Free agents who could help the Oilers

This year’s crop of free agents isn’t great, but there a few players that would help the Oilers.

The best option on a long-term deal is defenceman Cody Franson.

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He is 27 years old.

He is 6’5″ and 215 pounds.

He shoots right.

He has a hard shot and can play on the powerplay.

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He has played 400 games.

He produces points and he has very strong possession numbers.

There are very few UFAs that I would sign to a five-year deal or longer, but Franson is one of them. He will be highly sought after, especially in a weak class, but the Oilers have the money and he’d replace Jeff Petry.

I see Franson commanding between $5.4 and $6 mill AAV.


The Oilers currently have eight D-men: Oscar Klefbom, Mark Fayne, Andrew Ference, Justin Schultz, Darnell Nurse, Eric Gryba, Griffin Reinhart and Nikita Nikitin, and while signing another one will give them nine, if it is a proven NHL defender who can play in the top-four then I’d do it.

Mike Green, Andrej Sekera, Paul Martin, Francois Beauchemin, Christian Ehrhoff and Zybnek Michalek are some of the better options.

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Green and Sekera are 29 and both will want long-term deals. Green is outstanding on the PP and if he plays on your 3rd pairing at ES you have a pretty good D corps. The Oilers can’t have Green and Schultz on the right side, so if they add Green, they’d have to move Schultz. Sekera is steady. The Kings are trying hard to re-sign him and offered him $4.75 over five years. He will get more on the open market, so the Kings might have to up their price, but with them terminating Mike Richards’ contract, they do have some money to sign Sekera at $5 mill or more.

None of the rest are great options, but a one-year deal would be a smart move if you could land Ehrhoff or Martin. Ehrhoff has had a few concussions, but when healthy he is a solid player. Martin is 34 and likely looking for a longer deal, but he is very smart positionally and a solid puck distributor.


Michael Frolik would be an solid third line left winger. He is 27, has scored 40+ points four times, is an excellent possession player and can kill penalties. He was a $3.3 million cap hit last year and will cost closer to $4 million now, but I’d be very interested in him on a four-year deal. He could also moonlight in your top-six when injuries occur.

Shawn Matthias scored 18 goals last season, 17 of them at ES. He had a 13.6 sh%, so a slight dip to 12 wouldn’t result in a major drop off. He is a big body, 6’4″ and 223 pounds, and he plays hard. He is also 27, which fits with the Oilers time line. In two years, when they should be a legit playoff contender he won’t be old. Last season he found some consistency, and he is looking like he’ll be a consistent 15-20 goal scorer. He is listed as a centre, but he mostly played the wing last season in Vancouver. His ability to play centre is a plus.

Scottie Upshall struggled last season and missed 20 games with an injury, but he can skate, plays with an edge and has scored 14+ goals four times. He’ll be cheaper than Frolik, and you could sign him to a shorter term. He is not an elite penalty killer, but has averaged 1:14/game on the PK for the past three seasons, so he can help out when down a man.

The ultimate risk might be Chris Stewart on a one-year deal. He turns 28 in October and he constantly teases you with his ability. He is 6’2″ and 230 pounds. When he is on his game he is a handful down low and he has pretty soft hands for a big man. He’s scored 28 goals twice, had 18 in the 48-game lockout season (prorates to 30 in full season) and scored 14 last year and 15 the previous year. If the Oilers want a bigger body on the wing with some skill, and can handle himself in tough situations if he is inclined, then a one-year deal could be a low risk. One year at $3 million.

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The Oilers don’t have much experience down the middle in their top-nine. Connor McDavid will be a rookie, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has played 258 games while Anton Lander has played 132. Chiarelli might look at adding some experience.

Kyle Brodziak, Mike Santorelli, Mark Letestu and Jarret Stoll are some of the centre options. The Oilers really like Lander’s competitiveness and hockey sense. I feel they believe he is ready to be a consistent third line centre, so if they add a centre it might be late in the summer when veterans will sign a one-year deal for cheap.

Who would you like the Oilers to sign?


My candidate for biggest overpay will be Matt Beleskey. He had career-high 32 points last season, with 22 goals. He already turned down $16 million over four years from the Ducks. Good on him for getting the money, but a GM and his fanbase will be regretting it.

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  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    I’m sorry? What was “Chia” suppose to do with Hamilton? He offered more then Calgary, and refused to over pay and give away a better dman ( Nurse in 2 years). What would all you EA NHL15 GM’s have done different? I think this has been a solid week for the Oilers new regime.

