Oilers sign Sekera and Letestu

The Oilers signed 29 year old defender Andrej Sekera to a six-year deal worth $5.5/season and centre Mark Letestu to a three-year pact at $1.8 million/year.

Sekera essentially replaces Jeff Petry, except he shoots left. He can play the right side if needed, and he might start there, or they could pair him with Mark Fayne and be the Oilers shut down defence pairing.

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Sekera hasn’t put up big offensive totals except when he scored 44 points with Carolina in 2013/2014, with 15 of them coming on the PP. He was given an opportunity on the PP and produced, but he still scored more ES points that year than he had in any other by a significant margin. He could be a solid 2nd pairing PP option.

He is good in his own zone, and his reputation is that he plays hard and is a professional. He will be in great shape. He plays tough minutes and has good possession numbers. This is a solid signing, but it has risks as he is on overpay and six years is a lifetime for an older defenceman. Term is often what crushes you in free agency.

Letestu’s cap hit saves the Oilers $1.2 million for their 4th line centre. Boyd Gordon was traded to Arizona yesterday and was making $3 million. Letestu is good in the faceoff, 52.9% last year, but he has much more offensive upside than Gordon. He can play in the top nine and even on the PP.

Letestu was never drafted, and was actually playing junior B at 17. He went to the AJHL and didn’t receive an NCAA scholarship until he was 20. He was a late bloomer.

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You can read more about him in this interview I had with him in 2011,

after his first NHL season with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

You can read part two here.


The Oilers now have nine defenceman, and I’m sure Chiarelli will try to move Nikita Nikitin. He will have to eat close to 50% of his salary, I’m sure, but it will be worth it.

There will be a healthy battle at training camp and into the season between Darnell Nurse, Griffin Reinhart, Andrew Ference, Justin Schultz and Eric Gryba for icetime and a spot on the roster. It has been a long time since the Oilers had a real competition for playing time.

Peter Chiarelli has added seven new players to the team since he took over. Sekera, Letestu, Connor McDavid, Cam Talbot, Eric Gryba, Lauri Korpikoski and Griffin Reinhart. I expect we will see him make another four or five additions before the start of next season.

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Thoughts on the signings?

Recently by Jason Gregor:   

  • CMG30

    As if today couldnt get any better.

    “The fitness testing wasn’t a whole lot of fun, but it was really cool to throw on the Oilers gear, the gear that I want to play the rest of my life wearing.” – Connor McDavid

    • BigMcD

      Eat it haters! We won Connor! He wants to play here! And he won’t be ruined! He will lead all our other 1st overall picks to great things! So I got two words for ya! Suck it!!

  • BigMcD

    I have an armchair GM trade to propose Scrivens for Reimer. Both have 1 year left with 2.3 million dollar cap hits. Both were temporary starters on their current teams but have been relegated to back ups. Age is 28-27 and both would probably be looking for a new opportunity to prove themselves. What does the nation think?

  • BigMcD

    Another idea for our defense. Justin Shultz for Dan Hamhuis. Shultz is young and has potential still while Hamhuis is solid but has a year left on his contract 4.5 mill on the cap(same as Nikitin) is 32 years old so could be resigned possibly if it works out or traded for picks at the deadline next year. Vancouver have been giving away players so this would look like good value for them.

  • BigMcD

    Another idea for our defense. Justin Shultz for Dan Hamhuis. Shultz is young and has potential still while Hamhuis is solid but has a year left on his contract 4.5 mill on the cap(same as Nikitin) is 32 years old so could be resigned possibly if it works out or traded for picks at the deadline next year. Vancouver have been giving away players so this would look like good value for them.

  • paul wodehouse


    I for one (not speaking for the Nation)brought that exact trade up a long while back at trade deadline …someone suggested it wasn’t a good idea because Reimer was hurt…with some research I found that he indeed had an owie in early 2015 of the lower body variety BUT…he played often shortly after and his last appearance was early April just before the Leafs were going to tee it up … I like Reimer but for Fasth and a conditional pick…

    nite nite…

    • JackB

      I’m guessing fasth and the pick was your suggestion before the trade deadline. As he is no longer ours to trade (ufa). Also that would give us scrivens and Reimer. Not scrivens for Reimer. Not the same trade but hey its late. We should be sleeping so we can get up early and hope for some more trades.

