Devin Shore, Ryan Murray, Jason Demers: Back with the Edmonton Oilers or gone in 2023-24?
Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis3 months ago
The Edmonton Oilers inked soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Derek Ryan to a two-year contract extension last week. Will they do so with any of their other pending UFAs?
Nick Bjugstad and Mattias Janmark seem poised to test the open market this summer and they both might wind up being too expensive for the cap-strapped Oilers to bring back. What about the team’s other veteran UFAs: Devin Shore, Ryan Murray, and Jason Demers?
General manager Ken Holland will have to go looking in the bargain bin for cheap players who can play depth roles on the big league club and potentially shuttle back and forth between Edmonton and their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield a few times during the season. Shore, Murray, and Demers would all check the box when it comes to a cheap contract and could be options to fill those aforementioned roles.
Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
The Oilers inked Shore to a one-year, $700k contract just before the start of the shortened 2021 season. That contract represented a pretty significant pay cut for Shore, who was coming off of a two-year bridge deal worth $2.3 million annually that he had signed with the Dallas Stars a few years earlier.
He scored five goals and nine points over 38 games for the Oilers in 2021 and signed a two-year contract in the off-season worth $850 annually. Over the course of those two seasons, Shore scored six goals and 20 points between 96 games.
Shore would be a fine player for the Oilers to keep in Bakersfield as veteran depth but, at just 29 years old, he’ll surely be looking for an NHL gig elsewhere. Jason Gregor reported earlier this month that Shore isn’t likely to return.
There were plenty of people who thought the Oilers should take Ryan Murray with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft. While Nail Yakupov struggled at the NHL level, Murray developed into a quality defensive defenceman for the Columbus Blue Jackets, though injuries held him back from reaching his top-pairing potential.
After moving on from the Blue Jackets, Murray signed a one-year, $2 million deal to join the Colorado Avalanche. He appeared in 37 regular season games and didn’t suit up for the Avs in the playoffs during their Stanley Cup run.
The Oilers signed Murray to a one-year, $750k in September to fill the veteran depth defenceman role that Kris Russell had previously filled. He started off the season as one of Edmonton’s six main defencemen but was placed on the Injured Reserve in late November with a back issue and never returned to the lineup.
It’s very unlikely Murray will be back with the Oilers next season. They need a depth defender who can stay healthy and Murray has played in just 50 games over the past two seasons.
The Oilers made a pitch to sign Jason Demers back in the summer of 2016 but he wound up inking a five-year, $22.5 million deal with the Florida Panthers instead. He played just one season in Florida and got shipped to the Arizona Coyotes as a cap dump the following summer.
After that contract came to an end, Demers couldn’t find an NHL gig. He played a few games in the KHL and then represented Team Canada at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
The Oilers brought Demers to training camp on a professional tryout contract and he finally signed a one-year, two-way contract in December, just a few weeks after Murray was placed on the Injured Reserve. Demers played 57 games for the Bakersfield Condors and was recalled in April so he could suit up for his 700th game in the NHL.
Now 35 years old, Demers isn’t an option to be a regular NHL defender anymore, but he’d be a quality veteran for the organization to have in Bakersfield.
Recent articles from Cam Lewis