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?


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.


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.


  • 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.


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.


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.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    So the smart play is to start Marincin and Pitlick in the AHL, reduce their value, call them up, send them down as injuries require, and sign them to value extensions.

    That probably won’t work with Marincin, he’s got a good idea what he’s worth now, but it might work with Pitlick.

    Hopefully this is the same strategy the Oilers are pursuing with Lander. Secretly they’re delighted with his progress, but want to sign him for 3-4 years for cheap.

    • Lowetide

      The worry with Pitlick is that he’s (iirc) waiver eligible. I think the Oilers need to keep him up next season if he shows well at camp again. The guy looked good in his cup of coffee.

      • Romulus' Apotheosis

        “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).”

        If they re-sign Potter, I don’t see him making more than 2M.

        “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.”

        I would argue Belov has been a success. It’s not his fault Eakins has strange preferences.

  • Batfink

    I can’t watch Marincin without expecting him to screw up, or go Oilers on us! What a pleasant surprise he is turning out to be. If he turns in to that dependable 3/4 that can log 1/2 minutes in a pinch if needed, then what a find. As Stauffer said last night, he just makes the simple plays simple. When his skate buggered up, I thought “that doesn’t look like him.” Of course I didn’t know then that his skate was broken, but I knew that wasn’t his usual play. If only that carried over to the rest of the team. Too many times there are WTF head scratcher decisions made on and off the puck. Can’t decide if this is player or coach incompetence. Leaning toward coach, as some of these players have played for very good coaches (Ference, Perron) and didn’t make those mistakes there.

    People are saying Petry is a calming influence on Marincin, but what if it was the other around way, as it appears to me? Petry is the one guy on the Oilers that has me praising and cursing on the same shift. One minute I’m wondering who that stud d-man is who made that awesome play, then 15 seconds later I’m shouting “STONE HIM” at the TV!

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Value contracts and Edmonton in the same sentence. Think the Oil are atleast 3 yrs away from creating a competitive team other players may want to be a part of. The only bargains available to this Oiler team for the foreseeable future will be with their entry level players terribly restricted by the first 7 yrs of their pro career. Established NHL players routinely turn down Edmonton offers to play elsewhere for less. Difficult to vision Edmonton even having a competitive team with adequate depth again under Lowes current structure/plan. Kevins rebuild needs a rebuild I’m afraid. Drafting high and hoping these kids turn into superstars quickly hasn’t panned out. The losing culture begins and ends with the decisions of this management group.

  • bazmagoo

    2-3 of Marincin, Klefbom, Nurse, Ekblad?, Gernat, Fedun, and Musil on the blueline could equal some value contracts on the blueline over the coming years. Even if only 2 of them panned out that would open up some pretty significant cap space.

    • a lg dubl dubl

      I hope only Fedun and Marincin make the team next year, any more than that from your list and its top 5 pick again next summer.

      With all but Marincin and Ference becoming RFAs or UFAs this summer Im hoping MacT completely re-vamps the defence, with the odd resigning for depth.

      • bazmagoo

        I agree, 2 max of the defenders I highlighted but I wouldn’t put any stipulation on who they are. Whoever plays the best, irregardless of age, salary, pedigree, size, etc. Impossible to know who that will be.

        • a lg dubl dubl

          Indeed, I think it’ll be Marincin, unless he completely goes sideways, and Fedun over Klefbom just because of his injury early in the year.

          Anymore dmen on the team next year with under 100 games to his resume and its groundhog day all over again.

  • Chainsawz

    The cap was $39 million in 05/06. What constitutes as a value contract has changed slightly. I’d consider Gordon’s contract a value contract when cap gets over $70 million next season.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    You know what Id like to see, Smyth stepping behind the bench as an assistant coach next season and Smith and Bucky moved to other roles on the team, pro scouting maybe.

    • Serious Gord

      Good god.

      The old boys part deux? What’s next? Bringing smith and Pisani back as well so they can be FOKs and remininisce about their cup run with Katz?

      Some oil fans really make me shake my head – including Katz.

      • a lg dubl dubl

        So I guess Buffalo is doing the wrong thing by bringing back Lafontaine and Nolan, or Colorado with Sakic and Roy, or Possibly Calgary bringing back Newindyk as gm.

        My point is teams do it all the time, get over it! I for one don’t mind it when teams do that, yes the Oilers have sucked for the last 8 years, but heres a news flash for ya bud the Oiles have sucked since the mid 90s without “the old boys club”.

        Get off the wagon if you don’t like it.

        • Serious Gord

          They sucked in the 90s primarily because of financial constraints.

          They suck now because of incompetent management that came about because of the OBN ethos.

          Favoritism ‘works’ sometimes – but more often than not it fails. As for your specific examples – I think the buffalo example has the potential to be a spectacular failure. And Roy while being an alumni also did the right thing in proving himself in the minors first.