  • JackB

    Someone sent a great text in to TSN 1260 (to Lowetide I believe)

    Something like . . . “Lowe took 10 years to wreck this team, and we as fans are upset that Chiarelli can’t fix it in a week” (Probably didn’t get the quote exactly right, but that was the essence of it)

    In that vein, here’s my thoughts about this past 6 days:

    I think Chia paid too much for Reinhart (#16 + #33) But when asked about it, he said he tried for less, but that was what NYI were asking. I sure hope he turns out to be the “horse” Bob Green and Chiarelli thinks he will be. He just might.

    I really like that Chiarelli got the goalie he targeted. And that Slats didn’t get the 1st rounder he was asking . . . heck . . . he didn’t even get our #33. (Chia outwaited him for sure.)(And Woodguy, based on his “adjusted save percentage stats”, seems to think Talbot is the next Cory Schneider? Who knows . . . maybe he could be . . . and maybe we lucked out?)

    I really like the pick up of Eric Gryba. He sounds like a banger. Maybe his D pairing, for the first while at least, can be on the ice every time McDavid is out? (Just a thought, because I don’t think we can put Gadzic on McDavid’s left wing . . . except maybe when we play Calgary!)

    And the pick ups today in free agency were not bad. (It was not a great crop of free agents this year.)

    All in all, I’m pretty happy with our new management !! (We did better than Boston !!)

    AND DAMN YOU CAMILLA NEELY AND DONNA SWEENEY for GIFTING Dougie Hamilton to Calgary . . . for a first and two seconds !!!!! (I borrowed the “Camilla Neely and Donna Sweeney” from an earlier poster . . . hilarious . . . and a great post !)

    Good night everyone. Probably no one’s even going to read this post, as it is so damn late … and everyone will be reading the newest articles to be posted tomorrow . . . oh well, I had fun writing it.

  • YFC Prez

    If we have an fast turnaround , as it might appear , maybe we should thank MacT. ? His poor on ice results helped get us Draisaitl , Nurse and now McDavid . His poor results also led to help clean house of management and coaching in a fast time frame .

    • Clint

      It is easy and often fair to bash MacT. However we also have to acknowledge that he accrued enough picks to set PC up for making the moves to turn things around in five days and to acknowledge that some of his picks are hitting their stride and maybe most significant is that he did not pull a Burke and trade two first round picks for a quick fix (cough: Kessel)

  • O.C.

    On the Hamilton to Calgary…

    Being that the Oil took Chiarelli’s salary off their books, AND the Oil gave them a third rounder…

    …maybe the ask was so high because the Bruins knew there was a problem? Maybe they were returning the favour and selling damaged or overpriced goods to the Oil’s rivals for less than what was on the table?

    (Insert moment to *ponder* here)

    ….Nah, Chiarelli knew the player too well. Bruin’s management were just being ungrateful dicks.


      Or, as has been rumoured elsewhere, Chiarelli threatened to use an offersheet so the Bruins’ management gave him the middle finger and traded Hamilton to Calgary

      • DoubleDIon

        Don’t buy your reasoning . I think Sweeney and Neely will both lose their jobs if Boston falters again , which is more than likely considering that latest bonehead move with Hamilton .

        Look – if we fired MacT. and he went to a bottom club like Buff. or Arizona and offer sheeted Hall because it looked like we could not keep him , would we take his compensation or a lesser amount from some other club ? Of course you take the best package and keep a close relationship for future dealings . Your reasoning closes future doors to your own detriment which is very poor business . For ourselves would you not want to keep an open door with Mact. somewhere else ? Sather a good example of us keeping in good relations with him and getting back to him more than once and getting a very good deal on Talbot considering . Boston made a very bad business deal bottom line , and may have (or have) cut off a very good future business they could have solidified for years to come .

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Were the Shattenkirk rumors from hockey buzz, or an actual insider?

    EDIT: found this gem from a Journal article on Shattenkirk.

    “Shattenkirt was a solid 3D on the Blus this year,”

    Ahhhhh EJ. Only the highest quality of writing.

  • BobbyCanuck

    Dear Nikki,

    We understand that once you had the drive, talent, and character to make to the NHL, what happended? Did you somehow lose your motivation, or were hiding an injury from the training staff all year?

    As you are on the last year of your contract before you turn UFA, are you interested in staying in the NHL? OR are you wanting to go back home and play KHL?

    Please have a heart ot heart with yourself, decide if you still want to play in the best league in the world, or if you want easier paycheques elsewhere.

