Edmonton Oilers issue qualifying offers to three


The Edmonton Oilers announced on Monday that they had issues qualifying offers to three of their restricted free agents. Receiving offers were defencemen Justin Schultz and Brandon Davidson, along with right wing Tyler Pitlick.

Not receiving offers: Apparently, everyone else.

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According to NHL Numbers, the Oilers had 10 restricted free agents in all, so before we get to the guys who will be back it’s worth taking a minute to look at the seven players cleared away by new management. The list includes:

  • Brad Ross, recently acquired from Toronto in the Martin Marincin trade. Ross, a second round pick in the 2010 Draft, was a failed prospect and a contract dump by the Leafs so it’s no surprise to see Edmonton cut him loose.
  • Matt Fraser. A ‘tweener at this point in his career, people wondered whether his history with Peter Chiarelli would outweigh the fact that Chiarelli had waived him earlier in the year. It did not. He’d have been fine to keep around, but there wasn’t room for him at the NHL level and there wasn’t a need for him at the AHL level.
  • Keith Aulie. A big, physical player doomed by his inability to handle the puck. Aulie accepted the No. 7 role last year and did it without any grumbling to the media about being a perpetual healthy scratch.
  • Curtis Hamilton. An Oilers’ second-round pick, injuries hurt him significantly and he just didn’t show enough when healthy.
  • Kellan Lain. Acquired in the Will Acton trade, the big forward played all of two gamesi n Oklahoma City before getting hurt. He appears not to have the necessary offence to make a go of it in the NHL, even in a defensive role. 
  • Tyler Bunz and Frans Tuohimaa. Edmonton has not had much luck with its goalie prospects, and both of these were easy decisions for the club. Bunz did manage to get into an NHL game with the Oilers.


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Justin Schultz will be back. I’d wondered if the Oilers might consider taking him to team-elected arbitration, but such a move would result in (at most) a 15 percent salary reduction and might not even lead to that. Letting him walk was another thought, but Edmonton probably did the right thing in keeping him around, particularly since there was no certainty of replacing him in free agency. 

Schultz doesn’t necessarily need to accept the offer, but after the season he just had, a quiet one-year deal at his current salary is probably best for all parties. 

Davidson, BrandonDavidson, Brandon

Brandon Davidson was a no-brainer to retain. The 23-year-old rearguard has an outside shot at being with the Oilers on opening night, perhaps in the No. 7 role, after a reasonable end-of-season cameo with the team. He will require waivers if assigned to Bakersfield (which is the likely result at this point in time).

He’s cheap insurance regardless of which level he ends up playing at. 


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Pitlick was probably the toughest choice on this list and the Oilers really could have gone either way here. I think they made the right decision in qualifying him; he’s an excellent skater, a quality guy in the defensive zone and if healthy a very good candidate for the No. 12/13 job at the NHL level. That, his youth and his cheap contract make him a handy player to have kicking around the system. 

The counterargument is that he’ll turn 24 in November, he’s terribly injury-prone and he’s been slow to develop. Those are all valid points, but at the cost of one spot on the reserve list and roughly $800,000 it’s not like Edmonton is betting the farm here. 

Allan Mitchell reviewed the Oilers’ list on this site just yesterday (he was correct on all the RFA decisions, by the way) and once Connor McDavid is added these decisions will put Edmonton at 44 players against the 50-man list, leaving them plenty of room to be active in free agency and still be able to look at the waiver wire in the fall.


  • TaylorKB

    Don’t like Schultz coming back. However I’m sure Chiarelli knows what he is doing. He probably wouldn’t have done it without Mclellan’s approval and i’m sure McLellan has watched game tape and talked to Hall and Eberle about him and is confident he can help Schultz

  • billythebullet

    With proper coaching, Jultz might turn his career around this up coming season. Eakins and MacT just wasted his development. He did OK on his rookie year. “NORRIS trophy”? Let the kid develop first!

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I see only Davidson here a year from now. The longer Justin hangs around the less that asset will net in return. Unlike the Islanders/Reinhart situation. Griffins shortcomings could easily be hidden better in the AHL. Compared to Justins game/shortcomings on National broadcasts to date.

