It’s the eve of Free Agent Frenzy. Well, sort of. With the reality of the NHL’s talking period before July 1, the element of surprise isn’t what it used to be. We’ve seen a handful of contracts already spill out on Twitter as teams and players come to terms prior to free agency starting.
From an Oilers perspective, we were dealt two major pieces of news as it was reported the team would buy out the remaining two years of Andrej Sekera’s contract and that Mike Smith would be signed to form a tandem in net with Mikko Koskinen. We’ll find out what else Ken Holland has up his sleeve on Monday.
That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday SUNDAY EDITION question. What would you consider to be a successful free agency period for Ken Holland and the Oilers? Who should they sign with their freed up cap room? What need is most important? Can it be solved in free agency, or does the team need to make a trade?
With the Sekera buyout, the Oilers will have about $12.5 million to play with this off-season. The Mike Smith deal is reportedly worth $2 million with $2 million in performance bonuses, so you can shrink that number down to $8.5 million. The major needs Edmonton has now are a third-line centre and a top-six winger.
For a few days, the top-six winger hole looked like it was going to be filled by Brett Connolly. But according to Ryan Rishaug, the Oilers aren’t likely to sign the 27-year-old right winger. Things could change tomorrow, but it seems the term was too high for the Oilers to gamble on with Connolly.
Personally, I would rather the Oilers sign multiple free agents rather than going after one big fish. The issue with the team last year was a glaring lack of quality depth up front. While signing somebody like Connolly who can score 20 goals is great, you still don’t have much quality up front outside of four forwards. This is also why I would stay clear of guys like Gustav Nyquist, Michael Ferland, and Ryan Dzingel.
With $8.5 million to spend, Edmonton should be able to grab three or four forwards to add to the mix. Adding a third-line centre like Brian Boyle, a skilled forward like Tyler Ennis, a versatile middle-six winger like Alex Chiasson, Patrick Maroon, or Joonas Donskoi, and some under-the-radar forwards like Daniel Carr, Brandon Pirri, or Brendan Leipsic would be a nice day for Holland.
What say you, Nation? What would you deem a successful day for Holland? Would you prefer a big signing like Nyquist? Or would you rather the team add a bunch of depth? How would you handle free agency this year?