Last spring and summer, Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli had a procurement problem. With Leon Draisaitl signed right after the 2014 draft, he was looking at crickets when it came to signing anyone else from the 2014 draft haul.
One of the ways Chiarelli dealt with the problem came in signing college free agents. Drake Caggiula, Matt Benning, Nick Ellis and Patrick Russell all signed with the Oilers and added to the overall quality and depth of the Oilers and Condors. The four signings represented a major spike in college signings in one summer.
- March 8, 2011: Oilers sign Taylor Fedun from Princeton.
- March 19, 2011: Oilers sign Tanner House from Maine.
- March 31, 2011: Oilers sign Hunter Tremblay from University of New Brunswick.
- July 1, 2012: Oilers sign Justin Schultz from Wisconsin.
- April 17, 2013: Oilers sign Andrew Miller from Yale.
- March 31, 2014: Oilers sign Jordan Oesterle from Western Michigan.
- April 7, 2016: Oilers sign Nick Ellis from Providence.
- May 6, 2016: Oilers sign Drake Caggiula from North Dakota.
- May 9, 2016: Oilers sign Patrick Russell from St. Cloud State.
- August 27, 2016: Oilers sign Matt Benning from Northeastern.
This spring the club added Joe Gambardella and Shane Starrett, continuing an uptick in procurement from the college free-agent pool. Although Edmonton is at 50-contracts (including Leon Draisaitl, who was qualified), two of those (Dylan Wells, Tyler Benson) are slide rules. A slide rule contract can be buried once the player is sent back to junior. All of this means there is a way to add another contract should the opportunity arise.
There are three free agents of interest this summer.
- LHD Teemu Kivihalme, Colorado College. He has been a free agent since July 1. Colorado College coach Mike Haviland: “[Kivihalme] improved defensively from year to year. He came in with offensive skills and skating, but he needed to become better defensively to be trustworthy at the next level.” Source
- LC Alex Kerfoot, Harvard. He will be a free agent August 15. Shane Malloy, Hockey Prospect Radio: An intelligent puck possession playmaking center who can play on the wing that has good passing ability whether stationary or at speed. Uses the give and go well and can draw defenders to create time and space for his line-mates. Is a quick darting skater with the agility to dodge and roll off defenders. He defensive game has matured once his defensive habits such as an active stick, head on a swivel, taking correct angles became consistent. Source
- LC Dominic Toninato, Minnesota-Duluth. He will be a free agent August 15. SBNation: He’s a top line center with the ability to play on the power play and penalty kill. He plays with a physical edge that sometimes goes too far. He’s a decent skater, but will likely move from center to wing at the next level, where he should provide strong, gritty two-way play with the occasional offense chipped in as well. Source
Kerfoot probably makes the most sense based on position, perhaps Kivihalme is the most logical based on team need. Free agency is winding down this summer, with the Oilers making some unusual signings. An additional college free agent may help the minor league team and improve overall depth in the organization.
- Fantasy Golf Millionaire Contest:
- First place wins $1,000,000
- Over $3,000,000 in total prizes
- More than 25,000 entries win money guaranteed
- Only $33 to enter
- Simply select a team of 6 golfers to play
- Must enter by first tee time on Thursday morning