    Hard to believe between the two of them they could eat up almost 10%/6.5 million in cap space, even with their glaring areas of weaknesses. There’s little doubt Reinhart is on this roster in the fall without having to earn his spot even though he’s not ready. Much like Draisaitl last season.

    In an attempt to justify their actions, watch the Oiler propoganda types start steering their conversations in that direction for the rest of the summer.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        I owe you an appology Brad, my bad i was incorrect. Here are the correct cap numbers.

        Schultz = 3.675

        Reinhart= 3.213

        Totalling 6.888, a tad more than the original 6.500.

        • Joy S. Lee

          Cap hit, not cap result, unless he collects all his bonuses… correct? In line with the kind of contract a 4th overall might get for his ELC?

          Yeah, I know your point is that it’s high, but if you can tell me what he has to do to achieve that contract, then I can guess as to what he might end up costing the team. Team gets that money back for the following season if he doesn’t achieve his bonuses, right? So, at that point, he kind of makes up for what appears to be that high cost. Yes? No?

          Unless, of course, he achieves his bonuses, and wouldn’t that be a kick if he did? I know I’ll be pulling for him…

          Besides, you’re just sore because you not only lost out on your prized Provorov, but then Hamilton went to Calgary. So now you’ve got a hate on for the guy who came here instead of those two. I get it, I just think Reinhart could be a lot better than some, like you, seem to think. I think it’s entirely possible that he could be better than either of those two you covet, in fact. I wouldn’t throw my money down on that, but I do think it’s possible. And Reinhart’s second contract price point will likely be less than Hamilton seems to be commanding, suggesting a superiority; but the two styles of game are a big part of that, too. When all is said and done, Reinhart may be a better bargain, and a better player. Only time will tell, either way.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            Don’t you ever get tired of bringing in kids who are constantly still a year or two away from being useful to the parent club, Joyously? This move was supposed to be about the now, not a high risk futures move like the one that took place. Did you consumed a few too many Oiler kool aid shooters when you came up with that handle? Or, does that S in there stand for Starlord?

            They know he’s a best case scenario a #4, and only then if he can bring his skating to an NHL level. He’s the same as the 2 million dollar per journeyman blue liner you can pick up at Walmart every summer….. Tiz still very much the former administration calling the shots in the most important draft in Oiler history.

            Did they even go after a kid who can atleast already skate at the NHL level? Matt Dumba is sitting right there. Minnesota is backed up against the wall/cap. He atleast would’ve helped this coming season. Provorov was a shot in the dark. Just like the attempts on Hamilton and Gibson were. Like other drafts, i was hoping they wouldn’t just settle for the absolute minimum due to them in this important draft. Peter tried and his staff interupted any progress he could have made with their dud option. A momentum killer move. Howson and MacT probably ran the whole thing on their own. Atleast they didn’t botch up the first selection.

          • Zarny

            Good grief, Howson and MacT probably ran the whole thing on their own?

            Take off the tinfoil hat. Chiarelli is calling the shots. Full stop. He liked Reinhart in his draft year and continues to like the player.

            Reinhart obviously wasn’t Chiarelli’s plan A; Hamilton was.

            Dumba is not “sitting right there”. He’s sitting in Min where last year he was a 3rd pairing D that was so sheltered he actually faced lower competition than Hunt and Schultz. That said, Min has no reason to move Dumba; certainly not for draft picks alone.

            Provorov was never going to happen. You do realize there is nothing guaranteed about Provorov compared to Reinhart, right?

            The best case scenario for Reinhart is a top pairing #2 D. Reinhart’s skating is fine; he needs to work on quicker feet which could limit him to being a 2nd pair D.

        • Alsker

          Actually the really worrying $’s are in the trio of:

          Schultz = 3.675

          NN = 4.50

          Ference = 3.25

          11+M for a combined total of a not so good “offensive d-man” and 2 pressbox guys.

        • R U Kidding Me!

          Reinhart is on .833 + bonus. The chances of him hitting his bonuses are very unlikely. The Oilers don’t have to count this against the cap, and in the unlikely event he hits it, can count against the cap next year.

          So total $4.508M

        • Tikkanese

          Actually Reinharts contract is $832,500 with performance bonuses of $2,350,000 if he reaches certain bench marks. And his cap hit is $863,333 per season for the next two seasons according to cap geek.

