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Photo Credit: Jason Franson/Canadian Press

WWYDW(SE): The Leftovers

Ken Holland took a fairly conservative approach on his first-ever Free Agent Frenzy day as general manager of the Edmonton Oilers. He filled the role of backup goalie with veteran Mike Smith, brought back a familiar face in Alex Chiasson, and a took a flyer on one of his old Red Wings prospects in Tomas Jurco.

At a glance, that’s a pretty underwhelming free agency period. It’s hard to imagine the Oilers a better team this year than they were last with the signings made this week. Of course, there’s still time for Holland to make some much-needed additions to the roster. Given some of the ugly contracts handed out on July 1 and Edmonton’s needs all over the roster, I don’t mind Holland being patient and waiting for free agents to fall between the cracks.

That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday SUNDAY EDITION question. Which leftover under-the-radar free agents should the Oilers be interested in adding? The Oilers still have a shade under $4 million in cap room left to work with this summer which could be enough room for a solid player or a couple of bargain bin additions.

Here are some names who make sense to me…

  • Ryan Dzingel: Dzingel appeared poised to cash in on a big payday this summer until he had a disappointing playoff run with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Despite only scoring one goal in nine games with the Blue Jackets in the playoffs, Dzingel still scored 26 goals last season between Columbus and Ottawa. He’s a speedy and versatile forward who would fit perfectly in Edmonton’s top six. I would look to give him a little more term on a lower annual salary because he’s a very good buy-low, bounce-back candidate.
  • Michael Ferland: Much like with Dzingel, I assumed the Oilers would be priced out of Ferland’s market a few weeks ago. But we’re a week into free agency and Ferland doesn’t have a new deal. He’s coming off of a solid 17-goal season with the Carolina Hurricanes and brings grit and bite to his game. Like with Dzingel, I would do a longer term deal if it meant a smaller cap hit.
  • Pat Maroon: Maroon is a perfect buy-low option for the Oilers, who don’t have much room to work with. While Dzingel and Ferland would be a challenge to fit under the cap, Maroon shouldn’t cost the Oilers much as he’s coming off of a 10-goal season. Still, as we know, Maroon is a solid player who can play up and down the lineup and already has chemistry with Connor McDavid.
  • Derick Brassard: Just a few years ago Derick Brassard was a very good second line centre in the NHL. Over the past couple of years, though, his production has fallen off a cliff. Brassard has played for four different teams in the past two years and put up just 23 points last season. He’s a fair gamble to take on a one-year deal.
  • Brian Boyle: While Edmonton’s biggest need is more skill in the top-six, they could also use a very good third-line centre who can kill penalties. Boyle is known mostly for his defensive game, but he can also chip in offensively. He scored 18 goals last year between New Jersey and Nashville, adding a lot of value to both teams as a power play option.

What say you, Nation? Which leftover free agents should the Oilers be interested in signing? Is there anybody worthwhile, or should they save the free cap room for a trade down the road? 

  • OilCan2

    Brian Boyle please. Save some loot to sign JP when he realizes his choice is the Oilers or going home. Ken may even have some pocket change for a September surprize.

  • Ken Holland

    Lineup as is – (not pleasant)

    Draisaitl – McDavid – Kassian
    Benson – Nuge – Chiasson
    Granlund – Haas – Nygard
    Lucic– Khaira – Gagner
    Brodziak

    Klefbom – Larsson
    Nurse – Russell
    Jones – Benning
    Persson

    Cap friendly shows us at 4 million in cap space, with Manning(2.25), Brodziak(1.15), Jurco(750k) and Cave(750k) in the lineup. When all 4 are sent to minors, how much of the 5 million in cap space is cleared?

    If its a substantial amount, we can easily sign Dzingel, Ferland or Gusev. This allows us to move Kassian or Chiasson into the bottom six where they potentially belong.

      • Rugbypig

        Odd you would say this Dallas
        Cap space means total salary so . . . . . Lucic is a 6m cap hit not a 6m + 3m bonus as you are indicating
        Also his contract was front loaded so the real money paid out is less than the actual cap hit (6m).
        I believe it is at 4.5m in real dollars now

        • Redbird62

          The most cap relief a team can get from sending any player whatever their contract status is to the minors is the league minimum ($700,000 in 19/20) plus $375,000 or $1.075 million. So with Brandon Manning’s salary, if he is sent down, the Oilers get that amount of cap relief and carry the rest of his salary against their cap ($1.175 million). If Gagner is sent down, they get the same $1.075 million relief and have to continue to eat $2.075 million. The Oilers have just under $4 million in cap space right now, but with only 22 players on the roster, and I am pretty sure Holland, like most teams would like to run with the 23 on the roster. All the guys likely to get called up are making $800 to 900 thousand. So sending vets (Manning, Gagner, Brodziak) down and bringing up youngins’ would save around $200-$300,000 per player at most. So basically, without moving out a larger contract off the team completely, the most the Oilers could spend on one UFA would be right around the $4 million, and leave them very little cap space.

    • SailorD81

      I’d be very leery of signing Gusev for what is the rumored ask. Yes he lead the KHL is scoring, but Nigel Dawes was 2nd in league scoring. Remember him? A quick google search tells me his point totals in the NHL are a whopping 84 over 212 games. Anton Belov was the best D man in the KHL before he came over too, that didn’t work out so well. It would seem there is a large drop off in skill from the KHL to the NHL. Not saying Gusev is useless and shouldn’t be considered. Just 5m (rumored) is a lot of money for a guy who has proved nothing in the NHL.

