Cup Final UFA Radar

As you watch the highly entertaining back and forth play in this year’s Stanley Cup Final you are probably thinking one thing. How can the Oilers get some of these guys?

By my count, there are eight soon to be UFA’s that have played so far in the series. The majority of the players who will likely be available this summer are either defensemen or wingers, exactly what the Oilers are looking for.

I’m going to take a look at all eight players and give them each a pair of ratings. The first rating, out of ten, will be how badly the Oilers could use their services. The second rating, also out of ten, will be the likelihood of the Oilers actually signing them.


Desirability Rating – (10/10)

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John Carlson checks off all of the boxes for the Oilers. The right-shot d-man would take top pairing minutes on the blueline and quarterback the first unit power-play. He’s been playing almost 26 minutes a night in the post-season for the Caps and could be a 25-26 minute man for Todd McLellan next season. The perfect fit.

Likeliness Rating – (2/10)

If the Oilers had any sort of significant cap space this off-season they would likely push very hard for Carlson. With the situation they’re currently facing, they would have to make at least one significant move to free up the room. Don’t worry, they aren’t trading Nuge to sign Carlson.


Desirability Rating – (8/10)

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James Neal is a goal-scoring winger who has a little bit of an edge to his game and has been a top-six forward since he first stepped on NHL ice. He could play with either McDavid or Draisaitl and be a lock for 25 goals with an upside of 35 if he stays healthy.

Likeliness Rating – (4/10)

Remember when the Golden Knights were supposed to be in a position to trade Neal to the Oilers at the deadline? Ya, that didn’t work out like expected. I still think Neal would be a great fit for the Oilers but I see him just outside of their price range.


Desirability Rating – (6/10)

There aren’t a lot of options for teams in search of help on the wing this summer. I think most people, myself included, like the idea of David Perron more than the player himself. The former Oiler is coming off a career-best 66 points but has only scored three goals in 55 career playoff games. He can’t score in the post-season because he can’t skate well enough to keep up.

Likeliness Rating – (4/10)

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Perron picked the perfect time to have a career year. He will likely cash in on a deal this year that would be too rich for the Oilers; which I believe is actually a good thing.


Desirability Rating – (6/10)

Alex Chiasson is just 27-years old, shoots right and is 6’4, 208 lbs. He has scored in double digits three times in his five-year career. The big fella is picking up some valuable playoff experience and may be able to help the Oilers bottom six.

Likeliness Rating – (7/10)

His contract could be the type of value deal the Oilers need to settle for this summer. The Capitals brought him in for the basically the exact same reason the Oilers would be.


Desirability Rating – (4/10)

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Beagle is 32-years old and has spent his entire career with the Capitals. He kills penalties, takes big face-offs and actually contributed a bit offensively two seasons ago.

Likeliness Rating – (2/10)

I don’t see any reason for Beagle to leave Washington.


Desirability Rating – (0/10)

The Oilers already have Zack Kassian who, when on his game, can be more effective than Reaves. Absolutely, zero reason to bring him in.

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Likeliness Rating – (1/10)

I can’t possibly give anyone a 0/10 because you just never know with NHL General Managers. He was on the ice looking for a goal with less than a minute left in Game 2,  so yes, crazy things do happen.


Desirability Rating – (3/10)

It’s no secret that the Oilers would like to add some depth on the blueline this summer. You’d have to expect very little offensive but he could be a steady third pairing guy when called upon.

Likeliness Rating – (3/10)

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I do think the Oilers will target other bargain level blueliners prior to taking a look at Kempny. He probably wouldn’t cost much more than a million.


Desirability Rating – (4/10)

He wears an ‘A’ for the Golden Knights and has 14 points in 30 games which isn’t bad for a guy not known for his offence. Sbisa would be a guy the Oilers would look to bring in only if someone else was moved.

Likeliness Rating – (2/10)

I don’t see him commanding the 3.6 million he has been making for the past three seasons but will still likely end up being too pricey for the Oilers.

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If you add up the desirability and likeliness ratings of all the players you’d get the following order.

Alex Chiasson – Total Score: 13
John Carlson – Total Score: 12
James Neal – Total Score: 12
David Perron – Total Score: 10
Jay Beagle – Total Score: 6
Luca Sbisa – Total Score: 6
Michal Kempny – Total Score: 6
Ryan Reaves – Total Score: 1

So, basically what I’ve concluded is that the only soon-to-be free agent that’s playing in the Stanley Cup Final and could possibly be on the Oilers radar is Alex Chiasson. I’m sorry.

Recently by Dustin Nielson


    Teams that got swept or beat bad in the playoffs are what I would target for UFA due to not wanting to return or the mcd effect or change of sceniery
    NJ, Columbus, L.A., Anaheim, Minnesota.

