Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Free Agency Leftovers

The Oilers were fairly quiet on July 1st. They stayed away from big contracts with term, but that means they also lost out on some reliable top-six forwards they desperately need. The days after July 1st weren’t busy, but some solid players remain unsigned. The Oilers might be able to scoop up a decent player at a cheaper rate than expected.

Justin Williams, Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau are veteran forwards who can play at various levels on a good team. None of them will be coming to Edmonton.

Ryan Dzingel – 78gp: 26g 30a 56p 

Dzingel had a solid season, but Columbus opting for Gustav Nyquist on a four-year, $5.5-million per contract instead of Dzingel has to concern teams. Dzingel’s points per points dropped after being traded to Columbus. He also had just one point, a goal, in nine playoff games, and was healthy scratched.

Dzingel has speed to burn and can clearly play alongside good players. Maybe he doesn’t get the home-run contract in free agency he expected, but two models project him around $4.3 million a season.

EvolvingWild projects Dzingel at $4.25 million AAV for four years. I could see him being a fit if the Oilers can get the term down

Micheal Ferland – 71gp: 17g 23a 40p

It’s surprising to see a player like Ferland without a contract past July 1st. Ferland is big, tough, and can play with good players. He played with Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau in Calgary and Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen in Carolina.

Wayne Simmond’s one-year $5-million contract doesn’t bode well for Ferland, but Simmonds had 30 points to Ferland’s 40.

Maybe teams are a bit hesitant to hand out big money to another late-twenties power forward. No one wants to be stuck with another Milan Lucic contract, but Ferland has value on a shorter-term deal.

EvolvingWild projects Ferland at a $4.1 million AAV for four years. I’m not sure if he gets that, but the Oilers can’t be in on him at that cap hit or term.

Thomas Vanek – 65gp: 16g 20a 36p

Vanek scores goals. Vanek has at least 16 goals in each of the past five seasons, including a 24-goal season split between Vancouver and Columbus in 2017-18.

Vanek remains a useful scorer, but he’s a player that needs a bit of sheltering. The Oilers have a bunch of those players already, but can’t be choosy about available scoring wingers. Vanek may not be the best defensive player, but can they really pass on a player who’s guaranteed for at least 15 goals?

Ken Holland’s signed Vanek twice already.

EvolvingWild has Vanek at $1.99 million for one season. That’s an easy contract to give out.

Derick Brassard – 70gp: 14g 9a 23p

Brassard’s fell off last season, with time spent in Pittsburgh, Florida, and Colorado. Brassard can play center, which might be attractive to the Oilers if they’re set on Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl playing together.

Brassard made $5 million last season, but he won’t come close to that on this contract. He’s always been a strong 5-on-5 scorer, but didn’t continue that in 2018-19. Maybe it’s part of being 31-years old, or maybe he bounces back and produces on a cheap one-year contract.

Brian Boyle – 73gp: 18g 6a 24p

Boyle plays center and is reliable on faceoffs, and oh, he’s 6’6″. Boyle might be more of a fourth-line center who can play on both special teams.

Boyle wouldn’t be a bad signing, even though Oilers need a third-line center more. EvolvingWild has Boyle at one-year and $1.25 million, a price almost any team could afford.

Oscar Lindberg – 55gp: 9g 11a 20p 

Lindberg’s 20 points in 55 games would be a nice addition to the Oilers.

Lindberg can play some center and has been a surprisingly decent 5-on-5 scorer in a limited role. Holland’s looking for players who can score double-digit goals and Lindberg’s nine goals in 55 games projects to 13 over a full 82-game season.

Josh Archibald – 68gp: 12g 10a 22p

Archibald is a right-shot right wing who scored double-digit goals last season for the Arizona Coyotes. All 12 of Archibald’s goals were at even strength. He spent most of his time with Lawson Crouse and Nick Cousins.

Archibald skates well and kills penalties.

EvolvingWild projects Archibald at one-year and $740K. That’s a contract that could provide value.

Dzingel, Brassard, and Archibald particularly interest. Dzingel gives Edmonton a scoring winger, Brassard adds center depth, and Archibald might make virtually nothing and be a reliable depth winger.

Follow me on Twitter: @chrispagnani.


After having such a blast over the past two years, we absolutely knew that we were going to organize another golf tourney for the summer and, after a few months of planning, we’re psyched to finally be able to launch our third annual golf tournament.

  • When – August 29th, 2019 (Thursday)
  • Where – Cougar Creek Golf Resort
  • How much – $1000/team or get in on the $900 Early Bird price until July 10th
  • Teams – Groups of Four (4)
  • How – Book your team here

As always, a portion of all proceeds from your ticket purchase will be donated directly to a local charity. This time we’ve partnered up with the Gregor Foundation to make sure that our kids are at their most handsome.