  • DannyGallivan

    I would prefer the trade route. I would look to move Benning ($1.9M) or Russel ($4M 10 team NT clause – may accept other teams). Although much more difficult, you increase your cap space and add a top 6 fwd. It is much easier just to add but we don’t have enough cap space – many other teams are in the same position with the less than expected cap increase so they need to reduce in order to add as well.

    • CityofWhat

      Yes the trade route makes the most sense to. Trade Russell+ Bear & 4th round pick to Florida for Hoffman, Florida wants some cap relieve and that could be a trade that works for both teams. Florida will save about 1.75 on the cap. And we would get our top 6 winger that can score at well.

        • cityofchampions

          Doesn’t make much sense for Florida though. Trading Hoffman for a $1.75M savings in cap space, a bad contract (Russell) and a B prospect? They’ll want a lot more than that. Make it Jones, JP, Russell and a 2nd and maybe they’ll start talking to you.

          • CityofWhat

            No it won’t take that much as the article explains you are acquiring from a point of strength just like some of the trades mentioned especially the Haula one, remember Hoffman only has 1 year left on his contract so no guarantee he will resign.

  • OilTastic

    though Ferland and Dzingel are still good players and Maroon is what he is….he can get you close to 30, like he did a few years ago for the Oilers (27) or he can get you 10 like he did this year, i’d like to not see Brassard here. he did get 14 goals this year and that’s fine for what we need him for but he’ll ask too much and want more than 1 year. and i believe Boyle is going to explore every option he can before ever considering the dumping ground that the Oilers have become!!

  • RJ

    The last two big plans for the Oilers was do nothing or have Chia bleed talent. I suppose doing nothing is better than doing stupid trades.

    Holland has a great gig. Gets paid $5m to do nothing.

    • CityofWhat

      What can Holland do with the mess he inherited. Blame Chia for that. Next year will be a different story with lots of cap space. The only thing Holland can possibly do is the trade route but he has to add something substantial for someone to take our dead weight contracts and that might not be so smart to do.

      • If we had a banana as GM and did nothing our roster heading into next offseason would be something along these lines

        Benson-McDavid-Draisaitl
        _____-Nuge-Yamamoto
        _____-Marody-Chiasson
        Lucic-______-Khaira

        Nurse-Larsson
        Klefbom-Bouchard
        Jones-Bear
        Russell

        Koskinen

        Holland will have $25M and all of our draft picks except 2020 conditional 6th and 2020 7th with Samorukov, Broberg, Lavoie, McLeod, and Skinner all potentially in the AHL. He has alot of flexibility and a decent amount of assets to work with. As long as he doesn’t go full Chiarelli and re-sign guys like Granlund for 3years $3.25M and trades Nuge for Zaitsev then signs to a 6×6 deal then we’ll be fine.

        • Stallions #35

          If we have Jones, Bear and Bouchard in 3 of the 6 dmen position, we can start looking at next year’s draft class. With Sekera gone, I think we need to keep Russell…

      • RJ

        Other GMs are making trades. Maybe Holland makes a trade in August that improves the team. I wouldn’t say that anything he’s done to date are moving the needle.

    • This is the cleanup year. Implement Tippett’s system into the core guys, let the prospects develop and slowly get them in, and let the bad contracts play out. We’ll have lots of cap room to work with next year and Bouchard, Bear, Benson, Marody, and possibly others will be ready for full-time roles on the big team by next year.

    • Rugbypig

      Do nothing . . . . hmmmmm
      Hockey is a team game
      The Oilers top two lines created all but 43 goals for the Oilers last season
      The Oilers top two lines also out scored the opposition – they had more net goals for than the opposition scored against.
      The Oilers biggest problem is the bottom two lines – they have leaked goals against – so the Oilers lose games.
      Holland is addressing the weakness in the Oilers structure to win more games – BY PREVENTING GOALS against on the bottom two lines – this takes work – and of course understanding hockey is a team game

    • OilerForLife

      He did a whole lot and was in on the talks, but wasn’t going to sign somebody for too-long too-much, and wasn’t going to trade anybody if it wasn’t a fair deal. I want a GM to get deals done that we’ll like.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    Right now the GM’s around the league have the hammer and there are teams that still will need to move players out via trades, not qualifying them or dumping them for picks prospects or cheaper players. KH does not need to rush into any trades and before the Oilers can add salary KH will look to move a couple guys out, he needs to get some more cap space but to add anyone in the 3 or 4 mil range a couple guys would have to go. The Oilers are not going to want to go into the season tight against the cap and the number of contracts allowed like last year.

    Holland would be smart to wait and see what moves other teams are going to move to clear cap space because there could well yet be some good players who are going to get their walking papers due to cap and contract limit concerns, no need to rush into any trades right now. I would rather KH take the time to make moves that arent going to hinder the Oilers, no need to pull a Chia

  • ed from edmonton

    None of the guys mentioned here jump of the page although any would be an upgrade of some the AHLers that ended the season here. There was a rumor that the Oil were interested in Boyle, but as nothing has happened yet something isn’t aligning here. A trade with a team that needs cap space might be the best option.

  • toprightcorner

    Brassard for top 6 winger who will score 17-20 goals – $1.35 for 1 year show-me contract.

    Boyle for 3C who will score 12-15 goals – $1.75 for 1 year