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.

Recently by Jason Gregor:     

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  • 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

  • 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.

      • 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…

      • 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.

  • Tikkanese

    The Oilers likely need a third line LW and one more defenceman.

    For LW, has anyone considered James Sheppard? Played under Todd McLellan for a couple seasons. He’s 27, can play some center, has size and likely commands a contract of about $1.6 million per season. If you look at the scouting report, he has great skating ability and is pretty good defensively. He hasn’t produced as many points in the NHL, but he is reaching his prime age now.

    For defenceman, we should bring in a puck moving vet for the short-term until Nurse and Reinhart are ready. I’m thinking someone like Ehrhoff if he wants to come to Edmonton. We can sign him for 2 years for about $3.5-$4.5 million per season. He’s on the downside of his career, but he can still move the puck. Might be an overpay, but the key is keeping the contract short.

  • 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 .

  • Joy S. Lee

    Cody Franson is not a good defensemen. So many people are blinded by power play points.

    Power play points from a defensemen is the dumbest thing to pay for in a UFA defensemen.

    Get a defensemen who can play defense. Zbynek Michalek is a much better option as a RD to pair with all the Oilers young D. He can actually pay defense.

  • Joy S. Lee

    If I get to choose, then Franson and Frolik are my aspirations. I might bring Ramo in for a goalie competition. On shorter-term contracts I would be happy with Stewart, and consider Matthias or Brodziak good additions. Sekera would be a good fallback if Franson goes elsewhere, or Erhoff for the short-term.

  • oilerjed

    I see the Bruins got a 1st round pick and a prospect for Jones today. Makes getting Talbot for a 2nd and a 3rd look like a great deal. I would say Sather may have gotten taken to the wood shed on this one.

  • CMG30

    Sign Fransen to whatever he wants but front load the contract as much as possible. Expect for him to the number 1 for a year or two or three then he can comfortably slide down into the 3/4 spot as one of Klefbom/Nurse/Reinhart grows into the top spot.

    • positivebrontefan

      The only potential benefit of a front-loaded contract would be if we signed him long enough that he’d not play the length of the contract… The NHL fixed that with the cap recapture.

      It’s all about AAV, so I am not sure why you’d want it front-loaded?

  • oilerjed

    One other thing, if we bring in Brodziak or some other 3/4 line center, what do we do with Lander?

    I thought this was the year he got a legit chance at cracking the lineup. Gordon isn’t going anywhere and Connor isn’t going back to junior, so something has got to give.

    • positivebrontefan

      I would surprised if the Oil do anything with forward FAs until the smoke clears in August and a bargain basement depth guy is available. Other teams will have greater needs at forward and drive prices up accordingly. If the Oil sign anyone over the next few days it should be a Dman.

    • Cowbell_Feva

      Lander can play the left side dude and as for Gordon he’s a 3 million dollar 4th line centre on his last year of his contract so don’t be all shocked if he’s traded especially if we sign another centre

  • CaptainLander

    All they UFAs are going to get overpaid. Addition by doing nothing is the smart move by PC. A few GMs will jump on the holiday spending spree or be forced to pony up the big dollars on their own guys hitting their ufa point. We could look pretty smart by watching their big $ UFAs fail to meet the bang for a buck challenge over the next few seasons.

    PC should be able to move for a decent 3-4 D on a one year contract when the deals dry up over the long hot summer. A depth signing at F could work in the same time frame.

    NN and JS can pull up their socks next year hopefully.

    The dream trade would be getting A Larsson for T Purcell but that’s because I have a full jug of Orange Kool Aid and also a full jug of Blue Kool Aid chilling for the hot Canada Day holiday:)

  • SSB1963

    My targets would be Franson, Beauchemin, Frolik and Ward(or some other vet with some physicality)
    Buyout/trade Nikitin


    (Nurse gets 15-2015 games with injuries)

  • Tikkanese

    None of the above. The Oilers have been “improving” the bottom 4 D and bottom 6 forwards ever since Tambellini and look where it has gotten them fast… Nowhere.