  • PCL

    i think Carlson will end up in New Jersey. he’s just what they need as they aren’t exactly flush with top end d-men and he doesn’t have to leave the northeast.

  • Moneyball

    It will be very tough for Edmonton to attract any grade A or Grade b free agents without a significant overpay. Edmonton is not Florida and the fan base and local media are very aggressive and negative. Lucic is the only top UFA we have attracted in a long time and people want to run the guy out of town for a poor half season. Until these things change EDMONTON is not a desirable location for any Ufa with options.

    • PCL

      Few places in the NHL are Florida or New York or L.A. but most players would want to go to where the best fit for them personally is as well as a winning team. I doubt most UFA’S care about sitting on the beach in January, that’s what Joe fan wants!

    • Dr

      I agree. I’ve been an Oiler fan since the 80s, and I’ve seen many players get the same treatment. It’s certainly something players consider when choosing a team to sign with. Oiler fans have turned on Grier, Poti, Comrie, Arnott, etc etc. I remember people used to call Coffey “Paul Cough Up.” He turned out ok.

  • TKB2677

    I am a bit surprised that Nielson’s desirability of Carlson was a 10. I get that he is a right handed, good skating, puck moving dman that can score some points but you would be paying an absolute premium for him. He had a career year both in goals and points by A LOT this past season. So the team that signs him will be paying Carlson as a 15 goal, 68 pt dman when in all likelihood he will be a under 10 goal, 40 pt dman. In 8 NHL seasons, he’s score 10 or less goals and less than 40 pts in 6 of his 8 seasons. He had 9 goals and 37 pts last year as an example. So some team is going to have to give him on a 7 yr deal, 7+ mill because he scored 68 pts this year, then get a dman who will be maybe 40 pts over that contract. So I would drop his desirability way down because he is a poster boy for a trap contract.

    • PCL

      I wouldn’t. He’s still a very good point producer and showed this year that he has become a #1 d-man, exactly what the Oilers need and would be well worth the money. Unfortunately if the Oilers want to add a good forward, he wouldn’t be cheap and it might spell the end of Klefbom.

      • TKB2677

        I agree he’s a good dman that would check a lot of boxes but you’d be paying him as if he was a 68 pt dman when the chances of him doing that given his career average is pretty slim. So you’d be paying him 1.5-2 mill more per year than you should just because he shot the lights out for 1 season when he was set to hit free agency. It happens all the time with brand new UFA’s. They have a career year, sign the big deal then never come close again.

    • Bills Bills

      I think you are under estimating the value of a 40 point, 27 minute a game right shot dman in the prime of his career. Carlson has always been a point producer and has averaged over 40 points per season over his career. He does not play a big and physical game but can skate and make smart defensive plays. That usually spells for a long career trajectory. At 28 7×7 would be worth every penny in my opinion. If it cost us trading Klefbom to make room for that, you could get some decent prospects and picks to help down the road for him.

      The problem is Carlson would need to want to come here. There will be no shortage of teams offering him a contract, including Washington.

  • The Future Never Comes

    Perron’s name has been circulating in a couple articles for a while now as a possible option. Do you guys not remember that he asked for a trade out of town, which is why he was dealt? Yea, I know we have 97 but isn’t enough to come around for a second tour of duty after playing on a winning team in Vegas. I would probably stop mentioning his name, as it will not happen.

    • TKB2677

      I am of the opinion that the Oilers need to avoid the majority of player that are over 30 unless it’s a guy that you are bringing in on a super cheap, 1 yr deal. You especially need to avoid any UFA coming off a career year. Perron had 66 pts this season in Vegas, a career high. He had 46 pts last year, 36 the year before, 41 the year before. He’s probably going to be grossly overpaid and if you look at his stats, he over his career has scored mostly in the 40 pt range.

      Unless it’s a young player, I actually would avoid most player that were in Vegas. What Vegas has done has been a miracle in my opinion. It won’t happen again. You go down the list of guys on that team and almost all of them had career years all at once. One guy I might consider but will probably be too expensive is James Neal. I say that because he put up 25 goals, 44 pts in 71 games this year. Last year he had 23 goals, 41 pts in 70 games for Nash. So he put up just about the same goals and points in the same amount of games in Vegas as he did Nash and has scored over 20 goals for the last 7 yrs in a row. So he’s been pretty consistent and the numbers he put up in Vegas are on par with previous seasons.

  • dsanchez1973

    Perron likelihood has to be 0/10. He didn’t leave on good terms as far as I understood, and I can’t imagine he’d come back unless he only had retirement as an option.