    We spend $9M on you, if you have even a little bit of professional pride, you would at the least, play well enough to garner us more than a 6th round pick

    We were so excited when you were signed last year, we all thought ‘yeah! An actual NHL defenseman is coming to town!”

    Some of us still think that you can play, please prove us right.

    Signed 1 of the 3 Oiler fans in Edmonton that think you are worth keeping around

  • DoubleDIon

    I like both of these signings for you chumps. Slight overpay for Sekera, but that’s free agency. We overpaid slightly for Frolik too. Hated that you moved Gordon for a complete scrub like Korpikoski though. Looks like you finally have management and a coach.

      • DoubleDIon

        Gordon makes you slow? Wow… He is so underrated in Edmonton. They only like 90 foot players. Gordon will be sorely missed with another 18 year old all offence player in need of shelter.

        • BigMcD

          What the hell are you talking about. Another Calgary fan shooting flames out their ass!! Who said anything about the Oilers being slow?You ever seen McDavid skate ??? Hall routinely flys by Calgary dmen

          • DoubleDIon

            You implied Gordon was a slow-skater. Learn to read dude. I think they’re a good skating team, they just have no commitment to a 200 foot game. Hall has scored 2 goals against Calgary total over the past two seasons or 4 less than 4th line winger Lance Bouma has scored against you over the same time period, so perhaps it’s not me talking out of my ass?

  • BigMcD

    I will now refer to Ultrathinzigzags as MEATHEAD from now on.
    Ramo was asked by Calgary media at the end of the season if he would sign in Edmonton and he said ” sure why not it’s a nice place.”
    We got the best goalie available anyway.
    Calgary will now lose 1 of their 3 goalies.
    Funny how they promised Ortio playing time this fall! Looks like that wont happen.
    Now if they trade 1 they will be trading from a definite point of weakness.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    The more I think about Shattenkirk, the more I love the idea. St Louis has Pietrangelo and Bouwmeester, I could see them maybe moving Shattenkirk if the price is right. We’d need to move Nikitin and hopefully Ference for the money to make sense. ? – Shattenkirk, ? – Sekera, Gryba – Fayne, ?. Have Nurse, Griff, Kbomb and Norris fight it out for the ? spots. There’s a few names that need to go for this to happen, but that looks like a solid NHL defense to me.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    I’m gonna miss Gordon, but he made too much for a 4th line centre. Lander took over the 3rd last year, you can’t pay 3 million a year for a 4C. Letestu is good on the dot and brings more offense, but Klinky and Hendricks might have to shoulder a bit more of the load.

  • AJ88

    Oilers are in rough shape for next year. Sekera is a decent, albeit soft, top 4 Dman but that contract is already looking to be an albatross that they’ll regret go forward.

    Talbot played behind the best Defense in the league last year, he’ll be exposed to how average he is this year in Edmonton behind their porous Defence like every other goalie they’ve anointed as the new savior over the years.

    Same hype every year in Edmonton with zero results or progression shown. Nothing’s changed in Edmonton until something changes from a results standpoint.

    The only potential saving grace next year for the Oilers is that they play in the weakest Division in hockey…only Anaheim and Calgary are looking like locks for 2 of those 3 guaranteed Pacific Division playoff spots…the 3rd and final spot is wide open between LA, SJ, Dallas, Van and EDM although I’d put money on Dallas grabbing that spot given the other teams (LA, SJ, VAN) have regressed (on paper) from last season. Will be another playoff-less season in Edmonton is how I see it, so be humble Oiler fans until you actually get to the dance

    • DoubleDIon

      We’re far from a lock I think. We’re a better team than last year for sure, but I think any knowledgeable Flames fan would agree that we got a bit lucky this year and caught a lot of teams unprepared for a tough night. That won’t happen this year, we aren’t going to see back-up goaltenders and opponents taking us lightly.

      I anticipate battling hard to make it and it coming right down to the wire again either way. The West is a ridiculously good conference. Edmonton won’t be the easy 2 points every night they were last year either. Roster and coaching have both improved, although I still don’t think they’re a playoff team.

    • DoubleDIon

      Ya Calgary has awesome defensmen but hiller and ramo can’t stop pucks even if there averging 25 shots a game and there offence isn’t nearly deep enough calgarys top line is great but after that your looking at below average offence. They only had three players with 20 goals or more and after your top line its drops off the 45 points or less for the rest of your forwards I wouldn’t say there a lock at all