A year ago June 29, new general manager Peter Chiarelli made quick work of Edmonton’s previous drafts, setting free seven restricted free agents in one fell swoop.
2015 RFA CASTAWAYS
- G Tyler Bunz—He did not play organized hockey this season.
- G Frans Tuohimaa—Had a good season with Leksands, Swe-1.
- D Keith Aulie—Split time between the AHL and Sm-Liiga.
- C Kellen Lain—Played with Utica and Iowa of the AHL this year.
- L Matt Fraser—Split time between Manitoba and Rockford of the AHL.
- L Curtis Hamilton—Posted a fine year with Spara Praha, Czech league.
- L Brad Ross—Spent the year in the penalty box for Iserlohn Roosters of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga.
Edmonton would have had to make a decision on Martin Marincin, but traded him for Ross and Eric Gryba instead.
- Justin Schultz—63gp, 4-14-18 with Edmonton and Pittsburgh. Schultz won the Stanley Cup as part of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
- Brandon Davidson—51gp, 4-7-11 and emerged as a legit NHL defenseman. That is a big deal, and should not be overlooked.
- Tyler Pitlick—37gp, 7-14-21 with Bakersfield, he did not play an NHL game in 2015-16—the first season without an NHL game since 2012-13.
Peter Chiarelli got some good hockey out of this trio, especially Davidson, who emerged as a part of the future on defense. Pitlick got hurt, Schultz was traded—but there is value in draft picks, too.
Photo by Mark Williams
THIS YEAR’S DECISIONS
- R Iiro Pakarinen. This was a good free-agent signing by Craig MacTavish in June 2014. The 2015-16 season offers an interesting story and he might improve offensively with a more offensive center. $925,000 AAV on his last contract, a good bet to get a contract and it might be for more than one year.
- LD Jordan Oesterle. The evidence suggests Bob Green found him and he was signed on the MacTavish watch, so credit where due. As is the case with Pakarinen, I expect we will see him qualified and the possibility exists for a contract longer than one year. One thing to look for: Shifting sands on the pro LHD depth chart, which could see Oesterle move up to first recall or No. 7 D by opening night 2016-17. $767,500 AAV on the last deal.
- LD David Musil. Has developed at pace and made his NHL debut in 2014-15, but the NHL road was not available to him this year. A strange, and possibly galling coincidence for Musil? Although he did not play for Edmonton this year, Adam Clendening—taken four spots later in the 2011 selection—was claimed on waivers by the Oilers and spent time in the provincial capital. $894,166 on his last contract, I think he might be in a bit of trouble with the organization. Edmonton has several players with similar skill sets who are lefthanded (as is the case with Musil), and he is in about the same spot as Martin Marincin was a year ago—without the trade value. We will see, I will guess he returns on a similar deal.
- RD Adam Clendening. A late-season waiver pickup who went 20gp, 1-5-6 during that time. He had some difficult moments and speed appears to be an issue, but might be able to serve in a depth/recall role. I would put his return at 50 percent. $761,250 AAV on the deal just ending.
- R Tyler Pitlick. Another year, another injury, and this time no NHL games for a new general manager and coach. He was drafted six years ago and this blog has defended him every day since, but at some point I wonder if he would like to try another organization. $761,250 AAV on this deal ending, I hope he returns but suspect it is too long at the fair.
- L Luke Gazdic. Very popular member of the team based on all available information, he was sent to the minors during the year—perhaps indicating his Oilers career has come to an end. $800,000 AAV on the deal expiring, I will suggest Edmonton will move on from him but would not be surprised if he ends up signing a two-way deal with the organization.
- L Kale Kessy. There was a time, fall 2014, when Kessy looked like he might be able to step into the Oilers lineup eventually. He was hurt early that season and was unable to build on that strong training camp. Edmonton’s current management likes this player type, so he may hang around. I will guess he moves on to another organization. $630,000 AAV.
- G Niklas Lundstrom. Part of the Anders Nilsson trade with the St. Louis Blues, he has already signed (with Bjorkloven) of Swedish league Allsvenskan. $655,833 AAV on the contract just ending.