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Where former Oilers are landing in free agency

Since the Oilers haven’t been all that busy today I figured I would do a quick wrap on where some former Oilers landed in free agency.

On a slow day like today, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at where former Oilers land in the silly season. Edmonton has made some interesting roster choices so far this summer and I wanted to know which NHL teams were going to pick up those guys that weren’t in Chiarelli’s plans. With that in mind, I put together a list of where our former heroes wound up and how much cake they’re bringing in.

LAST YEAR’S CREW

Nov 15, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Edmonton Oilers right wing Tyler Pitlick (15) is defended by Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler (4) during the first period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a horrible 2016/17 season, Benoit Pouliot did put up 70 points in his first 113 games with the Oilers. That was some decent production for a guy that generally played 2nd line minutes. That said, Pouliot fell off a cliff this season. Not only did he have his worst statistical season as an NHL regular, Pouliot battled injuries, continued his rep for taking bad penalties, and fell out of favour with Todd McLellan and his staff.

Tyler Pitlick started off last year like he had never done before in his cup of coffee at the NHL level. In 31GP, Pitlick scored a career-high eight goals, looking like he was finally going to lock down a roster spot, before succumbing to aΒ season-ending injury. Since being drafted behind Taylor Hall in 2010, Pitlick’s biggest knock has been his ability to stay healthy and I do wonder how many games he’ll play throughout this three-year deal. Regardless, I wish him the best.

This one is a little bit strange to me in that I thought Oesterle was a solid depth option on the left side, and I want to know who walked away from this one. Did Chiarelli truly not believe Oesterle was an option? Was his name too close to Eberle? Did Oesterle look at the leftorium and realize that he had a bunch of hurdles to clear on the depth chart if he was ever going to see NHL minutes? Regardless of what actually happened, Edmonton lost a decent puck-moving option from the left side of their depth chart and I hope that the Oilers can stay healthy enough so that this isn’t a big loss.

LANDING GHOSTS OF OILERS PAST

I gotta say that I’m happy for Gagner to find himself some stability but it’s going to be a trip seeing him in a Canucks jersey. Not to mention that having Kassian as an Oiler and Gagner as a Canuck has to be one of the strangest bizarro world storylines that I’ve ever seen. Could you have imagined this day back in 2013?

Cam Talbot’s former bench buddy winds up in Vancouver to slot in behind Markstrom on the Canucks’ depth chart. Nilsson is actually a decent backup bet for Vancouver (they’re still going to be terrible) as he was solid in relief of Robin Lehner last year. In 26 GP, Nilsson finished the season with a 10-10-4 record and a .923% save on a mediocre Sabres team.

He was only an Oiler for 20 games but it still counts!

STILL OUT THERE

Nail Yakupov

Think about this for a minute… Nail Yakupov was the first overall pick only five years ago and now he’s a free agent, looking for a contract. I can’t remember too many first overall picks that have been traded and not even had their rights retained with less than 300GP on their resume. Is there a team out there that would be willing to take a flyer on the guy? You know he wouldn’t cost much. Either way, it’s strange to think that a guy that was picked first in an NHL draft is looking for a job this soon after being selected but that’s where Nail Yakupov is at.

Ales Hemsky

After having another year destroyed by injuries (15GP in 2016-17), Ales Hemsky finds himself looking for a job. The former Oiler has never really lived up to the potential of his skillset but he would make a nice compliment to a team’s right side if he can find a way to stay healthy. The thing with Hemsky is that he won’t get anywhere near the $4 million he made last year and could be a cheap, skilled bet for whoever is willing to take the chance

Nick Schultz

‘Member, Nick Schultz?! I ‘member. The 34-year-old defenceman played in only 28 games last season and I’m thinking he’ll probably be waiting around a while. Actually, I had no idea Nick Schultz still played in the NHL so I learned something today.

THE BREAKDOWN

Coming into free agency, Peter Chiarelli wasn’t expected to be chasing whales but rather to add a minor piece or two as depth for the wings and/or on defence. With Ty Rattie on the books, I’m not sure how much more we’ll see the Oilers do today as most of the bigger pieces that could have made an impact at the NHL level have already been locked up. With that said, you never know what will happen as we proceed through the summer and guys get cheaper as they wait for contracts.