  • Cowbell_Feva

    I for one am glad the Oilers didn’t get Dougie Hamilton to an offer sheet. Not that a few Flamers fans trolling on this site have me upset, but let Brian Burke do what Brian Burke does….screw up an organization.

    Hamilton is talented, somewhat, but also played behind Chara most of his career. For some sad Flamers fans thinking he is their version of Connor McDavid…sorry…he isn’t generational. I say in 2-3 years it’s a toss up between Hamilton and Reinhardt. McDavid on the other hand will have Hamilton turned inside out for years to come. Can’t wait to see Draisaitl and McDavid together at some point down the road.

    Oh, and also, Calgary will have 14.5+million per season tied up in Giordano and Hilton after next year….have fun getting some scoring cause Gaudreau isn’t going to be a saviour.

    • toprightcorner

      I am an Oilers fan as well, but Hamilton is significantly better than Reinhart. There is no comparison between the two now and there will not be one in the future. Hamilton is a top pairing d-man that had good numbers without Chara, while Reinhart has the potential to become a solid #4 d-man on a playoff team if he reaches his full potential.

      Like others have said, the Reinhart deal was a bad overpay by the Oilers. Calgary stole Hamilton from Boston.

      • Deported to Ottawa

        Fans simply aren’t in a position to judge over payment because they aren’t aware of all the possible trades and asking prices. You’re making an assumption in a vacuum.

        You may be right about GR but again you’re trying to predict the future which as we see all to often the GM’s and scout don’t have it mastered so I think being a fan you should be a little less absolute in your statements.

        Hamilton appears to be a fine young defenceman and hopefully he works out for the Flames but one thing bothers me. Chara will be retiring soon and they just gave up on the heir apparent. The offer they accepted was less than was speculated they would receive if an offer sheet was extended and signed so once again I would suggest you temper your statements a bit.

        Given the trade value and the contract he just signed it seems like fans are much higher on Hamiltons performance than GM’s and scouts.

        Lastly in another post you claimed Stewart is a bum so I hope you retain that sentiment if he signs with the Flames tomorrow.

    • oilerjed

      Not here to troll, but your out to lunch if you think Reinhardt is that good…

      The Oilers should really only look at Sekera or Green.

      Franson will be over paid, and he’s not that good.

      Chris Stewart is horrible as well.

    • BigMcD

      Our future top pairing (Brodie & Hamilton) is locked up for around 1 million more than PK Subban. Dougie’s also locked up for less than the previous Oilers saviours Halls, Ebs and RNH. Reinhart will be good for you guys, but his ceiling is 2nd pairing, which isn’t bad. Nothing wrong with a good solid defensive defenseman, he’ll just never be that #1 stud on the back end. Hamilton also played without Chara when he was injured and thrived.

      Good luck keeping Hall, Ebs, RNH, Yak, Draisaitl and McDavid all together too. You’re looking at a minimum of 40 million between 6 players, without any defensemen.

      • BigMcD

        The reason Hamilton is making less then the Oilers Hall, Ebs ,Nuge , is that he just isn’t as good. The Oilers would have liked to have him but like I said , he just isn’t as good. So enjoy McDavid running that slow D in Calgary right into the ice.
        As soon as McDavid laces them up you will see why Bobby Orr says he may be one of the best skaters of all time.

  • It would be great to bring Brodziak home, and likely not a wallet-crusher. As far as defenseman – Martin, Erhoff, Franson, and Sekera would all be upgrades.

    But the biggest addition we could make to the blueline would be the disappearance of Nikitin, in any way, shape, or form.

  • vetinari

    Defence needs the most work and I’m fine with having 9 to 10 legitimate options on the roster come training camp and then waiving or trading guys if necessary.

    Would target Franson and either Beauchemin or Martin on defence and Matthias, Frolik and Brodziak for forwards.

    Would not expect to get all of them but at least one more defenceman and one more forward would give you trade options to try and fill other holes.

  • Ready to Win

    I can’t believe that Sweeney/Neely let Hamilton walk at only 6 yars for $5.75 million apiece. That is not much higher than the $5.5 million per year the Bruins reportedly were offering? LOL

  • TX Flame

    I don’t know what UFA or RFA can help the Oilers. But I know who can’t. Hamilton is locked up for 6 years at 5.75 avg per.
    So yeah you can sheepishly put that offer sheet back in the desk now Chia. Sorry Oil fans. .oh and it didn’t cost 7 or 8 mill a year either. Sorry.
    Have a McHamilton Day