RFA’s, Qualifying Offers and the Future

The Edmonton Oilers had a terrific draft weekend, improving the prospect list and adding an NHL ready left winger to the current depth chart. Next up for Steve Tambellini is a long list of restricted free agents. Some of these young men are major league free agents, others are of the minor league variety. Here are the rfa’s and what could happen in the next 24 hours (and beyond).

  1. Sam Gagner. Samwise heads to rfa status with a $875,000 ticket and there are rumblings the club will merely qualify him. He’s a guy the Oilers might want to think about signing to a longer term deal (say three years) at a reasonable price. He will probably cost a lot more next summer.
  2. Andrew Cogliano. Cogs has a $850,000 pricetag this year and a qualifying offer seems reasonable. The Oilers have no reason to spend to the cap and Cogliano shouldn’t cost a lot more 2011 summer (if he’s still an Oiler).
  3. Marc Pouliot. The perennial prospect had a salary of $825,000 and that’s probably his outer marker for 2010-11 (Oilers need to offer 105% to keep his rights). There is the possibility that the organization rids itself of Pouliot this summer, moving instead to a more physical player type at his position.
  4. Gilbert Brule. Scoring winger made an $800,000 salary last season and is probably on his way to salary arbitration. The Oilers have a habit of flushing players who either approach or reach this position (Stoll, Pitkanen, Grebeshkov) with a precious few (Tom Gilbert) getting the big contract. If I’m Brule’s agent–looking at the young offensive talent on this team–I cut a fair contract and wait to cash in next season. For the Oilers, I think they might want to offer a 2-year deal and hope he signs it. Brule can cash, and if he gets hot it could be a very expensive summer in 2011. If they signed him to a 2-year, $4M deal would you consider it an overpay?
  5. Devan Dubnyk. He made $700,000 this past season and this is a player who could be qualified and then traded. The Oilers need to decide which goalie to keep and then offload the other guy and that could happen in the next 24 hours. For me, Dubnyk is the better goalie prospect and a player I qualify and then send the other fellow away.
  6. Jeff Deslauriers. $625,000 in ’09-’10 and a likely pay raise during the summer. Deslauriers played a lot last season and there is a theory out there that because he played so much his value will be higher than DD. This assumes the other teams were impressed with JDD’s play and one wonders if its true. Having said that, he did have some spectacular games and he is the guy I would shop.
  7. Theo Peckham. A $600,000 hit in ’09-10 and a player who might give the organization good value in 10-11. Tom Renney mentioned the other day that Peckham is a player who impressed him and the coach believes Peckham could establish himself next season. A big year for the kid, get that contract done and come to camp ready.
  8. Ryan Potulny. He was a wonderful $595,000 bargain this past season but he might not play another game for the Oilers. In today’s EJ, Jim Matheson said “the Oilers aren’t crazy about giving Potulny a one-way contract. There is a feeling the Oilers might trade his rights to the Wild.” It is a peculiar item in that there’s no real reason to speculate unless you have legit information and this sounds so specific I think we can assume this has an excellent chance of happening.
  9. JF Jacques. Inexpensive big man ($525,000) and still this is a player I’d let walk. Although Jacques has size and toughness, he is exposed when playing with skilled men (as he was last season when playing with Horcoff and Hemsky). The Oilers have guys like Ryan Jones who can play the 4line role and with Hall and others manning LW this fall it makes sense to send him down the line.

From that group, I would say the Oilers have to qualify Gagner, Cogliano, Brule, Dubnyk, Deslauriers, Pouliot, Peckham. Potulny might be dealt and Jacques set free, which helps the forward depth chart before the buyouts begin. We’ll get the final list of the minor leaguers who did and didn’t get qualifying offers, but we did get some news early in June from Jim Matheson in the EJ:

  • The Oilers won’t be resigning Vlad Trukhno or Geoff Paukkanen off their farm team, which will make them unrestricted free agents July 1. They might let Ryan O’Marra walk, too, choosing to re-up Colin McDonald, a possible fourth-liner, instead. The feeling is McDonald has fit into a checking role better than O’Marra and is a better skater.

That leaves Lerg (likely gone), Hrabal (he’s still on their rfa list) and I beleive Reddox who we need to find out about in the next day or so. Have I missed anything?

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