  • blobbo

    I say wait unless you can find someone in the bargain bin. Half those guys are no better than Gagner and, although I like Sam, he’s not the kind of player I would be in a hurry to sign.

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    And this is why I give Holland a big fat FAIL for FA day. He had money to spend on a guy like Dzingle, but instead opts to waste it on 2 bottom 6 forwards, a fringe NHLer and a injury prone, past his sell-by-date goalie.

    • Steven Bergeron

      Are you going to praise Holland when he pulls off a blockbuster for a legit top 6 forward? I think most people on this blog are tired of listening to your pessimism.

        • pkam

          EvolvingWild projects Micheal Ferland, who has 40 points (17G and 23A) at 4.1M AAV for four years. So how much should a player with 38 points (22G and 16A) worth? And 2.15M AVV for 2 years is overpaid, then how do you describe EvolvingWild’s projection on Micheal Ferland? 2.15M is for player scoring about 10 goals 25 points, which is Chiasson NHL average. Learn a little about the market price before making stupid comment.

    • CMG30

      Bad idea to blow your brains out on money and term with a big name free agent who may or may not be able to move the needle. While the bottom 6 aren’t sexy to talk about, they’re just as important to a team winning. If Edmonton had some kind of average secondary scoring last season, we could have been in the mix for a playoff spot. Or if a few of the bottom 6 had at least been PK specialists, we would have been much better as well…

    • All Ice

      Big game hunting has always gone well for the oil, hasn’t it? A successful UFA signing is less than 3 years and under 4 mil otherwise stay away. Holland hasn’t broken that rule or downgraded our left over talent from Chia in some awful trade. Steps in the right direction

    • madjam

      You might end up being right and Oilers might be weaker so far to start the season . If we falter further he will quickly be likened to Chiarelli . Summer season has still lots of time to improve however .

    • TKB2677

      It’s July the 4th dude. There is what 3 months left before the season. I get that your thing is to bash the Oilers no matter what. Things have been tough for a long time so I get the frustration but decided the offseason is a fail on July freaking 4th?? That’s a bit over the top.

      If history says anything, the majority of the signs we have seen so far are probably not going to work out all that well. In the frenzy that is July 1, where teams are frantically trying to get guys, a lot of players usually get way too much money, term or both because there was a bidding war for them. The best contracts typically come well after July 1st.

      Plus, there are some big time RFA’s that have to be signed by teams who are tight against it. The Oilers have some cap space to make a trade. as an example. They Leafs just signed Kerfoot and Ceci. So as of today, they have just over 3.7 mill in cap space. They still have Marner left. Something has to give.

      • Dallas Eakins Hair

        I agree, teams start will be looking to get their rosters finalized and their budgets set, they aren’t going to be looking to take on more money, so guys will have a decision to make on what they want to do play here go over seas wait and see etc. I wouldnt rush into any deals

    • cityofchampions

      Smith wasn’t my first choice, but I’d take him over Talbot any day on a one-year show me contract. Holland can still waste money on Dzingle if he wants, the price is just getting lower after he was a healthy scratch in playoffs and nobody offered him anything on July 1.

  • Abagofpucks

    Wouldn’t it be a hoot if we picked up Ferly on a cheap 2x2avv deal, and he crushed all of the Flames players top players, while we blew there doors off all season.

  • The future never comes

    Only one I want from there is Dzingel. Could put him with either McD or Leon and split the big boys up so there is more threats other then one line.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      The Oilers would have to clear cap space I dont know if Columbus wont try seeing if they could entice Dzingel to coming back they have some big holes to fill with Duchene and Panarin gone now. I wouldnt mind the Oilers making a play for Dzingel but I am sure he will be in demand and how high he is looking for in a pay raise may be a factor for Holland as well. AS I said though Holland would need to make some moves for that to happen,noit enough cash to do a deal as it stands

  • TKB2677

    I’d be interested in Boyle because he’s supposed to be a good guy and he’s a good bottom 6 center that can win some draws. The Oilers need a 3rd line center. The only problem is his footspeed.

    Brassard to a lesser degree but he can skate which would be good.

    I really wonder if as the days go bye, does a guy like Dzingel consider a 1 yr, reasonably priced, show me deal. He’s got good numbers so usually those guys sign their big term, big money contracts either July 1 or very close to it. So teams must see some red flags. On the Oilers, he would automatically be in their top 6. He’d be playing with at worst a good second line center in Nuge so he should be able to put up good numbers. If you look at the winger depth, there are probably very few teams with a better opportunity than the Oilers to put up good numbers and get yourself a nice contract next year. Look no further than Chiasson. A PTO guy. He made the team but because he worked hard and took advantage of the opportunity by playing well, he moved up the roster fast, had himself a real good year and got a 2 yr, 2.15 mill deal, not an overpay BUT a big time upgrade on the contracts he was previously getting. If he were to sign say a 1 yr, 3- 3.6 mill deal, which is a rise raise or could double his salary and he plays well. Given he is a better offensive player than Chiasson, if Chaisson can put up 22 goals and 38 pts, surely Dzingel could easily better that and get himself a fat contract next year.

