Off the Top of My Head: Lane Pederson’s chance to make the Oilers, Warren Foegele’s contract year, and more
Photo credit:Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
1 month ago
With the style he plays and what he’s said since the Edmonton Oilers signed him to a two-year contract with a $775,000 AAV on July 1, Lane Pederson reminds me a little bit of Rem Murray, who parlayed versatility into an NHL career spanning 560 games, 425 of those in Edmonton.
If Pederson, 25, proves to be anything like Rem the Gem, who could play left wing and move to centre in a pinch, kill penalties and chip in a goal now and then, he’ll be exactly what the Oilers are looking for in their bottom six group of forwards. If Pederson can keep the dressing room loose by mimicking reporters and mixing in a goofy guffaw, it’ll be a bonus, but I digress.
“Coming to Edmonton, obviously the Oilers don’t need a guy that’s going to put the puck in a whole bunch because they’ve got that in boatloads,” Pederson said in an interview with in-the-know Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer this week.
“I think my journey through professional hockey, starting in junior, is that I always wanted to be an offensive guy and score and produce offensively. But I think through my professional journey here, it’s been more about becoming more of a 200-foot player and a guy that the coach can send over the boards and rely on to play a strong 200-foot game.”
A LONG ROAD TO GET HERE
A native of Saskatoon, Pederson has travelled a winding road to get to Edmonton. He’s played just 71 NHL games since turning pro in 2017-18, including 27 games split with the Vancouver Canucks and Columbus Blue Jackets last season. A right shot who went 52.2 per cent on the dot with CBJ last season, might Pederson be a fit at pivot on Jay Woodcroft’s fourth line?
“I think being a strong 200-foot forward and someone who’s reliable in the D-zone, can kill some penalties and win some face-offs is something that I can bring to Edmonton,” he said.
That’s exactly the way Murray, now VP with a real estate firm in Detroit, played in his first stint with the Oilers on a line with Todd Marchant and Mike Grier. Nothing fancy. Do what’s needed when and where it’s needed. Of course, Pederson has to make the roster first. Do that, and maybe there’s room for him between Mattias Janmark and Derek Ryan.
BIG YEAR FOR FOEGELE
Warren Foegele is going into the final season of the three-year contract worth $8.25 million he signed with the Oilers in July of 2021. Good timing because it looks like he has a chance to have more of an impact on RW behind Zach Hyman and Connor Brown.
I thought Foegele was better last season than in his first season with the Oilers. He went from scoring 12-14-26 over 82 games in 2021-22 to 13-15-28 in just 67 games, and did it playing with a wrist injury from February on. Foegele finished sixth with 12 goals at even strength and he was sixth among forwards with 28 points despite averaging just 12:42 of ice time a game.
The measure of Foegele can’t be made on points alone, but I said when he came over from Carolina we could see a bump up in his production. That didn’t happen his first season here, but I think there’s every chance we’ll see it this coming season – something in the range of 15 goals and 35-40 points.
WHILE I’M AT IT
- Further to the item Baggedmilk wrote about Evander Kane helping 10-year-old Cecily Eklund cross another item off her bucket list with a trip to Disneyland, it really does the heart good to see this brave girl battle brain cancer and raise funds for the Ben Stelter Fund and Stollery Children’s Hospital at the same time with Kane playing part in it.Cecily has raised more than $175,000 for children dealing with cancer and Kane has played a part in that since they met last season. Like many of you, I had my doubts and voiced them when the Oilers decided to bring Kane into the mix, but unless I’m missing something, he has been a model citizen and teammate since. The kindness he’s showing Cecily says nothing but good things about the man he is now.
- It’s tough to argue with Stauffer when he says it’s better than 50-50 the Oilers will be able to retain both Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl when their contracts are up. By the time Draisaitl hits free agency after 2025-26 and McDavid gets there in 2026-27, the salary cap will be significantly higher — in the neighborhood of $92 million. McDavid and Draisaitl want to play together and they have a chance to win here.
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