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How did experts grade the Edmonton Oilers 2024 free agent signings?

Edmonton Oilers Jeff Skinner
Photo credit:Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
11 days ago
Did… did that just happen?
Were the Edmonton Oilers aggressive buyers in the NHL free agent market, while signing players to very reasonable contracts?
Never in my life did I think I would see the day, but Jeff Jackson and the Oilers front office cooked on Monday, bringing in some big names and adding depth all over the roster. They dolled out 21 years of term and $19,512,500 in salary, averaging a hair over $1.5-million per signing. Not bad.
The Oilers had a very good day and I don’t think there’s any other way to cut it. Bringing in Viktor Arvidsson and Jeff Skinner are absolute slam dunk moves, as Jason Gregor alluded to earlier, and added a plethora of right-shot defencemen in Troy Stecher, Josh Brown and Connor Carrick — all of whom could play NHL minutes.
It hints at another move that could come sending Cody Ceci out of town for salary cap relief, but we’ll see if and when that comes. It might be something that waits until next years trade deadline.
Big parts of Edmonton’s bottom-six returned, with Adam Henrique leaving money on the table to chase a ring, and Corey Perry, Mattias Janmark and Connor Brown re-upping. I’m expecting a much more productive year from Brown, now even further removed from his ACL injury.
The Oilers brought back some organizational depth, too. Noah Philp, James Hamblin, and Noel Hoefenmayer got reupped, while Collin Delia was brought in to play some games in net for the Condors. I’m excited to see what Philp can do, but he’ll likely be a slow start this year after taking last year off for personal reasons.

The Athletic

Dom Luszczyszyn

“Best”

Viktor Arvidsson
Contract: $4.0M x two years
Surplus value: $1.0M per year
In terms of fit and price, there were few deals today better than Viktor Arvidsson to the Oilers. One of the key missing pieces from Edmonton’s playoff run was a legitimate top-six forward to play with Leon Draisaitl, one who can drive play at five-on-five. Arvidsson is exactly that, a shoot-first winger who doesn’t need power-play time to deliver above-average value.
The fit alone is great, but it helps that the price and term are both reasonable, too. A $4 million cap hit comes in below his fair value and two years is perfect given the team’s other contract considerations coming up.
Arvidsson comes with some injury risk, but he’s worth the reward.

Eric Duhatschek

Jeff Skinner

Contract grade: B
Fit grade: B

Whenever anyone ever talks about Jeff Skinner, it seems, all they can ever do is focus on the negatives, the things he can’t do. Can’t play in traffic. Doesn’t go hard to the net. Too small at 5-11. Too slight at 187. Smooth skater — that’s the figure skating background — but prone to long stretches of time when the goalscoring can go ice cold. Not great for someone primarily known as a scorer. And, up until the Buffalo Sabres bought out the final three years of his contract the other day, a player vastly overpaid for what he produces. Skinner isn’t, and maybe never was, a $9 million per year player.
Of course, none of which really matters to the Oilers, who took a calculated risk Monday and signed Skinner to a one-year deal worth $3 million. The Oilers added Skinner once the early rush to sign players slowed down. Now that his salary has shrunk by two-thirds, the risk/reward ratio suddenly tilts a little more favorably in the direction of the player.
Along with Viktor Arvidsson signed earlier in the day, the Oilers added two natural scorers to their top nine — for reasonable dollars. Considering how many players were already off the board by the time Skinner came to terms, that’s a decent late-in-the-game move.

ESPN

Jeff Skinner – B+

This has the potential to be a win-win for both team and player. Skinner hasn’t experienced a single playoff game in his 14-year, 1,006-game career. Now there’s a decent chance he could be competing for a Stanley Cup with Edmonton this upcoming season.
The Oilers’ run to the Final last season was fueled, in part, by the depth of their offensive talent, and Skinner will have a chance to make his mark there. He’ll be shuffled around as needed throughout Edmonton’s lineup, and if Skinner can take advantage of the skaters around him (Connor McDavid? Leon Draisaitl? Zach Hyman?) it’s a good bet he can have a meaningful impact on the Oilers.
And for Edmonton, this is a low-cost signing of a good player who can benefit from a fresh start. Skinner is in show-me mode, and that’s the sort of chip-on-the-shoulder energy Edmonton’s entire group will be carrying after falling just shy of a Cup victory. Skinner should feel right at home. – Kristen Shilton

Sportsnet

Winners – Jeff Skinner

What a great fit for the bought-out player and team. The Oilers had a nice day overall, too, hanging on to deadline pickup Adam Henrique for two more years. – Ryan Dixon

Justin Bourne

Viktor Arvidsson: Edmonton, 2 x $4M
One of my favourite signings of the day, in terms of players and team match. Arvidsson is a buy-low guy (injuries) with upside who plays the type of “whoops did I fall on your goalie” hockey that can chip in big goals in the playoffs.
Jeff Skinner: Edmonton, 1 x $3M
This is what happens when you win: useful players will choose your team over others for the chance to play in games that matter. Skinner hasn’t played any playoff games and has been in the league for over 1,000 games, so you can see why he’d pick Edmonton, and at $3M for Jeff Skinner the Oilers would’ve been fools to say no.
Adam Henrique, Edmonton, 2 x $3M
I’m telling you, players like to play for winning teams, and the Oilers should be able to take another run at it this next season. This is good value for a depth centre, to the point it feels like the player truly wanted to be there.
Corey Perry: Edmonton 1 x $1.4M
Congrats to the Edmonton Oilers, who officially locked up finishing second place in the league again next year! I joke, but Perry obviously helps teams go on deep playoff runs, and this smells like him betting on the Oilers as the favourites to get back there again from the West.
Connor Brown: Edmonton, 1 x $1M
It almost feels like Brown did the Oilers a favour here, after they overpaid him for his last season. By the post-season, though, you could really see his skating round into form, what a competitor he is, and those things alone make him worth much more than just a one year, $1 million depth deal.
Mattias Janmark: Edmonton, 3 x $1.45M
After watching Janmark in the playoffs for Edmonton I’m actually surprised by how low this number is. There aren’t many guys who more perfectly fit a depth/PK/speed role as well as him, and fits Edmonton’s needs perfectly.
Troy Stecher: Edmonton, 2 x $1.575M
Not everyone can be a first pair guy, and in losing Vinny Desharnais, Edmonton obviously needed another guy at the bottom of the roster. Stecher is serviceable enough in that spot.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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