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Photo Credit: © kylejgraybeal

Will Vegas Look at the Oilers During Exclusive Free Agent Window?

The Vegas Golden Knights will be joining the NHL for their inaugural season and with that historic moment comes a few perks, including an early start on free agency.

One of the wrinkles of this year’s expansion draft is that the Vegas Golden Knights will get an exclusive 72-hour window to speak to restricted and unrestricted free agents. From June 18-20th, the Golden Knights can sign any restricted or any unrestricted free agent that was left unprotected for expansion. Basically, that means that Vegas could sign a guy like Kris Russell during those three days if they can swing a deal. Got it? Of course you do.

Just because I’m using Russell as my example, let’s say Vegas does sign him during that 18-20th sneak-peek window. That signing would then count as the Golden Knights’ pick off of Edmonton’s roster. Vegas has to pick or sign one player from each team’s unprotected players list so the NHL is essentially giving them two chances to do it – during this exclusive preview window or at the expansion draft itself. With that in mind, would any of the Oilers pending free agents be of interest?

THE POSSIBILITIES

Mar 28, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; The Edmonton Oilers celebrate a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings at Rogers Place. The win guarantees them a playoff spot for the first time in 10 seasons. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

This opportunity for early larceny (expansion draft is June 21st) had me wondering whether or not there would be any Oiler free agents that might tickle the fancy of Golden Knights’ GM, George McPhee. Is there anyone that Peter Chiarelli might try to push on McPhee to avoid picking someone else? I checked NHLNumbers to come up with a list of players that are in need of a contract while also likely to be left unprotected in the expansion draft.

DAVID DESHARNAIS

Please oh please sign Lil’ D. That would be doing us a massive favour for a bite-sized package.

ERIC GRYBA

I wonder what will happen with Eric Gryba this summer. I think he’s a solid 7th defenceman that can step into the lineup when you need him, but I also think that he’ll be around again later in the summer like he was last year. If Vegas wants him, they’ll probably be able to do it in August.

JONAS GUSTAVSSON

LOL!

MATT HENDRICKS

Hendo was a good soldier and I hope someone picks him up, but I don’t think that’ll happen here. Vegas would be doing us a solid here, and while I’d be pumped to see Hendricks land another NHL gig I think he’ll have to wait a while.

ZACK KASSIAN

Is there a place on Peter Chiarelli’s expansion list for Zack Kassian? He’s definitely an NHL player and McPhee needs as many as he can get, but would Vegas be a good place for Kass? With the progress he made in his role this season with the Oilers, I’d hope he’ll still be around come October.

JUJHAR KHAIRA

Khaira would be an interesting pickup for the Knights. He’s a young player that’s starting to come into his own, and will likely be ready for NHL duty as early as this season. Maybe? It seems unlikely, but maybe.

TYLER PITLICK

I don’t know how many ways I can feel bad for Tyler Pitlick. The guy needs to go to a witch doctor or something to figure out which demon he pissed off because he cannot stay healthy. The kid was having the season of his life before he got hurt, and now he’s in a weird spot as to where he’ll get his next chance. Will it be in Edmonton? Would Vegas take the chance?

GRIFFIN REINHART

Reinhart is actually who I expect Vegas to take in the draft and it’s going to be hilarious. If McPhee does actually pick Griffin Reinhart, that trade will go down as one of the worst pure asset management moves in recent memory. The Oilers will have traded a first and second round pick for 30 games of Griffin Reinhart. The fallout would be amazing to watch. Just thinking about it makes me laugh.

KRIS RUSSELL

This is actually an interesting call and I guess it depends on how badly Russell wants to be back in Edmonton versus how much Vegas would want to pay him. Is it important for him to sign close to home overall? Vegas is only a quick flight away! Is he really that attached to the Oilers? Are they as attached to the player as it seems? There is no doubt that Kris Russell is an NHL defenceman and Vegas is in desperate need of those if they plan on being even remotely competitive and Kris Russell could be a guy that they may see as an option. Who knows?

THE WRAP

To me, there are going to be free agents around the NHL that Vegas is going to want a headstart on with this early window, but there are also players that teams won’t be able to re-sign because of cap issues or otherwise. I’m betting that GMs will be getting into McPhee’s ear with offers (draft picks, future favours, fidget spinners) to try and sway him into signing some of these free agents as another means to steer Vegas away from drafting players that teams want but were unable to protect from expansion. Will it work? Who knows, but I’ll be watching for how many draft picks head Vegas’ way during the expansion festivities.

  • Burns14

    Why would Vegas do this for a UFA? Could they not reach a deal in principle, choose a different player from a team, and then sign the first player on July 1st?

    • tdogg

      I think… they have the 72 hour window, but if they don’t have the player signed when the window closes then that player can take the deal back to his current team and see if they’ll match or beat the offer. It essentially allows the player to gauge external interest as a bargaining chip. That’s the LV risk, do that negotiating, pick a different player, and when their exclusive window closes they are on level playing field with every other team. I think…

    • Space Pants

      Not sure why you are getting trashed because I was thinking the exact same thing. The line-up at the leftorium is so long, Russel played the right side all season. I know Sekera will miss some of the season due to injury, but I guess the trashers have Reinhart ahead of Klefbom, Sekera, and Nurse. We are ultimately going to lose a player anyway, is that really a big deal if it’s him? Are people that attached to the draft picks that left 2 years ago? There are better players that other teams are going to lose over what the Oilers will lose.

