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.

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.

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.

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.

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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  • 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

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    I know before PC was brought in there was a bit of talk of bringing in a vet center to potentially be that 12th/13th forward. Any chance we go with former captain Shawn Horcoff or underrated Scott Gomez?

  • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  • Double Dees

    I could see Oilers going after Brad Richards for a couple of years while McDavid , Lander and Draisaitl transition and get their feet wet in NHL . He is currently making 2M . He should have no problem maximizing Yaks abilities either .

  • Young Oil

    Players who are being bought out (Hodgson, Semin etc)may also be worth mentioning, lots may take a one year deal for cheap in an attempt to re-establish themselves in the league, and if they do well they can be re-signed or flipped for a pick at the deadline.

    Riley Nash also didn’t get qualified by Carolina, he may also be a good candidate, if he’s matured a bit and would consider coming back here.

  • Ready to Win

    I saw the first post on this thread and I stopped reading. I am disgusted with the refusal of ON officials not to deactivate this troll or even explain why they won’t. You are ruining a good fan site. Congratulations.

    • Reg Dunlop

      Seriously? I can’t imagine how dull this site would be if we all bowled in the same lane. And of course there is that freedom of expression thing. I always welcome the input of our southern brothers, until Hamilton scores the winner over the oil and then WIELD THE BAN-HAMMER!

      • BigMcD

        Sorry, but I live in an adult world, where playing with trolls is not just stupid, it’s boring. There is no danger of everyone bowling in the same lane here as a cursory read of almost any thread will confirm that there is plenty of healthy banter and disagreement. The danger, which is becoming a reality, is that this site is turning into a child’s sandbox, or a snowball fight with trolls who are delighted to find dim bulbs they can play games with. This may be your idea of a good time, but it is not mine.

        • M22

          ^ This ^

          When Oilersnation was younger, some of the best, wittiest, most thought-provoking articles and posts I’ve seen on any sports sites were right here. Still, there was plenty of room for dissenting opinions. People were challenged regularly, by authors and other posters, to explain their seemingly wacked-out takes. This site was entertaining AND interesting!

          Now? Childishness, idiocy, and small minds clutter these pages – not frequently, but constantly! Where this site once attracted and encouraged quality banter, it seems to be slowly slipping in its standards. But, that’s likely the price of rising popularity that Oilersnation has seen in the last year or two.

          Even though it pains me to read the nonsensical ramblings of Serious Gord, the snide, snotty chirps of bradleypi, and Pelham’s one-man crusade to make sure every single person spells it “McDavid”, not “McJesus”, there is a place here for them.

          It’s the ones who have NOTHING to contribute, no INTENTION to contribute, and likely very little ABILITY to contribute, that I’d love to see swept to the curb (it’s obvious which trolls I’m talking about). Unfortunately, as this site becomes more successful, it’s likely it’ll be driven increasingly by hits, and less by quality.

          • BigMcD

            I was with you up until the “McJesus” part.

            Since many people here have no problem with the offensiveness of it, I’m thinking we could be fair and refer to him as “McMuhammad” on alternating weeks.

            Of course, I wouldn’t want to be working in the OilersNation offices on those weeks . . .

    • Joe Mamma

      I agree. They’re not doing anything because we keep reading. I think it’s time the readership takes matters into their own hands. I’m tired of it. You’re tired of it. And there are certainly countless others that feel the same. It’s time somebody around here takes a stand against this crap.

      So let me be the first.

      Until such time as ON takes steps to get rid of flagrant trolls like ultrathinzigzags,The Great Walter White, Clyde, et al, I am boycotting this site.

      It’s unfortunate, because I count ON as one of my favorite sources of oiler news and opinion. But I’m tired of coming here only to wind up feeling irritated. This is OILERS NATION. Not flames nation. They have their own damn site, and guess what trolls, it’s not OUR fault it sucks. It’s yours. How about instead of spending hours daily trying to make oiler fans mad, why don’t you focus on making your pathetic site better? Contribute something other than strife and discord for once in your pathetic life.

      How sad is it that I miss the days of DSF, Serious Gord, and New Age Sys? At least those guys actually believed what they said, and could even be proven wrong on occasion. Not these malignant little pukes that come on here everyday, poking everyone in the chest all day, then crying when someone finally smacks then in the mouth. Their “opinions” are just contrived garbage designed to frustrate and annoy, and even when you prove them wrong, they just circle over to some new topic.

      It’s tiresome. It’s frustrating. And you know what it isn’t? Informative or entertaining. And that’s what I come here for.

      Well guess what BM, Wanye, and gang? If you don’t give your customers what they come to you to provide, they stop being customers.

      This isn’t the only blog out there, and I can think of one in particular (run by one of your writers ffs!) that’s certainly starting to make this place look bad.

      Until such time as you guys start cleaning up this cesspool of the trolls, I am out

      • STR8 SHOOTER

        Trolls should make you laugh. Not irritate you. They are beneath you. They make no valid points. I find it comical.

        Do you really think that guy truly believes that getting Hamilton is even in the same stratosphere as getting McDavid? Of course he doesn’t, no sane person does. Hamilton is a above average defender. Good trade for the Flames but he is by no means a franchise changer. He is just a quality part.

        The Oilers have 4 or 5 forwards better than the Flames best forward and one of those players is the next Crosby. He knows that, that’s why he’s here!

        Letting it get to you is silly.

        • Joy S. Lee

          I come here for Oiler related discussion, including heated debates and differences of opinion.

          I don’t come here to get insulted, nor to wade through sad ramblings of people who only come here to clog up the site and stir up crap.

          My favourite political forum has turned into a gong show with the trolls disrupting discussion, just like some of the boneheads here. All the good, thoughtful regular posters have left, leaving it an angry flame site.

          After a while it’s just not worthwhile to come here and wade through the garbage.

          I am totally against censorship, but OilersNation has banned many posters for inflammatory statements – political and personal.

          A little rivalry ribbing is good fun, but I would have no problems with banning the IPs of those who come here just to disrupt.

      • BigMcD

        If you come here for the articles like I do then why is it necessary to read the comments? Censorship is never the answer. If you don’t like what you see change the channel.

      • Joy S. Lee

        You’ve got a point. Intelligent people might participate more if they felt like they weren’t banging their heads against a wall. But conflict does create emotion, so there is that. Family site, too, so some of these people might be all of ten years old. At least it sure seems that way. Ignoring is the best tactic, but the openness of the site leads to someone engaging them, and voila… what you’re talking about, over and over again. I’m not sure what the solution is. You seem to have found yours. I might just give less attention to the comments section, but I do find it interesting for the most part and try to skip right past the DB’s. There are some intelligent people here, you just have to listen to them over the din…