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Photo Credit: Union Athletics

What’s He Building in There?

There is word this weekend we may see Spencer Foo making public his choice among (reported) five NHL teams. Foo’s hometown team, the Edmonton Oilers, are in the mix. What kind of player is Foo? What does Edmonton’s pursuit tell us about Peter Chiarelli’s team building? Let’s have a look.

SPENCER FOO, THE PLAYER

  • NHL scout: “He’s a diligent worker with a top-nine skill set. He’s strong on puck recovery and strong in traffic with quickness and an outstanding compete level.” Source
  • Dave Starman, College Hockey Analyst for CBS and ESPN: “He’s greasy. He just does a lot of little things that are fun to watch. He’s got electric speed, hands, guts. He’s not afraid to try something difficult. He’s been good. He’s just fun to watch and he plays with an edge.” Source

Foo would be an impressive addition based on scouting reports and his NHLE (82gp, 13-18-31) suggests intriguing offense. Although his equivalency is shy of Drake Caggiula’s  (82gp, 22-22-44) on the day he signed, Foo is a righty shooter who can play the wing. Lots of good things about him, he would be a very nice fit for Edmonton’s needs. Foo is 6.0, 180 and would be a very good fit based on need and age (he is 22).

SIGNING COLLEGE MEN: IT’S A THING

Since arriving as Edmonton’s general manager, Peter Chiarelli has pushed the college free agency option into overdrive. Let’s compare the signings from 2011-15 (five years) to Chiarelli’s 2+ signing seasons:

  1. March 8, 2011: Oilers sign Taylor Fedun from Princeton.
  2. March 19, 2011: Oilers sign Tanner House from Maine.
  3. March 31, 2011: Oilers sign Hunter Tremblay from University of New Brunswick.
  4. April 1, 2011: Oilers sign Mark Arcobello.
  5. July 1, 2012: Oilers sign Justin Schultz from Wisconsin.
  6. April 17, 2013: Oilers sign Andrew Miller from Yale.
  7. March 31, 2014: Oilers sign Jordan Oesterle from Western Michigan.
  8. April 3, 2014: Bakersfield signs Connor Jones.
  9. Summer, 2014: Bakersfield signs C.J. Ludwig.

Chiarelli’s time

  1. June 24, 2015: Bakersfield signs D Nick Pageau.
  2. March 31, 2016: Bakersfield signs W Joey Benik from St. Cloud State.
  3. April 7, 2016: Oilers sign Nick Ellis from Providence.
  4. May 6, 2016: Oilers sign Drake Caggiula from North Dakota.
  5. May 9, 2016: Oilers sign Patrick Russell from St. Cloud State.
  6. August 27, 2016: Oilers sign Matt Benning from Northeastern.
  7. March 28, 2017: Oilers sign Joe Gambardella from UMass-Lowell.
  8. April 10, 2017: Oilers sign Shane Starrett from Air Force.

It’s an impressive spike, made necessary (in my opinion) by lack of development for 2012 and 2013 draft picks, and an unusual 2014 entry draft that contained very few players ready to graduate in 2016 or 2017 summer. Peter Chiarelli’s first draft was 2015, the Connor McDavid draft, and the team devoted most of their picks (McDavid aside) to defense.

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT?

Foo makes a lot of sense for the Oilers, and I think the Oilers make a lot of sense for Foo. It looks like we’ll find out this weekend. Peter Chiarelli’s ninth college signing in less than three summers (should it come to pass) represents an enormous spike in college recruiting. It’s difficult to see a downside.