At this point it seems reasonably probable that the Edmonton Oilers will re-sign free agent centre Derek Roy. Roy has posted 21 points in 39 games, has enjoyed reasonably good chemistry with Nail Yakupov and wasn’t moved at the trade deadline despite his UFA status.
How much will he cost?
Roy shouldn’t cost very much at all. If we look at his last few contracts and the platform year for each, this season really isn’t all that exceptional for the player:
- Summer 2007: six-year, $24.0 million contract after scoring 63 points in 75 games (0.84 PPG)
- Summer 2013: one year, $4.0 million contract after scoring 28 points in 42 games for Dallas and Vancouver (0.67 PPG)
- Summer 2014: one year, $1.0 million contract after scoring 37 points in 75 games for St. Louis (0.49 PPG)
- Summer 2015: TBD. To date he has scored 31 points in 65 games (0.48 PPG)
In raw point totals, Roy is behind his pace from last season with the Blues, a pace which earned him a one-year, $1.0 million deal with the Predators. He also cleared waivers earlier this year, with every team in the entire NHL passing him over.
What He’s Done for Edmonton
Derek Roy has really added an element that has helped our hockey club. He has a game that lends experience to our game. He doesn’t self-destruct. He’s meshed well with Yak and formed a chemistry with Yak. Derek isn’t a needy hockey player; he thinks the game very well, he puts the puck in the right areas and he’s able to complement Nail very well.
There’s probably something to MacTavish’s comment above. Roy has seen 700-odd games in the NHL and been part of two reasonably deep postseason runs. It’s possible to overstate the value of experience, but few things contribute to grace under pressure more than extended exposure to pressure. Roy played a leading role under Lindy Ruff in Buffalo both when the Sabres were a good team and then later when they weren’t; he’s seen highs and lows and it’s hard to fault Edmonton’s G.M. for thinking that has value on a young team.
But before we get too excited about Roy’s successes in Edmonton, it’s worth looking at the counterargument.
First, let’s remember the way shooting percentage can play people for fools over a small sample. Since joining the Oilers, Roy is a 17.7 percent shooter, a figure he has never topped over a full NHL season. It’s easy to get overly high on a player converting at that rate, just as Roy’s 2.9 shooting percentage in Nashville likely led some teams to underrate him. Interestingly, Roy is a 12.4 percent shooter on the season as a whole, right in the range of his career number of 12.1 percent. It would do well not to get too excited just yet, because Roy is outperforming his career numbers so far in Edmonton, and history suggests he won’t keep scoring goals at this rate.
Aside from this shooting percentage spike, the other big thing Roy has done in Edmonton is mesh well with Nail Yakupov. That has value, but it must be remembered that a) Yakupov generally hasn’t had the advantage of playing with veteran pivots and b) it only has value to the Oilers. A big shooting percentage spike over a half-season and chemistry with Yakupov aren’t the kinds of things that Roy can take to other teams on July 1, and we don’t know that Yakupov wouldn’t do just as well with Vladimir Sobotka or Artem Anisimov or someone else of that calibre.
Roy is also a small centre on a small team.
Overall, Roy is in a similar position to where he was last summer, where in a down year for centres he had to wait two weeks to land a contract and that contract he landed was what most teams would comfortably pay their fourth line centre. He has value to the Oilers (even if it perhaps isn’t as a second line option) and at the right price and term it makes good sense for Edmonton to sign him. If he’s looking for significant term or big dollars, he’s probably out of luck.
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