A Possible RFA Solution

This is JF Jacques. He’s a fricking mountain. 6-4, 225 with speed and when he hits people they stay hit and in the AHL he is a player who can put up points.

Jacques has been having some troubles putting the entire package together at the NHL level, specifically in regard to points. Or point, to be more specific.

Jacques (along with Marc Pouliot and several other rfa’s caught in the AHL) has a bit of a problem this summer. These players, with Pouliot being the case study, have not established themselves at the NHL level yet and are simply not worth the amount it would take to qualify them.

Here, let’s run the numbers on Pouliot to show the example. His NHL salary for his entry level contract (which expires after the season) is $942,000 which is almost exactly what Marty Reasoner is making. In order to retain Pouliot this summer, Edmonton must qualify him even though he isn’t in the NHL at a larger number, but if he doesn’t make the team he’ll be spending another season making AHL wages. Not long ago I asked our resident CBA expert (speeds) to shed some light on Pouliot’s situation, focusing specifically on the Oilers possibly offering Pouliot a one-way deal for far less than the qualifying offer. In a post below (2/10 Sunday Minor League Report) Michael was kind enough to supply the following information:

Yes, to keep Pouliot’s rights they will have to offer him a 5% raise, ~ 989.5K per year. According to section 10.2.a.iii, a player must have played 180 games in the last 3 years AND played 60 games the season previous AND not cleared waivers last year, to have to be given a one way QO.
If I’m interpreting that correctly it means that Pouliot need not be given a one way QO (the AHL portion of the QO has to be at least as much as he is making in the AHL this season).

Having said all that, they can negotiate before July 1st, and get him signed before they even need to make a QO, so yes, if they wanted to they could easily approach Pouliot and say “We’ll give you a one way deal, 2 years, 600K per year. What do you think?” with the understanding that if Pouliot doesn’t agree to such a deal, they can send him a QO and he may end up in the minors once again next year.

I think this might be the way Edmonton proceeds with one or two of their unproven rfa’s this summer. In the case of Joni Pitkanen (2.4M), Jarret Stoll (2.2M), Denis Grebeshkov (.950M), Robert Nilsson (.942M), Tom Gilbert (.907M) and Zack Stortini (.534M) Edmonton will probably play it straight up, offering NHL level players a small raise and in some cases (Pitkanen, Gilbert) much bigger paydays. With Pouliot, I think there’s every chance the Oilers offer him a contract in the Patrick Thoresen (.570M) range and sign him for a couple of seasons.

The Oilers roster currently in terms of F’s 10-14:

  1. Marty Reasoner (.950M)
  2. Patrick Thoresen (.570M)
  3. Zack Stortini (.534M)
  4. Curtis Glencross (.522M)
  5. Kyle Brodziak (.497M)

We can possibly build a case for Pouliot (or someone similar) taking the Reasoner slot if the Oilers don’t bring Marty back for another season. JF Jacques salary (.668M) isn’t as much the issue and frankly if Pouliot had been able to hold onto the job in the fall he would be in a similar situation to Nilsson currently.

He didn’t, and if his path to the show includes a healthy paycut in exchange for a one-way deal that’s a trade Pouliot should probably consider. Should he deliver on the opportunity, bigger paydays lie ahead. Jacques path is further complicated by the fact that Zack Stortini has filled the role Jacques may have been earmarked for in the summer.

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20 Responses to "A Possible RFA Solution"

  1. Lord Bob says:

    Here’s my question: would this be a legal qualifying offer for Marc Pouliot?

    Year one: $1 million, two-way
    Years two through one billion: $500,000, two-way

    In short, making an offer that’s technically qualifying but so repulsive in the long term that the player would be sure to reject it. Is a qualifying offer based off total hit for the length of the contract, or only the first year?

  2. Lowetide says:

    lord bob: I always just wait for speeds. :-)

    One thing I didn’t mention is that the Oilers may walk away from some of these guys ala Brad Winchester one year ago.

