Martin Marincin is establishing himself as a useful NHL player. The Edmonton Oilers can reasonably project Marincin as a member of the 2014-15 blueline, either as a strong callup or perhaps as part of the opening night top 7D. If he makes the team next year, Marincin will carry a “value” contract of $730,000. These are vital for teams who are spending $6M a player at the top end. How many “value” contracts under $2M do the Oilers have?
ONCE UPON A TIME
In 2006, the last time Edmonton made the playoffs, the club had elite blue (Pronger) and great goaltending (Roloson) along with some very nice veterans like Ryan Smyth and Michael Peca. They also had about half a dozen value contracts, and those deals gave the team outstanding depth.
- Marc Andre Bergeron ($931k). Bergeron played 1600 minutes in the 05-06 season, 350 of that on the powerplay. He delivered 2.74/60 with the man advantage but was pretty solid at EVs (1/60) and his 15-20-35 for the season was exceptional for the price.
- Ales Hemsky ($901,740). Hemsky played 1375 minutes in the 05-06 season, slightly over 400 of them on the powerplay. His PP/60 number (6.17) was very nice, his EV number 2.25 is quality in any era. That PP number helped him lead the team in scoring (19-58-77) and he delivered 6-11-17 in the playoffs too. A wonderful payoff for less than a million, a season to remember.
- Shawn Horcoff ($1M). Horcoff played almost 1600 minutes, almost 300 on the PP and 225 on the PK. In 05-06 he went 3-3-6 on the PK (about 1.6/60), went 4.82/60 on the PP and then 2.44 at EVs and this was against the other team’s good players.
- Fernando Pisani ($611,800). He was excellent in the regular year and ridiculous in the postseason. Pisani played 1100 minutes in 05-06, 150 on the PP. He did a lot of heavy lifting at EVs and still managed to score 1.84/60 and 3.59 on the PP. Pisani was Guy Lafleur in the post season, 14-4-18 in a run I will never forget. Ridiculous value.
- Jarret Stoll ($501,600). Stoll played 1500 minutes in 05-06, 410 on the PP and 200 on the PK. He was a pretty valuable hockey player. On the PP he was 4.53 and at EVs he was 2.35 on the way to 82gp, 22-46-68 totals. At the price, he was extremely valuable.
- Raffi Torres ($875,000). Raffi played 1100 minutes in 05-06, 224 of them on the PP. His EV number in 05-06 (2.07) was excellent. Torres’ biggest moments in the season came during the playoffs when he made some massive hits (one of which had an impact on the SJS series). At this price, he was a bargain.
VALUE CONTRACTS THIS SEASON
Marincin began this season in Oklahoma City and has only been an Oiler for 22 games (0-2-2 +4) but has been so good I think his $730,000 a year entry level deal is a good bet for bargain category next year. There are other value deals under $2M this season (Jeff Petry, Corey Potter, Ben Scrivens) but all of those players will receive raises in the summer (should they remain Oilers).
The Oilers don’t really have an obvious candidate for a value contract under $2M for next season beyond Marincin.
2014-15 OILER CAP HITS
- Taylor Hall $6M
- Jordan Eberle $6M
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins $6M
- Sam Gagner $4.8M
- David Perron $3.812M
- Andrew Ference $3.25M
- Boyd Gordon $3M
- Nail Yakupov $2.85M (includes bonus)
- Matt Hendricks $1.85M
- Jesse Joensuu $.950M
- Martin Marincin $.730M
The Oilers have UFA’s Ales Hemsky, Ryan Smyth, Ryan Jones, Mark Arcobello, Nick Schultz, Mark Fraser, Anton Belov, Corey Potter, Ilya Bryzgalov and Ben Scrivens. Denis Grebeshkov, Ben Eager and the portion of Devan Dubnyk’s contract Edmonton is eating all come off the books. RFA’s include Jeff Petry, Phil Larsen, Luke Gazdic and Justin Schultz.
I think the Oilers might be able to grab Smyth, Scrivens, and Petry on value deals, but doubt we’re talking $2M or less for any of them. The Tambellini era was so poor in terms of value deals the cupboards are bare, and MacT’s value signings (Joensuu, Grebeshkov, LaBarbera, Belov) were not a success.
The GM will need to do better in the summer.
WHAT ABOUT MINOR LEAGUES?
This is the area where the Oilers might get some value, and I think Craig MacTavish may have helped himself in a trade earlier this season.
- D Oscar Klefbom $.894M: Klefbom has been showing better lately, and that season he missed no doubt impacted the early showing. Can he make it all the way to the NHL top 6D next year? That would represent a value deal if he performed well.
- R Tyler Pitlick $.888M: That’s his number this season, he’s an RFA this summer. Pitlick looked good in his short NHL stint and could be a value contract as a 4th line player.
- C Anton Lander $.800M: Also his number this season, Lander is an RFA this summer. As Jonathan Willis has been detailing beautifully, Lander is really stepping forward offensively this season in OKC. He’s always been a good 2-way C and PK man (based on reputation) so added output could make him a value deal.
- D Taylor Fedun $.675M: RFA too. Fedun seems an obvious option for value deal, I remain surprised the club doesn’t have him in the NHL already.
- F Roman Horak $.615M: RFA as well. Oilers acquired him and he’s had a cup of coffee with them, but I think they may use him more next season (or later this year). Has value, can play. This is the player MacT acquired during the season who could be an under the radar value asset for next year.
- C Mark Arcobello $.600M: UFA this summer. This is a no-brainer for the Oilers. Sign him to something less than one million and have him play a utility role. Arcobello can play up and down the lineup and is effective.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The 2006 value deals came via the draft (Stoll, Pisani, Hemsky, Horcoff), trade (Torres) and minor league free agency (Bergeron). That’s very likely the recipe for this edition of the Oilers, with college free agents like Taylor Fedun also chipping in.
One of the main reasons the Oilers purchaced the Bakersfield (ECHL) franchise is value contracts.Signing minor league free agents without needing to include them on the 50-man list, and moving them up the organizational depth chart if they earn it. One of the key elements for Edmonton in their effort to both succeed and keep these impact kids is value contracts under $2M per year.
There’s work to do. They don’t have any.