      • Soccer Steve

        And Vegas certainly won’t be taking into consideration that it took a high price to get Reinhart a few years ago. They’ll be considering him as the player he is now; a guy who cracks an Oiler line-up only after two big injuries.

      • NoBuBlackOPS

        It’s not that people value reinhart more than the others. It’s that we paid a premium price for 30 games so far. Fatcor in the player the NYI drafted Matthew Brazal who is I think we would of drafted. He’s exempt from the expansion draft. He’s a RW I believe arguably are weakest position. If we loose reinhart for a 1st and a 2nd with 30 games played that’s horrible asset management. We would have got way more than 30 games played out of brazal potentially a young winger to grow with team. But if you think a first and second are good asset management for 30 games as opposed to a potential career long player. I’d hate to see the kind of NHL team you’d build MacT would probably be proud though.

      • That's My Point

        99% of the comments on this site are negative towards Griffin. They still think he’s too slow even after he’s worked on his speed for 2 years. I love his style of play and think he’s one of the most underrated players. The bad comments are similar to the comments on Jultz.

      • Reg Dunlop

        Losing Reinhart would be the perfect outcome because we could reclaim him in October when Vegas puts him on waivers in order to ship his slow boots down to the AHL.

      • 24% body fat

        we werent desperate for young left handed D, especially slow ones, we had plethora. And expecting one of him or nurse or klefbom to step in and play the right handed side with so little NHL experience was a horrible horible bet. One in which we are all sure Chia yielded to Green and MacT.

    • RJ

      So who does he play ahead of in the Oilers lineup? If you believe in L/R balance, he should play on the LH side.

      You’re not playing him ahead of Klef, who PC gave a 7-year deal for $4.167m AAV. He’s a top-2 LHD.

      Sekera has four years left at $5.5m with a NMC. He can’t be traded, waived or sent to the minors without his consent. He’s an Oiler long-term.

      Nurse is the third LHD. Even if we don’t think Reinhart is a bad skater, Nurse is a better skater. Even if we think Reinhart makes decent use of his size, Nurse is the superior player in terms of physicality.

      I don’t think he’s a bad player. He’s just in a tough spot. The Oilers have too many LHD, so someone is going to be left on the outside.

      • Jaxon

        Only 2 years on Sekera’s NMC clause, though. Summer of 2019 he can submit a list a of 15 teams to be traded to. Not that it changes your point, just to clarify.

    • According to the NHL, part of the reason for the early signing window is so that Vegas can talk to these guys to make sure they’re not going to claim a player that has no interest in signing there. Not sure if that also applies to RFAs but that’s what they said in the announcement.

    • tdogg

      As a tourist maybe, but a resident (more specifically working in a regular job) there’s nothing particularly alarming to a person with substance issues vs. any other major city. You think he’s at risk of going out and getting drunk in urban Las Vegas more so than NY, or Chicago or wherever? Just saying.

  • Hemmercules

    How is them signing Deharnais doing the Oilers a favour?? Chia probably doesn’t want him back so he’s gone anyway. They would be doing Deharnais a favour if anyone.

    • Yelak

      I would think a 3rd would be enough. Pouliot is a decent player, had a poor year last season but can still help out a team. Anyone else vegas would draft from oilers would be less proven. Getting draft picks is what vegas is going to really want =.

    • brockbecker3

      They could offer sheet Leon. However if they did they would need to throw some serious draft choices our way.

      If they gave him a salary in the range of 5,888,960-7,851,948 they are required to give the oilers a first, second, and third rounder.

      If the sheet were to be 7,851,948-9,814,935 they would owe the oilers 2 first round picks, a second and a third.

      Anything over 9,814,935 they owe the oilers 4… yes 4… first round picks.

      With that being said to answer the question they could offer sheet leon, however they would be unloading every chance they have to become a competitive team in the next 3-5 years for one player, in my opinion, Vegas is the last team I’d worry about giving an offer sheet to leon

  • Florescent Oil Orange

    I don’t know why pous name is getting any consideration from fans as a player they would take.

    If Vegas did every team a favour and took a 4 million dollar contract they would have a payroll of 120 million. Well over the cap.

    Vegas in my opinion is going to negotiate a small number of deals for odorous contracts and select mostly young cheap contracts.

    If they averaged a 2 million dollar player from 30 teams that would leave them at 60 million. Money on deals is going to be a huge consideration for them.

    • Florescent Oil Orange

      Add to that. They will be selecting for 23 roster players. With 30 choices I am sure that a small number of players selected may actually have 2 way cheap minor league deals as I am sure Vegas is not going to want to pay millions for a player in the ahl team….if they even have one? Are they going to share a team or do they have there own

  • brockbecker3

    I don’t think kassian would sign in Vegas, nor show any interest in playing there, 1: he loves Edmonton
    2: he knows that with his history of substance abuse, Vegas would not be a good place for him professionally or personally. I think the golden knights understand that aswell I don’t think they will even talk to mass

  • Shameless Plugger

    Unless Vegas pays you $1.5 – 2 M over market value why on earth as a UFA would you sign? They’re gonna suck hind teat for at least three years.

    • Jaxon

      An opportunity to play higher up in the lineup, or to make the lineup. Pitlick, Hendricks, Desharnais, Gryba, Oesterle, Fontaine all fall into that category. Russell does not.