    • TKB2677

      He made 1.8 mill last year. He had 26 goals, 56 pts last year. He had 23 goals, 44 pts the year before.

      We saw Tanev who had 14 goals, 29 pts last year sign for 6 yrs at 3.5 mill.
      We saw Connelly sign for 4 years at 3.5 mill. He had 22 goals, 46 pts last year. Before that he never cracked 30 pts.
      We saw Nyquist score 22 goals, 60 pts, a career high in pts sign for 4 yrs at 5.5 mill.

      I live in the real world, where the sky is blue and unicorns aren’t walking around. I look at what Dzingel put up in points and compared him to what others who scored LESS signed for when coming up with a short term number. What imaginary world do you live in Abag?

  • ed from edmonton

    Holland has stated he is looking for a 20 goal scorer and I don’t anyone on the list is a true 20 goal scorer, but a lot of guys who can score 20 goals in a given year. I think a trade or even a RFA offer might be what happens. RFA guys who fit in the similar profile include Kevin Leblanc, J T Compher and Kevin Fiala.

    The good news is that when looking at the stats of the three guys mentioned above non of them cam close to putting up numbers like Benson did last eat in the AHL. Makes me more optimistic that Benson will be an NHL player.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    Oilers will still need to clear out a contract or two before they can do anything. Yes we have 3 mil in cap space, but last year Chia had us against the cap and we had to dump a player and his contract to be able to make a move, I doubt Holland wants to be tight to the cap at the start of the season with no wiggle room to add anything during the season if he has to.

    The Oilers also have to watch how many guys they signed to contracts, I dont think Holland needs to rush into any deals, teams still havent got down to paring their rosters to get set to be compliant with the cap and contracts they can have on the books, so more guys may come available yet. Holland would like to move some guys as we all know, so will other teams, no need to rush into anything and some of those guys will be looking for landing spots because there will be teams that just dont have the budget to add guys. Look at the Leafs and Vegas they still have guys to sign and fill holes on their teams but they still have to either trade or let guys go because they dont have the cap space, those players have not come available yet…. but sooner or later they will, so there will be other options out there, no need to make a deal for the sake of making one, only do deal if it makes sense and helps

  • Abagofpucks

    Alex all i can say is, im glad your not our gm. I sure hope your not wetting your bed over the lack of activity in fa.

    But just in case a bag of goodnights might be a wise investment for you.

  • Schmidt Head

    The season doesn’t start until October so there’s no need to be in a hurry. There’s not one player left available who’s worth panicking over or breaking the bank for. There’s at least an even chance that any or all of them will still be available come training camp and perhaps be a bit more willing to talk on our terms. And even if they’re not, who cares? Are any of them going to take us to the promised land? Not a chance!

    In the meantime, send the message out loud, clear and unequivocal to every player in our system – there are spots open on the big team so come to camp prepared to grab them. You will all be given every opportunity!

    One other thing; is there any rule saying we HAVE to spend to the cap? Just because we have money available doesn’t mean we HAVE to spend it now. Cap ourselves out now and we handcuff ourselves on any future deals that may open up in Oct/Nov/Dec.

    In any other enterprise, spending to the limit of your budget should put you among the top performers in your field, should it not? We’re nowhere close to that!

    It wouldn’t be the worst thing if we just stood back and kept our powder dry for a while and work with what we have.

  • nbandito

    Like it or not our best odds at making the playoffs next year lies on the shoulders of Koskinen figuring out the starter role, and one or two of our farm club players being able to step up and fill a couple of the holes on the roster.

  • HelpMeBabyJesus

    Trade nuge for picks or for young/cheap prospects and sign dzingel and boyle. Dzingle gives you the fast winger with hands that could score 30 playing with McDavid. Boyle can play the third line center spot at a price that is appropriate for a 3rd line center. We love nuge but c’mon already…now is the time to get value in a trade before he Is in the last year of his contract.

  • CityofWhat

    I think Holland might go via trade route.
    Florida wants to clear some cap space and I’m hearing Hoffman is available,
    I would trade Russell+ Bear & a 4th rd pick for Hoffman. That would give Florida about 1.75M in cap relieve. Win win for both teams.

    • cityofchampions

      Gonna need to pony up more than that for Hoffman. If Florida is looking at saving money they ain’t taking a bad contract like Russell (or Lucic) back.