    They need top pairing D, period. None of those D are top pairing D. Maybe Beauchemin can hold off the clock, or Green can turn back the clock or maybe Franson has a breakout year and becomes that guy. None worth the pricey free agent $ gamble in my eyes. Plus signing one of those guys will eat up all their available cap space handcuffing them even more. Trade for that D if he still can.

    For forwards, the Oilers probably already have too many but I’d consider Matthias or Stewart if the price was right. They could use some skilled size that play with size mixed in with all the “soft” skilled forwards that they have now.

  • Joy S. Lee

    These flamer fans are funny on here and yes some Oil fans to on some of their comments. Cowtown you may have the bragging rights now but I’m gunna enjoy us catching up to you, and as we pass by flipping the bird! Right now your a nice red viper cruising the strip! And the Oil were a old blue mustang that we kept trying to fix coz we loved that car! Well we traded that in and got something new…Oil fans no what is but I won’t tell u Flamer fans coz you’ll see soon enough! See u at the track!

  • sportsjunkie007

    I’m reasonably happy with our forwards and goaltending, this free agency should be all about the defensemen.

    Give Franson money and term, sign a solid veteran defenseman to help fill out the ranks on the blue line.

  • Spoils

    on paper this seems like a smart move, but I think the real danger facing the Oilers isn’t getting a good 3-4 DMan this year, it is cap danger we will face with so many young stars.

    For that reason I would prefer either these two scenarios:

    1. somehow acquire a bona fide #1D, a top 10 guy. We have the assets it will cost, and it is essential to win.

    2. if we can’t get the first thing done this year, pay a mike green type of FA a ton of money for a shorter deal. we will overpay short, but we will have cap space long term


  • YFC Prez

    Well if there is no more trades I like the idea of picking up both Michalek and Oduya

    Than our top four has 2 RH shutdown d men and 2 LH dmen (klefbom, fayne) play them equal minutes like Chicago did with there top 4.

    Make NN, Nurse, Ference, Reinhart, Schultz fight for playing time.

    Send AF and NN to minors if you cant trade them.

    One big forward protector/puncher/facewasher a real “team guy” with some skill. Stewart if he’s still got it would work. Ward but probably too expensive.

    My dream:
    1. Ward 2. Stewart

  • BigMcD

    I’ve been saying Matthias for awhile now and gettn shot down for it! Now all of a sudden people on here are singing a different tune. He’d be perfect for the 3rd line and he won’t break the bank…He’s a centre but can play the wing and he’s big and can score a bit(18 goals last yr) Put lander on the left side cuz who know if Leon is ready yet…see where he’s at after preseason and if earns the a spot put him on the left side. Who knows what happens this summer…Gordon could get traded or at some point during the season and lander could take that 4th line centre position and don’t forget big Yakimov, yes he’s young but arn’t they all. Go Oil!!

    • Whitey31

      I am all for signing Matthias but he would be played on the wing here and Lander would play up the middle. Not saying he won’t take some time in the middle but Lander is strongest up the middle and far better on the faceoff dot over Matthias.

      • BigMcD

        Stronger up the middle!?!? Dude Lander is 6 ft 195 lbs and Matthias is 6’4 220 lbs I don’t know the numbers on faceoffs but if Lander is better on faceoffs than he can take them coz they’d be on the same line. what I’m saying is that its a win win with two centres on the 3rd line and willing to bet that Matthias would centre that line and I think most people would agree with me but cheers dude

    • BigMcD

      Only problem is he is looking for close to $5 Mill/Per. Now i’m not saying he’ll get it. But if that means he won’t take less then $4 Mill/per do we still want him? I don’t. I don’t think Matthias plays hard either from what i’ve see. Big but doesn’t use that size much. Again its the price point i’d worry about.

      • BigMcD

        hahahaha 5 mil eh! He told you that himself! Dude the guy was making 1.8 mil last year…I can see him gettn 2.5-3.5 mil! You think he’s asking for top 6 forward money! If he is asking that he and his agent are dreaming!!!!!!

  • Whitey31

    Hey Gregor
    Just wondering why there hasn’t been more talk on acquiring Joel Ward?
    15-20 goal grinder that shows a lot more consistency than Stewart.
    Is it the term and/or dollars that is an issue?
    Just think he would be great pick up for this team.