie Shore

      wrong. Shero is a shrewd mother…..when J. Staal took 2 days to consider the Pens offer, he was dealt. Shero knows he can entice ufa’s to his team easy with Cindy and Malkin and he is seriously considering a shakeup in net. also, if they take ebs and lose letang, they save $1M (assuming Letang wants $7M) and then can move on from Iggy and Morrow and they will have a lot of money to go after dmen. with ebs signed long term….this is a great move for them. heck, maybe we dont even have to give away ebs!…but one thing is for sure….letang will be made one offer and if its not accepted, he’ll be gone

      • Quicksilver ballet

        How about Petry and the Oilers first in 2014, for Letang?

        I know Petry shoots right, but guys often play both sides depending on zone. Right guys play the left side on the pp, and vise versa.

        This helps trim some fat from Pittsburghs budget. Pens would be doomed if they had half their budget tied up in only 4 players.

        Letang should to be in that 5.5 realm, not anywhere near 7. He could remain a Pen, if he came to his senses.

        • Quicksilver ballet

          maybe, not a bad idea. Petry is v good and skates well. i think Petry + Maricin could do it actually but then the oil will spend over the credit card limit with ebs, hall, yak, nuge, letang and j schultz, therefore…doesnt make sense for us. we need to stagger the salaries….

      • Word to the Bird

        If I’m not mistaken, Staal didn’t want to be signed long term because he thought he could play bigger minutes in a new pond. And why wouldn’t he want to leave? Jordan Staal is much better than a third line player. So I don’t think that’s an ideal example to compare Letang to.

  • Tikkanese

    Is there any euro UFAs left bothering to go after for our backup?

    Plan A: Khudobin UFA
    Plan B: Greiss UFA
    Plan C: Trade for a Bernier, Scrivens etc
    Plan D: Theodore UFA

  • BArmstrong

    To mr common sense…

    I am not saying Letang would be a bad fit as a player bud…but… him wanting $7 mil per year long term is not a good deal for the Oilers with the studs they have coming up.

    The Oilers can get a top type young player in a trade for like Hamonic (10 pts this yr), Petroangelo (24 pts), Shattenkirk (23 pts), Nikitin (9 pts), Jack Johnson (19 pts)maybe even try to see about Del Zotto (21 pts).

    Note that these pt totals are for 48 games this yr not an 82 game schedule.

    There is also Tom Gilbert maybe being bought out as well and he can score like Letang does with the Penguins …with this Oiler team.

    All these players eat up big tough minutes as well which is good for the Oilers and the best part..is that they won’t cost anywhere as high to get as Letang would…

    Ya don’t trade for Letang then pay him $7 mil as he seemingly wants.. as like those who said to trade for him with …Ebs, Marancin, the #7 pick… especially when the Oilers know they have two to three studs for offence/quarterbacking powerplays…very near to ready full time with Schultz (22 yrs old) here now… Marancin (just turned 21 yrs)being almost here…and then there’s Gernat (19 yrs) upcoming.

    They each will not command $7 mil now like letang and they can put up the same to better pt scoring numbers.

    Thus, ya don’t trade ebs who is here for 6 more yrs at he is only 22 now and Marancin and the #7.

    Also…just listened to Kypreos and MacLean say that LA wants at least a 1st round pick for Bernier and no bad contractsgoing to them. Unless the Oilers can deal next yrs first rounder for bernier I would seek to get Khudobin more so now.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      my friend….pietrangelo? are you nuts? St Louis will NEVER trade him.

      im looking at this from a straight biz perspective.

      lets say we get Letang for 8yrs/7M….that is the window we have to maximize our run. If the Oil have not won or been in the finals in year 5 of Hall and Ebs’ contract, both will bolt..for sure. Now, if you focus your big moula on 3 fwds (hall, yak, nuge) and 2D(letang, shultz) then look for a niemi type (i dont have faith in dooby)….this is the blueprint for a championship team. sprinkle some Ott’s and Glencross’s and they will be set. Bottom line, the oil need a SUPERSTAR D….not a pretender….and we have a 5yr window starting this year to become a championship team. In that analysis….Letang fits the bill. I love Ebs, but he will command the quality we need

  • Word to the Bird

    To mr. common sense…

    I like Letang lots and to have him play for Edmonton would be fabulous…but.. I agree with…”I’d rather have Ahock and Awe than Bold” … that letang ain’t worth $7 mil biut rather more like $5 to $5.5 mil per year of which then this changes the dynamics…

    I see J. Scultz scoring better than letang in the next twop yrs as will Marancin very soon eventually as well.

    Who knows…Klefbom may just be that top stud we always wanted and he is just getting here now. Brodin (Minn) says K-man is better than him.

    I also agree with him and you now on a possible deal for him (at long term of 6 yrs at $5.5 mil)… dealing with Petry and Marancin and… say plus the next yrs’ first rounder.. from the Oilers.

    Keep Ebs..dude… cause he is gonna be a 90 pt plus scoring top winger as will Yakupov who will be up there too…and Hall and RNH. Teams cant lose top talent skills and offence in this league anymore.

    • RomZ

      Not many guys in the league get 90+ points in a season, and to suggest that our guys will all reach that plateau is crazy.

      Believe me I would love nothing more for our core to light up the league but I think we need to temper our expectations of these guys.

      Do they have the potential to get 90+? Sure, but that remains to be seen. Having a top 10 power play sure didn’t help our cause since our 5 on 5 play was lacking severely.

      That said, I think Letang would help balance this teams attack but at that price point I would be hesistant. I would not want to sign players coming to Edmonton more than what Hall or Ebs were making.