The long NHL season will conclude tonight or Wednesday and then all the focus will switch to the draft, free agency, buyout candidates and the salary cap issues many teams have. The NHL off-season has become as exciting as the regular season, well, at least in Edmonton anyway. That could change as the team improves, but for the past six seasons Oilers fans have been much more excited in June/July than they have in November-April.
This off-season will be filled with intrigue and suspense as we watch to see how new general manager Peter Chiarelli will mold his hockey club.
- Connor McDavid was in Edmonton this past weekend. He met with some of the Oilers’ brass and got a tour of the dressing room as well as the new arena by Bob Nicholson. In previous drafts the Oilers have invited top picks to Edmonton for a longer and more relaxed interview than what takes place at the combine. The difference this year, is that McDavid is the only player I can confirm they have brought to Edmonton. They might have invited others, I just haven’t confirmed any, but realistically I wouldn’t see the point. We all know they will draft McDavid first overall.
- I recognize they have the 16th pick as well, but they’d have to fly in ten different players if they were planning on interviewing kids they thought would be available there. Chiarelli could trade up from that slot, he might trade down, he could trade the pick away or use it. The options are plentiful and it is too hard to predict, even for the Oilers, what will occur with the 16th selection. which is why they don’t fly in players connected to that pick.
- The Dougie Hamilton offer sheet chatter needs to be put in perspective. Only one player in the last 17 years has switched teams via an offer sheet (Dustin Penner), but more importantly teams didn’t offer sheet P.K Subban or Drew Doughty when they were RFAs coming off their entry level deals. Both Subban and Doughty ended up holding out for a short time. Subban signed a two-year deal with an $2.875 AAV. Doughty received an eight-year deal with a $7 mill AAV. Hamilton is not better than Subban or Doughty were after their ELC. I believe the only reason a team offer sheets Hamilton is to force Boston to match and put them in a worse cap situation.
- Since 1999, only eight players have even received an offer sheet.
September 12th, 2006, Flyers offer Ryan Kesler one year, $1.9 mill. Canucks match.
July 06th, 2007, Oillers offer Tomas Vanek seven years, $50 mill. Sabres match.
July 26th, 2007, OIlers offer Penner five years, $21.5 mill. Ducks decline at get a 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
July 1st, 2008, Canucks offer David Backes three years, $7.5 mill. Blues match.
July 8th, 2008, Blues offer Steve Bernier, one year, $2.5 mill. Canucks match.
July 9th, 2010, Sharks offer Nick Hjalmarsson four years, $14 mill. Hawks match.
July 18th, 2012. Flyers offer Shea Weber 14 years, $110 mill. Predators match.
February 28th, 2013, Flames offer Ryan O’Reilly two years, $10 mill. Avalanche match.
- In that time we’ve only seen one case of “retribution”, when the Blues offer-sheeted Bernier a week after the Canucks did the same with Backes. The Sabres and Ducks complained about the Oilers offer sheets, but never returned the favour. The Oilers and Ducks have made many trades since the offer sheet. I’ve never agreed with the theory that teams don’t offer sheet players because they are worried about backlash from the other team. Teams will get mad and say things, but historically we haven’t seen much bad blood carry over from offer sheets.
- The Oilers have had six players receive an offer sheet from an opposing team. Can you name the six players (without using Internet)? I got four. **Answer at bottom.**
- Very well written article from Chris Kuc on legendary Chicago Blackhawks forward Stan Mikita. It is a sad story, but I loved his daughter’s response to Mikita’s suspected dementia and the connection to playing hockey.
“If he does have CTE, who cares? It’s not going to change anything,”
Jane Mikita says. “He played a sport and a game that he loved and that
provided us as a family with a wonderful upbringing. Hockey was good to
Stan and Stan was good to hockey. There is no finger to be pointed. He
knew what he was doing lacing up those skates every time he got on the
Mr. Mikita and his wife Jill raised an excellent daughter. I had the pleasure of meeting him in Chicago in 2012 and he was incredibly nice. He said hello to me at the arena while we were waiting for an elevator. I knew who he was of course and we spent 20 minutes talking about his era of hockey and my father’s favourite player, Dick Duff. When we got off the elevator he continued his stories. He was so gracious.
- The Oilers released their preseason schedule today. They will play eight games beginning with two games against the Calgary Flames on Monday, September 21st. You can bet Connor McDavid will play the home game on the 21st. The entire schedule is here.
- The Toronto Blue Jays are on fire. They’ve won 11 straight games and they have the most potent offence in baseball. They have scored 67 more runs than every other team. They are 3rd in OBP, but they are 1st in SLG and OPS. If their pitching can be even decent, the Jays should be in the hunt to make their first post-season appearance since 1993. I love it.
- Fun fact: Justin Schultz, $3.675 million, is currently the highest paid RFA available. The Oilers will qualify him, but being at the top of list illustrates how badly Craig MacTavish overvalued him last summer.
- Trivia answer. The six Oilers to have received an offer sheet are:
- Geoff Courtnall. The Rangers offered it to him in 1988, but the Oilers traded the rights to match it to Washington for Greg Adams. (I did not remember this offer sheet).
- Adam Graves. Again by the Rangers, this time in september of 1991. They offered him five years at a total of $2.5 million. I remember Sather was livid. Graves was coming off a seven goals, 25 point season. Sather didn’t match and the Oilers got Troy Mallette as compensation. Graves scored 52 goals in his third season with the Rangers and had three 30-goal seasons as well.
- In June of 1992, the Capitals offered Dave Manson a three year deal. The Oilers matched.
- In the summer of 1993 the Oilers and Craig Simpson couldn’t reach a deal. The details on the exact offer sheet from San Jose was hard to track down. That offer wasn’t accepted, but the Oilers then traded his rights to Buffalo. (I did not remember this one either).
- The Hartford Whalers gave Steven Rice an offer sheet in summer of 1994. Oilers didn’t match and they received Bryan Marchment as compensation. The Whalers had offered Robert Kron, but the arbitrator ruled in favour of the Oilers. Marchment was a much better player than Rice so the Oilers won this “offer.”
- In the summer of 1995, the Blues offered Shayne Corson a five-year deal. The Oilers had stripped him of his captaincy during the 1994/1995 season so predictably they didn’t match. Blues GM Mike Keenan didn’t want to give up the two first round draft picks, so he offered up Curtis Joseph and Mike Grier. That ended up being a steal of a deal for the Oilers and the main reason they won a playoff series in 1997 and 1998.
- I’d be surprised if a team extends an offer sheet for Hamilton. He is good, but how good will he become is the question. I spoke to four different NHL scouts and they all thought he’d be a solid top-pairing defender, but none were willing to say he’d be a lock top-ten #1 defender. If you pay him over $7 million/year you are expecting him to be that very soon.
- A huge shout out to all those involved in the 26th annual MS Bike Tour. The 1,925 riders raised over $2 million, but the MS society and the volunteers did a fantastic job of making the ride possible. I tip my hat to all the volunteers who spent the entire weekend smiling and being so upbeat and welcoming. Great job.
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