If Peter Chiarelli is going to have a successful off-season he’s going to have to hit on one or two value contracts. He may have received a little bit of good news on Monday when Bill Daly said the 18-19 salary cap could be anywhere from $78-82 million dollars.
I think most people, myself included, have been speculating that the final number will be 80 million but what if it does end up being a couple of million higher? Can Chiarelli take advantage of the extra wiggle room?
Right now I’d expect the Oilers payroll to sit around 75 million after signing their RFA’s. I’ve been speculating they’d try to spend about three to four million on a top-six winger and that’s about it. If the cap moves up to 82 million the Oilers would likely be in the market to add at least one player in the two million dollar range. So who fits the bill?
DEREK RYAN (31-years old)
79gp – 15g – 23a – 38 pts
2017-18 Cap Hit: $1,425,000
For a guy who gets limited offensive opportunities, Ryan is coming off a pretty decent season in Carolina. He took well over 900 face-offs this past season and won over 56 per cent of them. He could kill penalties and if need be see a little bit of time on the second unit power-play. He also would provide the coaching staff with the flexibility to move one of Khaira or Strome back to the wing.
MATT CALVERT (28-years old)
68gp – 9g – 15a – 24 pts
2017-18 Cap Hit: $2,200,000
I don’t think Matt Calvert will be commanding anything more than $2,200,000 when he hits the open market this summer. Calvert played under 14 minutes a night for the Blue Jackets this past season. He has had trouble staying in the line up over the past four years but still managed to score in double digits in three of those campaigns. He scored three goals in the first round against the Capitals in the playoffs.
TOMMY WINGELS (30-years old)
75gp – 9g – 8a – 17 pts
2017-18 Cap Hit: $750,000
Tommy Wingels has played on four NHL teams in the last two seasons but I still think he may be the most likely guy on this list to sign with the Oilers. Wingels shoots right and can play all three positions up front. He had his two best seasons with Todd McLellan on the bench in San Jose. I think he would be a good veteran presence in the bottom six.
BLAKE COMEAU (32-years old)
79gp – 13g – 21a – 34 pts
2017-18 Cap Hit: $2,400,000
Blake Comeau has already made five stops in the NHL and pretty much brought the same thing to the table every time. He has scored in double digits and hit at least 30 points in three of the last four seasons. He shoots right and can play both wings. I don’t know if it should count for anything but he’s a good Saskatchewan boy which may carry some weight with this coaching staff.
KRIS VERSTEEG (32-years old)
24gp – 3g – 5a – 8 pts
2017-18 Cap Hit: $1,750,000
Would the Oilers dare go down this road again? Versteeg simply could not stay healthy for the Flames this past season as he missed time with all kinds of injuries. In 2016-17, after spending training camp in Edmonton, he put together a pretty good season in Calgary. He scored 15 times in 69 games and added four points in four playoff games. At this stage of his career, coming off an injury-riddled campaign, Versteeg may very well once again be heading to a camp on a tryout. He shoots right and has a little bit of a chip on his shoulder at times.
MAGNUS PAAJARVI (27-years old)
78gp – 8g – 4a – 12 pts
2017-18 Cap Hit: $800,000
If you are a fan of second chances maybe Magnus Paajarvi fits the bill for you. Between St. Louis and Ottawa Paajarvi played 78 games last season. This was the first year that Paajarvi didn’t play a game in the American Hockey League. At this point, I wouldn’t expect any sort of offensive increase from Paajarvi but he skates well and can kill penalties. Also… I love him.
TIM SCHALLER (27-years old)
82gp – 12g – 10a – 22pts
2017-18 Cap Hit: $775,000
You could make a case that a 12-goal season in the NHL is the best offensive production Schaller has had in his entire career so why sign him? Well, Schaller managed to be in the lineup every game this season for a very good Bruins squad. I’d assume the Bruins try to get him signed on a value deal of their own prior to July 1st. Maybe he’s a really late bloomer offensively?
CARTER ROWNEY (29-years old)
44gp – 2g – 3a – 5pts
2017-18 Cap Hit: $612,500
Rowney would come to town with a Stanley Cup ring after playing 20 games for the Penguins during their 16-17 Cup run. He has become an offensive threat in the AHL but hasn’t been able to hit his stride in Pittsburgh. He has decent size and can play both centre and the wing. Would be worth a look in camp.
None of these players can be described as sexy off-season pickups but in the end, one of them may be a reality for the Oilers. If I had to rank them in order of preference I think I’d go like this….
I can’t believe I just ranked those guys, Chiarelli is going to have to get very creative.