    • R U Kidding Me!

      Wow, all you harped on before was a change in Oiler management and all the pain being worth it if we got Connor McDavid.

      Now we’ve gotten both and you still are a dark cloud of despair every time you post here.

      Hasn’t the last 9 years of negativity been enough?

      Isn’t Nicholson, Chiarelli, McLellan and Connor freakin McDavid enough to change your attitude?

      I was the biggest critic of this team the last few years but a real fan sees when their team turns a corner. The culture change is here, the boys on the bus are no more, and this next decade is going to bring the biggest turnaround for an NHL team ever to be seen.

      And in case there are still any lingering doubts in your head just remember CONNOR MCDAVID!!

      • Tikkanese

        LOL…said perfectly some people just cannot accept change…they are so happy bitching and moaning that actually being a bit positive is a painful experiance to them.

  • Joy S. Lee


    Those teams wouldn’t have had a backbone if Hasek in his prime was between those pipes. For every bad goal you harp on, you ignore the many games DD stole when the Oilers had no business winning them. Some of those nights, DD was the only one who showed up.

    Good teams don’t make excuses. Good teams find a way to win when things go wrong. Good teams don’t drop their chin and give up because, gosh darn it, now we have to score another goal. The Oilers were a bad team, and an even worse team than we all can possibly imagine if, as professional athletes, they let something like the puck go in the net kill their desire to work and play hard.

    You accept no excuses for DD but make them for the rest of the team. That’s a bit of a joke.

    • O.C.

      Not the point of my advocate’s view, at all. Sorry you interpreted it that way.

      While he had a few good nights, and arguably we will differ in how many, the damage from the bad nights was far more damaging than the lift from good nights.


    #19 needs 1 more round.

    he has played on a crappy defensive core

    he stuck it out and now has s REAL coach

    hate to see him go to LA and score 40 points with #8

    • Joy S. Lee

      I have my doubts – his heartbeat appears to run silently – but I sure hope you’re right. I’ll be watching him with interest, for sure.

      Since you’re confident he will come out of this a good player… How long do you think it’ll take into the season before he turns the corner? Any thoughts as to when and why?

  • Jaxon

    I wonder who is going to sign Mark Visentin? Or Mark Arcobello for that matter? I wouldn’t mind if Edmonton signed Visentin. 22 yr old former 27th overall goalie in 2010. Didn’t have a great year in the AHL last year, but he might be worth holding onto a bit longer to see if he develops. Goalies don’t really mature into NHL starters until 26-ish anyway and Edmonton doesn’t exactly have a deep pool of goalies.

  • bradleypi

    I’d much rather see the Oil offer sheet Dougie to $7 by 5+ yrs than sign Green to $6 x 3+ yrs. He can then grow up with our boys and be the beast we need.

  • Joy S. Lee

    I like Reinhart, but I do think we overpaid for him. The 16 should have been enough for him. 33rd pick was unnecessary IMO.

    They have to resign Jultz. Hopefully he can turn his game around. I have no doubt that low confidence was affecting his performance last year.

    PC really needs to get someone to come in to play the hard minutes, along with Klefbom.

    Even if we do get 1 good dman that can play tough minutes with Klefbom. All the rest of our defensive corps are at a 5-6 level. We still have a huge hole to fill.

    If Fayne and Reinhart can play as our 3-4, there might be some hope for us.

    I don’t see how you can play Shultz with Nurse though, even on a bottom pairing. I guess if it were me, Nurse would be headed for the AHL for more seasoning.

    When Nurse comes into the lineup, he needs to be ready to assume a 3-4 job. Too much inexperience. You can’t play too many of our D-men together, because they will get slaughtered in their own end. If Reinhart and Nurse could get themsleves NHL ready, at leasat in their own zone, I think will be the telling factor on how our year goes.

    If PC could land 2 solid D-Men in Free agency, I think we have a chance.

    Have you noticed that Edmonton has too many D-men now? The problem is most of them are not good enough to fill any of the top 4 spots. I think only Klefbom is really ready, and I will give Fayne the benefit of the doubt, assuming he has a strong partner.

    MacT really really Screwed up with Petry. Would love to see him still in the mix right now.