          Need I remind you that that is not the case in EDM where if the rumors are true the owner tried to hire mess to be head coach without even an hours worth of pro hockey coaching experience.

          And here you are recommending yet another oilers player fresh off the ice getting a nhl coaching job. Put him down on a junior hockey team where he can learn the trade.

  • Rocknrolla

    Lowetide, do CHL franchises break even, or make some money? If yes, why don’t the Oilers have 3 junior teams (Q, OHL and the dub) and a team in the AHL and ECHL.

    The junior team’s management could be our scouts. We could then trade our draft choices on to one of our junior clubs that would be placed into our player development system.

    Coaches, trainers and management could also be worked this this new hockey operation.

    And the system would generate a profit that could be put back into player development or maybe one plane to move all the player from city to city?

  • **

    this article kind of puts the past 8 years into perspective. The oilers have built zero depth in their organization. Only the d men are slowly beginning to develop.

    This is further proof that whoever has been calling the shots the past 8 years has failed miserably.

  • Rocknrolla

    Good point, but the difference in cap from 2006 to next year is substantial.

    $39 Million in 2006, nest year could be $75 M. That’s almost double.

    So is a new value contract less than $4M?

    • Serious Gord

      Very unlikely it will be that high. With the falling exchange rate it will be more like -68 million.

      That’s about 8% more than this year. And with the continuing softness in the US economy and the early stages of a bear market in commodities it could level off or even go down until the recovery once Obama is removed.

      • Serious Gord

        Market trends are not linear. At best they follow a sine pattern, with a trending pattern. Making economic predictions is like predicting the weather.

        An “early-stage” commodities bear market is a meaningless statement, since you haven’t quantified your claim with any figures. Are you saying that the commodities (in itself too broad a term – are you talking about a single commodity, or a representative basket?) are exhibiting contango or backwardation in their futures curve? You’ll see by simply googling a “light sweet crude oil futures price” that the futures prices are in backwardation – ie. futures prices are lower than the spot price and the market expects them to rise in the time to the futures’ expiry. Hence, the outlook for LSC is bullish.

        Perhaps you should quantify your bearish statement.

        Next: Obama won’t be removed – his term as President will have come, and a new president will be elected.

        • Serious Gord

          1. Obama will be removed when his term expires. Thanks to term limits he will not be allowed to do more damage. Believe it or not there are some in his Marxist camp who want to test term limits.

          2. Commodities – a look at the five year crb shows that the overall market began the bear in late 2011. The trend continues downward and as high priced oil and other commodity hedges expire realized revenues in the commodities will decrease even more. Canada is a commodities economy – the decrease in the dollar reflects that decline. And Canadian revenues are a very big part of the salary cap (30-35%?).

          • Serious Gord

            1. His tenure will be judged by history, like everyone else. I do believe there are some wingnuts in his party, just as I believe there are fruitloops in the Republican party.

            2. So is this really early stage, or is it the late-stage, trough, or early recovery? Plus we haven’t even addressed the magnitude of this so-called bear market. Sounds to me like Serious Goes could be renamed Chicken Little!

          • Serious Gord

            I don’t know of any GOP types who believe in the removal of term limits – that seems to be Solely a dem favorite – fond memories of FDR perhaps.

            The commodity market tends to go through long cycles (not surprising considering the long lead times required to add production or unwind it in most commodities) lasting several years – usually less than ten for bull markets and longer than ten for bears. So we are likely in the first quarter.

      • Serious Gord

        NOOOooo! Klefsy is special….I just KNOW it.

        ALL prospects become future superstars once they enter the oiler organization.

        Klefybaby will score 65 points next year and lead the NHL in +/- if the frikn assistant coaches don’t hold him back.

        If Katzy would just fire the assistant coaches, the oil would challenge for the cup.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      *IF* Nurse and Klefbom made the team next year, it would be an interesting problem, wouldn’t it? along with Marincin, Mr. No Trade Clause Ference, Petry, J Schultz and maybe Fedun where would there be room for a good UFA d-man?

      • GVBlackhawk

        If the Oilers go into next season with that defense, the only problem they will have is deciding between McDavid or Eichel.

        Three more rookie defensemen plus Marincin?! The Oilers need veteran D.

        • Quicksilver ballet

          When the new building opens, Ekblad, Marincin, Nurse and Klefbom will all be in their second/third year. As unpopular as it may be, it’s become apparent this is managements plan. Face first in the mud for one more year.

          Nurse, Klefbom and Ekblad all held back next season so the Oilers have a shot at McDavid.

          Unless they can pull Shea Weber out of a hat and help expedite this plan a few trs, I agree with this plan. When winning is important again, we’ll all know it.

