Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Do the Oilers still have a shot at a UFA?

We’re now nearly a week into free agency and we’ve seen everything from offer sheets to trades and everything in between.

The free agent market, however, has seemingly begun to slow down.

But the signing of F Marcus Johansson to a two-year, $9-million deal by the Buffalo Sabres yesterday got me thinking; are the Oilers done?

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Edmonton only has around $3.3-million in cap space right now including the buried cap hit of Brandon Manning.

There’s still the RFA market which has plenty of big names players. Mikko Rantanen, Mitch Marner, Matthew Tkachuk, Brayden Point, etc., etc…

But when you look at the much more sparse UFA market, there are a few names that jump out — mainly forwards Ryan Dzingel and Michael Ferland.

According to EvolvingWild’s free agent predictions, both players have a projected cap hit on their next contract of roughly $4.15-million, both over four-year deals.

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That means the Oilers are around $800,000 short on either player.

I think both would be good targets for the Oilers, for what it’s worth.

Dzingel is coming off a career year splitting time with the Senators and Blue Jackets. He notched 26 goals and 30 assists in 78 games — 44 of which points came in 57 games with Ottawa.

An offensive jack of all trades, his points have increased steadily in the last three seasons including back-to-back 20-goal seasons.

His underlying numbers are shaking, but the Oilers could use a player like him in the top-six to help provide more offensive punch.

Ferland is a player who’s a little more attractive to me. He’s posted back-to-back 40 point seasons with the Hurricanes and Flames, and has shown he can play up and down lineups.

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He’s put up good points on the powerplay and has positive underlying numbers. Not only that, but he plays a fast and physical game that many in Edmonton still crave.

The problem Edmonton runs into, however, is their salary cap restrictions.

It’s easy to be critical of signings like Markus Granlund for one-year, $1.3-million, or Chiasson’s two-year, $2.1-million extension, or Tomas Jurco’s one-year, $750,000 deal.

I like what the Oilers are going for in being able to bring in more competition for the bottom-six. But I can’t help but think how the Oilers could afford a better player for not an unreasonable amount of money.

Now with that being said, I wonder if Edmonton could convince a Dzingel, or a Ferland, to take slightly less money on a slightly lesser deal. Maybe they’d be willing to sign for around $3-million on a one-year, or two-year deal.

Who knows.

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None the less, I wonder if Edmonton could find a way to be able to maneuver their cap to add some higher end assets.

On Twitter: @zjlaing

    • Shameless Plugger

      Opportunity. When looking up and down a team’s lineup is there any other that offers opportunity to play with some of the top players in the game than the oilers? We’re naked on the wings in the top six.

      • Spydyr

        Having a shameful lack of top six wingers goes to show the ineptitude of the organization. It just proves my point. Not to mention being thrown under the bus if you fail to meet expectations.

        • Joy S. Lee

          Salary cap era. Few teams don’t have a weak spot. A lack of a talent in an area is an opportunity for one who has talent, to play with some incredible talent. And there is plenty of love here for a team and players to capture the rabid fans’ imagination, which can be transformative. Your spin on it isn’t new, but there are other perspectives besides yours or that narrow spectrum you choose to see it through.

      • All Ice

        The thing is these guys are already top 6 players. This aren’t guys that have been stuck in the bottom 6 on a good team and would jump at the chance to move to a team to move up the lineup. They’re already labelled as top 6

  • BR

    THose players should be looking for security now – too much risk taking a 1 year deal on a crap team. What happens when their numbers crumble and they hit FA next year with a way more limited market. They end up being the next Maroon or something having to look for a PTO/cheap deal. They should be taking the 3-4 yr deals while they can.

      • Ken Holland

        I do like the fact we will have over 26 mil in cap space next year with just Nurse to sign.

        Keeping our salary cap options open and trading our rental vets for draft picks may be the best approach this season. Holland will be able to bring in a couple of impact players to finally create some forward depth. Especially if we go into the draft next year loaded with picks and 26+ mil in cap space.

  • Ken Holland

    Cap friendly shows us at 4 million in cap space, with Manning(2.25), Brodziak(1.15), Jurco(750k) and Cave(750k) and Gagner(3.1) in the lineup. If all 5 are sent to minors, how much of the 8 million in cap space can we use?

    • crabman

      So burying Cave and Jurco doesn’t reallysave any money as Cave is at bellow league minimum at 650K and Jurco is just above. It would cost that to replace them.
      the savings from burying the other three would be $3.075M with a combined cap hit of $3.475M.
      Keeping 11 forwards;
      McDavid 12.5
      Draisaitl 8.5
      Lucic 6
      Nuge 6
      Chaisson 2.15
      Kassian 1.2
      Granlund 1.3
      Khaira 1.2
      Nygard .925
      Jurco .75
      Cave .75
      for $41.95M for 11 forwards
      Burying Manning probably means Jones is on the team giving the Oilers 7 D;
      Klefbom 4.17
      Larsson 4.17
      Russell 4
      Nurse 3.2
      Benning 1.9
      Persson 1
      Jones .72
      2 goalies;
      Koskinen 4.5
      Smith 2
      for $6.5M
      Buyouts costing $4.13M
      grand total of $75.215
      that leaves them $6.285 for 3 forward spots. If they promote 2 from within, lets say Benson .808, and Gaetan .925 that leaves them $4.552 for the last forward. That’s just enough to sign a top 6 winger but these numbers don’t take into acount any potential bonuses for Smith. So even conservatively at $1M we could still possibly find a fit for $3.5M. But this puts them right up against the cap. Not impossible but tough.

