Edmonton Oilers qualify everyone… except Taylor Fedun

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The Edmonton Oilers issued qualifying offers to their restricted free agents on Monday, and for the most part they stayed the course. Every single RFA received a contract, with one exception: defenceman Taylor Fedun.

We can break these players into categories.

Justin Schultz

In the “no surprise” department we find Justin Schultz and Jeff Petry, bona fide NHL defenders who were not going to be given a shot at free agency. We can toss Luke Gazdic into this group too, because while his value to the team is somewhat debatable there was never any question that the Oilers were going to opt to keep him. 

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A couple of players are “can’t hurt” qualifying decisions. The choice to issue offers to Philip Larsen and Roman Horak falls under that category. Both players are heading to the KHL for 2014-15, so they won’t take a spot on the Oilers’ 50-man list and this decision simply ensures that Edmonton retains their rights. 

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Richard Bachman fills a role as the Oilers’ No. 3 goalie. Nobody in the system is close to replacing him and he’s a nice fit in that slot, so it makes sense to keep him. Andrew Miller had an uneven first pro campaign but showed some signs along the way. Tyler Pitlick has struggled with injuries but looks close to NHL-ready. These are all players it makes sense to re-sign. 

Curtis Hamilton is in the same group, but the rationale for signing him is a little more questionable. He’s had injury problems, but even when healthy he hasn’t been all that good. He didn’t even flirt with call-up status last season; he was outperformed by a long list of Barons. The Oilers clearly don’t want to give up on him, but he hasn’t shown a thing as a professional and the team has been waiting three years; players like this get cut loose all the time. 

And Fedun?

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There simply wasn’t a belief in the Oilers’ organization that Fedun was an NHL player.

The feeling was that while Fedun’s smarts were NHL-calibre, there wasn’t a future for a small defenceman with mediocre foot speed at the major league level. 

It’s an understandable assessment. I think it’s an unfortunate one because Fedun excelled in the AHL and didn’t get the kind of NHL opportunity afforded to less deserving players (Philip Larsen got a long look after it was clear he wasn’t helping; Mark Fraser later in the year) and there was some possibility that he could have been a cheap ‘tweener defenceman. 

But, it’s also hard to be overly critical of the Oilers here. Even if all went well, Fedun wasn’t going to be a top-four defender, so Edmonton’s not making a huge mistake here even if Fedun emerges as an NHL player.

With that said: It’s a shame the Oilers didn’t give him a longer look last season.  

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

  • Fact: nobody know if Fedun has a ceiling of 6/7 defender. He’s played by my count 4 NHL games. He scored 2 goals in those games. He was the Barons best D man last year as stated by Willis in many articles. Quit telling anyone about a player you haven’t seen or know anything about.

    I bet there were a few of you who watched him break his leg on YouTube. Those same ones thought he’d never play again. So, go ahead, say that he can’t be better than a 6 or 7, and I’ll laugh when he proves you all wrong again. Having played with Taylor, I can tell you that he had no quit and he takes the game seriously.

    Yes, this is the best thing for Fedun to move on to a real NHL club… But until he has the same cameo that the rest of our AHL d men have gotten, I won’t pass judgment.

    Clearly 2 goals in 4 games means he doesn’t has NHL speed and any of those qualified or further signed are better.

    LOL.

    I guess we look forward to draft again this year but I’m excited to follow this story.

  • 15w40

    Fedun sure looks like he is good people.

    Hopefully he catches on with somebody else and that was the Oilers’ motivation for releasing him.

    If he wanted to stick around and they just cut him loose because and then qualified others like Larsen, then that raises my eyebrows a little.

    Fedun to me was a perfect fit for a #7 Dman and a real stand up citizen for the amount of time he spends in OKC with other players coming up. Who better to mentor these guys about dedication and perseverance than somebody that has had to run his gauntlet to get where he is.

    Mechanical Engineering Degree from Princeton and a decent hockey player. That’s who you want showing these younger guys (not that he is old) what it takes to actually be dedicated to a goal.

    Good Luck Taylor Fedun

  • Krueger ruined Ryan Whitney’s career as well as Ryan Jones career and who know how many more careers he would have destroyed had he stayed longer. Don’t forget Krueger benched players for fighting as he didn’t want players fighting.

  • PutzStew

    You know what, I am beginning to think that the oiler Brass must read this column! Or at the least assigned someone to read this column, and find out what the fan thinks, and then, do the opposite just to prove they can…. I can’t think of any professional team of any sport, would give up on players with tremendous work ethics, results! Whereas, keeping the ones that don’t, have you????

  • camdog

    “I think it’s an unfortunate one because Fedun excelled in the AHL and didn’t get the kind of NHL opportunity afforded to less deserving players (Philip Larsen got a long look after it was clear he wasn’t helping;”

    “But, it’s also hard to be overly critical of the Oilers here.”

    —————————————————————————————————————————
    With the season over I was very disappointed that he didn’t get to string together 6-7 games in a row. It would have been nice to watch a guy that cared in the last games of the season, especially after he came back from that injury. The Oilers way is to play guys with skill and no heart, that’s what I have found most disappointing about the past 8 years. Maybe it’s because I associate more with the Marchant, Grier, Moreau types, but if I have to watch another season of skilled guys who don’t care, I am going to be pissed.

    As to not resigning Fedun, the writing was on the wall last March/April, when they refused to play him.