Welcome to the OilersNation UFA preview. Over the next 15 days, we’ll be profiling the top 30 players in this year’s UFA class, as listed by TSN. Contract information is from our friends at Puckpedia. Full UFA list via puckpedia here. Analytics provided by hockeyviz.com and naturalstattrick.com. Contract projections are done by evolving-hockey.com with the presumption contracts are signed between Aug. – Oct. 11.
Today, we’re looking at the 22nd ranked Travis Hamonic and 21st ranked Justin Braun.
Travis Hamonic, who was drafted with one of the picks the Oilers acquired in the Chris Pronger trade, broke into the NHL with the New York Islanders back in 2010-11 and immediately established himself as a quality, top-four defender.
After seven seasons on the Island, Hamonic was dealt to the Calgary Flames. This trade came a couple of years after Hamonic had requested to be traded so that he could be closer to his family, who reside in Manitoba. Hamonic would go on to spend three seasons with the Flames and is now eligible to hit unrestricted free agency for the first time in his career.
Hamonic was a bit of a mixed bag in Calgary. He missed time due to injury in all three seasons, his offensive production declined after he left the Islanders, and his ability to thrive in a shutdown role varied from year to year and partner to partner.
His on-ice goal differential at even strength fluctuated from outscoring opponents 71-to-59 in 2018-19 to being outscored 49-to-41 in 2019-20 and his shot attempt percentage dropped from 53.5 percent to 48.8 percent over the past year. Is that indicative of Hamonic’s play or is it because the Flames as a whole took a step backwards?
Projected contract: Five years, $5,211,000 AAV.
Should the Oilers be interested? Maybe. I would bet that Hamonic wants to remain out west to remain close to his family, so the Oilers would be a sensible fit for him. If the Oilers decide to move on from Adam Larsson, they can replace his veteran, shutdown presence with Hamonic, if the price is right. But, given Hamonic’s age and injury history, there’s risk attached to giving him a long-term deal.
Up until last season, Justin Braun was a mainstay on the San Jose Sharks’ blueline.
But after the Sharks opted to re-sign Erik Karlsson to a massive contract extension, they had to shed a whole bunch of salary, so Braun ended up getting dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a couple of draft picks.
Braun provided the Flyers a much-needed veteran presence on their young blueline, pairing up with Travis Sanheim on the team’s second pairing and serving as one of Philadelphia’s most common penalty killers. Prior to that, Braun had mostly been used in San Jose in a similar role on a shutdown pairing with Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
Projected contract: Two years, $2,782,000 AAV.
Should the Oilers be interested? Much like Hamonic, Braun would make sense as a veteran addition if the Oilers decide to move on from Adam Larsson. Braun is 33 years of age, so he’ll surely come quite a bit cheaper than Hamonic will, which makes him the more realistic option of the two. Braun could hypothetically provide a nice shutdown pair with Darnell Nurse, which would free up Ethan Bear to play more of an offensive role with Oscar Klefbom.