    • Kneedroptalbot

      I don’t see the any reason a decent free agent forward would want to sign here. Hear me out…
      To improve their value and stats they need to play and need decent ice time. When EDM is behind (which is often) they double shift Draisaitl and Mick David as they should.
      Nuge is the 2nd line center and will be used in the shutdown role with Grandlund (who is excellent on the PK). Oilers insist on playing Kassian/Lucic/Brodziak, (The Identify Line??) due to large contracts unmovable contracts. So what do we have left for ice time???
      Go Get-em Tiger…12-14 mins a night …show us what you can do….??
      Until the Oilers, lose the Identity line and distribute ice time,
      nothing changes.

      • crabman

        You can’t honestly think a top 6 forward this team desperately needs will be stuck playing 3rd line minutes do you? I also highly doubt we see the 2nd line being used as the hard matchup defensive line, it wasn’t last year, especially if they can get secondary scoring from another top 6 player signed to play with Nuge.
        As far as the identity line, they haven’t played together since January when Kassian was promoted to the top line . Not to mention they have a new coach and the identity line was a Hitchcock concoction.
        If someone like Ferland or Dzingel are still looking for a contract come August why wouldn’t they sign a 1 year deal to play top 6 with a quality center and hopefully score even more than last year helping their next contract next offseason.

  • OriginalPouzar

    I wouldn’t be in favor of signing either Ferland or Dzingel for over $4M but, technically, no, they would not be $800K short – they have apx $3.5M cap space with a 23 man roster – if one of those players were signed, they would replace someone on the roster who would be sent to the AHL likely (their cap hit likely fully buried – if its someone like Hass or Nygard or Joe G. or Cave, etc.)

    • crabman

      on a 1 year deal in the $3.5-4M range would still improve the team this year while leaving them the flexability and cap room next year. Those are deals I would definitely do amd if they are unemployeed come August who knows a 1 year deal might appeal to one of them too

  • Ko-D

    Trade Russell for whatever or nothing and grab Dzingel on a 1 year 6 mil deal. Russell is a solid AHL replacement level player with too much salary to be a value player. Overpay for a 1 year lower risk deal.

  • toprightcorner

    Now that we are into the 2nd week of free agency, prices start to drop drastically so guys are not stuck in August just for a PTO. Prime example of this was Maroon last year, he was estimated to get $3.5 x 3 and ended up with a 1 year deal at $1.75.

    I don’t think Brassard has a lot of suitors with his stats declining 2 straight years on 3 different teams. He is likely looking for a 1 year, bounce back contract where he has the best chance to have his offence rebound. The Oilers should sign him, but not for the 3C position, but for a top 6 winger. Not only would that be very tantalizing to him as he can play with Nuge, get lucky and play with McDavid, and also get some good PP time. If he doesn’t work in the top 6, drop him to the bottom 6.

    Players like Brassard usually settle for under $1.5 on a show-me contract and I think he would take a bit less money knowing he has a much better shot at top 6 minutes with the Oilers than most other teams out there.

    If Boyle was interested in Edmonton, I would sign him for 3C at under $2 mill. Boyle is good for 12-15 goals at the 3C and Brassard as a top 6 winger is good for 15-18 goals and may pull a Chaisson and score over 20.

    Brassard on the wing and Boyle at 3C, the Oilers would get at least 30 goals out of them, that is at least 10-12 more goals that what their current roster would be able to score. That is a good goal increase for around $3 mill

    • crabman

      If both could be had for the remaining cap space it could work. I’m not as bullish as you are with expectations though. 30 between them would be good value but Boyle is at an age where the wheels could fall off and with Brassard have back to back poor seasons he might not bounce back meaning we still only have 3 top6 forwards. I do like the versatility those signing could add and for the price it might be worth the gamble as long as they were both 1 year deals.

  • What the Puck

    Sign Maroon for 2.25m. For 2. Half a mill more than last year for living expenses lol. Seriously though. Leave the 1.25m left in space. No buyouts. If an opportunity comes to dump Lucic do it. Ride out the season. Start courting 2020 ufa. This group could still surprise us. Safe and smart.

  • hammer313

    This is what makes a good GM. Find a way……….make a trade and free up cap space. I like Ferland, as well, and his more diversified skill set is what the Oilers need. So far nothing floats my boat in the additions, soft, soft and soft European players. Could use a agitating presence in the lineup that can skate and score. If Holland does not get Dzingel or Ferland, I deem this as another lost off-season, in a long list of them. On another note, Broberg playing in Sweden is stupid, get him on the North American ice this year, otherwise it will deter his development into the NHL by 1 year! Also, Pully going to the Euro ice will not help him, but hurt him in ever playing in the NHL, may as well trade him at this point, if you do that. This team still shoots itself in the foot, at every opportunity, must be the OBC still at the helm. All I can think of.