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.
Torey Krug has put together an excellent career despite being passed over in the NHL draft.
Peter Chiarelli signed Krug out of Michigan State as an undrafted free agent and, after two seasons in the AHL, he emerged as one of the NHL’s best offensive defencemen.
Over seven full seasons with the Bruins, Krug has produced 67 goals and 337 points in 523 games played. Most recently, Krug scored 49 points in 61 games in 2019-20, which easily could have resulted in a career-high in points if not for the season being cut short due to COVID-19.
With the Bruins looking to get younger, it appears as though Krug will head to free agency and find himself a new team.
Contract Projection: Seven years, $7,500,000 AAV.
Should the Oilers be interested? Yes. Before news broke about Oscar Klefbom’s injury issues, this probably wouldn’t have been realistic. But if the Oilers are going to be without Klefbom for a long period of time, Krug might be an option to fill the void. He isn’t as good defensively as Klefbom is, but Krug would give Edmonton an elite power-play quarterback and puck-moving option on the blueline.
Dec 18, 2019; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (27) and Edmonton Oilers right wing Zack Kassian (44) fight during the third period at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
It’s shocking to me that we’re even talking about Pietrangelo as a free agent option right now.
After captaining the Blues to their first-ever Stanley Cup, you’d have thought that the team would do everything possible to lock Pietrangelo down so he could finish out his career in St. Louis, but the two sides haven’t been able to figure out a deal.
If Pietrangelo reaches the open market, which it seems he will, he’ll clearly be the best player available. He’s a legitimate No. 1 defenceman on pretty much any team in the league, as he’s coming off a season in which he recorded 52 points while logging 24 minutes per game and finished fourth in Norris Trophy voting.
The only downside to Pietrangelo is that he’s already 30 years old and the backend of a long-term deal could look ugly. But if you’re adding a No. 1 defenceman in free agency, you can worry about that later.
Contract Projection: Seven years, $9,000,000 AAV.
Should the Oilers be interested? Yes. Obviously. Everyone should be. But the issue is money. The Oilers are in a cap bind and it’s difficult to imagine they’ll be able to free up the cap room necessary to pay Pietrangelo $9 million annually.