We’re just over 12 hours away from free agency 2015, and the Oilers must have some idea about where they stand with their target free agents. It is NOT a strong group but that’s not the same as saying all hope is lost. There are two free agents who could help Edmonton in 2015-16 and the club should be targeting them.
SEKERA AND FRANSON
IF the Oilers go the free-agent route tomorrow, I think these two fit the bill for Edmonton. Sekera is a wonderful possession player and in his prime, and I can see him doing a nice job with Mark Fayne on the ‘veteran duo’ that would likely serve as the team’s top tandem in 2015-16. The Los Angeles Kings are trying to sign him (the Mike Richards/Slava Voynov situations have given them a window) but if they don’t get it done, I would hope Edmonton pushes hard to add the veteran.
Franson is the best power-play option on available by point total
(5-12-17, tied with Mike Green) he’s probably ideally suited to second pairing and a
zone-start push. I’m not certain there’s room for Franson and Justin Schultz on
the same team but that shouldn’t stop us from talking about Franson as
an option. If there’s a chance, Edmonton should be in there like a dirty shirt.
THE NEED FOR SPEED
Edmonton acquired Lauri Korpikoski tonight, he’s a $2.5M (times two) winger coming off two subpar seasons with the Coyotes. The price tag for him was Boyd Gordon, who costs $3M with a year left. I don’t think the $500,000 saving was the reason for the deal and as the Vollman Sledgehammer tells us it wasn’t about Korpikoski’s strong season in 2014-15.
That’s not a sweet spot, he’s taking on tougher ZS’s and is in the ‘shut down part of the graph, but struggled badly (his Corsi for 5×5 % in 2014-15 was 44% and ranked well down the list of Arizona forwards).
I think Peter Chiarelli is trying to find Todd McLellan some fast trains and some checkers, men who are on the right side of the puck. Korpikoski’s addition probably squeezes Leon Draisaitl, Rob Klinkhammer and Teddy Purcell, although Purcell’s offense is far superior.
I’m pleased the Oilers have finally found another Pisani-type, a checking winger with enough offense to play with skill. The possession numbers are a concern and something we’ll need to discuss in the coming days.