The Edmonton Oilers reached free agency with cash in hand and some clear needs. July 1 this year began in a curious fashion, Ryan Rishaug breaking the news with the first signing of Ty Rattie a little after 11am. That announcement was followed by six more, none of them for more than $1 million. It was the most curious day of July 1 free agency in memory, offering fans an unusual group of unproven free agents to ponder. From the point of view of Ty Rattie? Signing in Edmonton made a lot of sense.
- Ty Rattie: “Opportunity was a big thing I looked at this offseason. I made the Blues out of camp last year, but only played four games over four months. The opportunity may be there (with Edmonton) and I want to take full advantage of it.” Source
Why did he sign in Edmonton? Daylight. Rattie was no doubt aware of the Jordan Eberle trade June 22 and the depth chart is out there for all the world to see. Assuming one of Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Ryan Strome will occupy the 1R slot, and Zack Kassian another position on the depth chart, there are two regular spots plus an extra for opening night. Adding to the intrigue is the presence of Iiro Pakarinen, who is well suited to an extra job but perhaps a little shy of contending for a feature role. That leaves two terrific opportunities open for competition.
THE COMPETITION (VIA NHLE)
- These numbers are NHL equivalencies, expressing goals.
- These are the major players (in my opinion) for the 2R role, and I would include Zack Kassian as a possibility for the third line.
- Rattie was a fantastic junior, adjusted well to the AHL (scored a ton at 20) and has been pushing for NHL time for four years now. The Oilers were a fantastic spot for Rattie to land, good on his agent and good for the player. I’ll also give some credit to Peter Chiarelli, when you’re looking for an inexpensive scoring winger, Ty Rattie’s a damned good choice.
- Jesse Puljujarvi was 18 in the AHL and he could spike and put this all to rest. I think he’s going to be a solid NHL player but the goal-scoring required for 2R may not appear this season.
- Drake Caggiula has a chance, and we should remember the young man has some chem with Connor McDavid.
There are other options, including the veteran Jussi Jokinen and the previously mentioned Iiro Pakarinen. Ty Rattie chose well, because there are as many as two job openings here and that’s with everyone healthy. His time is now and the way is clear.