‘My heart’s here’: Brown, Janmark, Henrique, and other Oilers veterans discuss free agency

Edmonton Oilers Connor Brown
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
21 days ago
The Edmonton Oilers may have fallen to the Florida Panthers in Game 7 of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final, but that doesn’t mean their players don’t want to come back for another kick at the can.
Speaking in their end-of-season media availabilities on Wednesday, a whole host of Oilers veterans expressed their desires to remain with the club even as they approach unrestricted free agency on July 1.
One of those players, 30-year-old winger Connor Brown, is already slated to take up a large chunk of the Oilers’ payroll next season because of the performance bonuses he earned in 2023-24. Brown struggled to find his form during the regular season but emerged as a hero with the club during the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs, playing a huge role on the Oilers’ highly successful penalty kill.
“This is where I want to be,” Brown said on Wednesday. “I think my heart’s here. Everything that we kind of went through together, and on top of that, just the fans and the kind of patience they showed me and the way they treated me when I scored and it’s a really special place to play.
“I think I’m starting to see that, and you hear about it, but it really feels like a team just getting better and so many committed, motivated, determined guys and the kind of guys you want to be around.”
Brown formed an extremely strong partnership on the Oilers’ PK with Mattias Janmark, who is also slated to hit the open market on Canada Day. The 31-year-old Janmark earned just $1 million in 2023-24 but ended up scoring three huge goals in the playoffs.
“To be honest, with the year I’ve had, I haven’t thought much about the future,” Janmark said. “I was probably not expecting to have a lot of offers the way the year went and then I probably salvaged a little bit of that in the playoffs. Free agency is coming up here quickly, so I’m gonna have to start thinking about it a little.
“But you want to win. Like I said, it’s tough. It’s always tough to leave a team and players that you feel like you can win with, so that’ll have to go into consideration. And then, you’ll have to look at your options. I don’t think I’ll be able to turn down too much money, to be honest. I don’t think there’s going to be too much out there, but I want to win and we’ll see what’s out there.”
Adam Henrique, who joined the Oilers from the Anaheim Ducks ahead of the trade deadline, said the chance to play in the Stanley Cup Final “exceeded [his] expectations” and, at 34, his priority is to win.
“I loved coming here and having the opportunity to chase the Cup and play with the guys here,” Henrique said. “I felt like I fit in great with the group, so I think for me, anything’s on the table and we just wait until this weekend or next week to get things sorted.
“I think there’s a price for winning. Being on a team like Edmonton that’s so close, and year after year now, the Stanley Cup is the goal for me coming in. It kind of renews the passion for the game a bit. I haven’t had the opportunity to be in the playoffs for a long time and have that opportunity to win,” Henrique added. “Certainly, I don’t think money is the number one thing for me at this point in my career.”
At 28 years of age, Warren Foegele and Vincent Desharnais are both a few years younger than the Oilers’ other pending UFAs, and they could get larger paydays if they hit the open market.
“This is my first experience really ever being a UFA, so for me, my whole career, I’ve always been in the playoffs,” Foegele said. “It’s four years in a row now that I’ve lost to the Cup champs. I feel like my game, I’m such a competitive player. I want to win, and I know the next couple of days, a [signing] factor for me is a chance to win as well. So I guess we’ll see.”
“Honestly, right now I’m just still trying to process what happened in the season, the playoffs, and I’ll be in touch with my agent within the next couple of days to kind of see what happens,” Desharnais added. “But as of now, I can’t really give you an answer on that, and we’ll just go one day at a time and see how we can make it work. If not, I’ll just hit the market and we’ll see what happens. If I get more than one phone call, great. If I don’t, I’ll take whatever I can get.”
The Oilers also have Sam Carrick, Sam Gagner, Corey Perry, Troy Stecher, and Calvin Pickard set to become UFAs this summer, with youngsters Dylan Holloway and Philip Broberg also in need of new deals as RFAs. Beyond them, Leon Draisaitl is eligible to become a UFA in the 2025 offseason.

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