  • Mason Storm

    Try and trade for Ehrhoff. 4 million cap hit and the same in real dollars. Only thing is he is signed for 7 more seasons. He’d be a top pairing 25 minute a night d-man for a few years tho. I think that would be a value contract

  • Mason Storm

    6 Rings and McT should study what the Flames just accomplished. Signing Kris Russel to a bridge contract without shelling out the ridiculous dollars for unproven performance! A great young 4-5 defensman 2 year contract $2.6 per year. Learn the management game 6 rings!!

  • Serious Gord

    We have so much dead wood in terms of contracts coming off the books this off season. I am so excited to be rid of players like Eager and Grebby and so forth. Are they not just a drag on this organization going forward.

    We need room for guys like Yakimov,Slepyshev,Khahari,Simpson and Moroz.And so forth.

    In terms of value contracts we need to look at signing guys like Arcobello and Smyth to reasonable contracts. Like 1-1.25 range.

    The value contract are in the bottom six.There might be one in the top 6 but that depend on how they draft.

    If I am MacT though the guy I trade is david Perron. He has massive value right now to a team looking for scoring.The return could be just what the team needs.

    The pundits talk about trading Eberle. They are drinking koolaid if they think that will happen. Not a chance.Perron has monster value. Buy low sell high. How much is he worth to a team like Montreal with a guy like Patches going down tonight with an injury.If its serious? Perron imo is the guy that brings the most value because of his skill,tenacity which plays perfectly for a team going into the playoffs.

    look forward to March 5.

  • Serious Gord

    I’m sorry but I agree a lg dubl dubl if you hate every member of the old regime so much, you haven’t been around the team long enough to say anything at all. Personally I would enjoy if they brought back a guy like Jason Smith he has the the leadership qualities that would add to the influence Eakins has applied to this team.

    Frankly I have seen growth in this team.

    These kids have all the sudden become professionals. I see respect for there coach and I dont beleive we are looking at the same team as in October. These players are playing 2way hockey now. The future is better for it. Mac T has revamped the goaltending mid season.(no easy task) He has also added much needed toughness. I agree Lowe, in the position he is in, is stale. But if he really isn’t pulling the strings then who cares.

  • Serious Gord

    I think you can use a slightly wider definition of a value contract.

    If you assign a budget target to each line such as:

    1st line: $18M
    2nd line $12M
    3rd line $6.5M
    4th line $2.8M

    1st pair: $10.5M
    2nd pair $6.7M
    3rd pair $3.7M

    Goalies: $6.7M

    Press box players: $2M

    Retained cap space for deals: $2M

    Then any contract you sign for a QUALIFIED player on a line that gets you below the target becomes a value contract.

    The Oilers have no value contracts on the top line, or (assuming Yak at $3.9M incl bonuses) on the second line.

    If Hendricks is on the 4th line, he is the anti-value contract.

    The Oilers need to be careful with the bottom 4 on defence and how much they spend.

    Note: Budget based on averages from Boston, Chicago, Vancouver, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and San Jose

  • Serious Gord

    A lot of people want to dump every ex-Oiler out of the city, who may I ask is out there to replace them with? I agree with a change in the assistant coaches should happen after the season but not holding my breath.
    Kevin Lowe did a better job before the lockout and for the most job pi$$ poor from then until Tambo,
    Tambo made bad signings I think to keep the team in the lottery and this was with K-Lowes help and quite frankly made him a scapegoat.
    The one thing that I wonder about isn’t the POHO also involved in the Oil Kings that have been absolutely a top notch organization?

    • Serious Gord

      Oil kings a top notch org? Not sure about that. They are profitable as are all who teams in big cities. As for the on ice product the juniors are very cyclical due to the short “careers’ and the draft – you suck for a few years and then you do well.

      • Serious Gord

        Point taken, but they have done an excellent job in drafting and developing their talent,lots of top draft picks the last two years off this team and are at the top of the east and certainly were not expected to do so this year.
        If people are going to be critics than they need to give credit when merited as well as criticize.

  • Rdubb

    the only way MM isn’t on the Oilers starting defense next season is if MacT goes out & signs 5 higher profile d-men…
    I see Edmontons looking like so for next yr;
    Ference – J.Schultz – MM – Petry – Fedun – Nurse
    Perhaps Nurse (& I am not sure of this or not with the new CBA and his age) could start the season down on the farm with Klefbom & Gernat, if so, I think that’ll leave Edmonton to add 2 or 3 veteran d-men. Edmonton could carry Fedun as the 7th D, but if that’s the case, then I think he’d be better off in the OKC.
    I also see Petry as “trade bait” too. It is always brought up about Edmonton’s top 6 being to similar, well, their defensive corps are very much the same, and I think MacT & Eakins see J.Schultz, MM, Fedun & Nurse as more valuable pieces going forward. The only thing is that they can “hide” Fedun & Nurse for @ least one season if needed…