    I don’t know who that might be, though. Everyone has shown something this year at the NHL level.

  3. speeds says:

    By definition, a QO is a one year contract.

  4. Black Dog says:

    I think Marty’s not in the plans after this year LT. 10-14 – Brodziak, Glencross, Stortini, Pouliot, Thoresen.

    Or throw in a “true” enforcer if you would like.

    I like Marty a lot but too much bubbling up.

    I think Pouliot has to look at this team and go for your option. If Marty is gone then he’s an injury or slump away from gaining a regular spot back.

    Jacques should watch some tape of Glencross and Stortini. What they are doing is not that hard. Some intensity son.

  5. Dennis says:

    Maybe the Oilers go outside the org and look for a guy but in-house Pouliot is the guy that comes the closest to being about to fill the Reasoner role.

    I know it was under different circumstances, ie Lowe went nuts thinking about the D, but if you can give a two year contract to Roy, I don’t see how you can’t at least consider giving one to Pouliot.

  6. Dennis says:

    Pat: I believe in JFJ for the same reasons that Lain does but I can’t see him making this team unless the Oilers somehow and for some reason decide not to bring back Glencross.

    You’re dead-on when you say all the guy has to do is work hard but there just seems to be some kind of a block with this guy. How is it that he’s way fucking faster than Stortini yet Zach winds up getting in the mix way more? I watched Jacques games as closely as I could last year and the times he looked best was when he played with Pouliot and the night on HNIC when he played with Pouliot and Pisani.

    Jacques hit a post that night and had two other chances to score besides. It’s hard for me to forget that night because compared to what he did all the other nights that game was the same thing for JFJ as Sittler’s 10 points were against the B’s for Darryl

  7. Lord Bob says:

    God, Jacques is such a goddamned mystery. On paper, the guy should be getting a first-class ticket to unrestricted free agency, and if K-Lowe wants to keep him it certainly shouldn’t be for more than a league minimum two-way deal.

    But at the same time, the bastard has so much of everything you want in a player. I’m just terrified of Detroit or somebody dropping $625,000 on him and watching him whack in 45 points or something. I could see that so easily, it frightens me.

  8. Lowetide says:

    lord bob: Yeah, I agree. Stortini was drafted later, never had any kind of offense in the minors compared to Jacques and JFJ outscored him 78-40 in their final years in junior.

    But, Stortini figured out the job quicker and in fact one wonders if Jacques will ever get it.

    When it comes to prospects, you don’t know what you don’t know.

  9. Black Dog says:

    I’m with you Dennis.

    Its crowded up the middle – Horcoff, Stoll, Gagner, Cogliano, Brodziak, Reasoner – but if they sign Horcoff then they will move Stoll. They move him anyways based on what Gagner is starting to show. Say that they do – then you have Horcoff, Gagner, Cogliano, Brodziak up the middle. I don’t see them bringing Marty back and if they do I think Brodziak slides to the wing and Marty is on the fourth line.

    Seems like a lot of guys but if they extend Horcoff that it shakes out as 10/89/13/51. If they keep Stoll then 89 is on the wing until they move Horc (God forbid) or Stoll.

    In other words, one guy goes down and Pouliot has his shot. Heck if a winger goes down then he might get a shot if someone slides over.

    Jacques on the other hand has Penner, Torres, Moreau, Glencross and probably I’d throw Nilsson in there if he’s playing LW. You might throw Thoresen in there too.

    A lot of guys in front of him and if they sign Glencross then until Torres proves he is healthy then you have four set in stone and if its a kid or FA on the second line then its Torres, Moreau, Glencross ahead of him for bottom six minutes.

    Its a tough row to hoe but he has nobody but himself to blame. Its all upstairs of course – kid has the tools, just no toolbox.

  10. Black Dog says:

    LT where was JFJ drafted? Second round? Just wonder if he has a bit of that golden boy syndrome.

    Unlike Stortini. Have to respect the guy. He has turned himself into an NHL player. He listens to his coach and busts his ass. He actually had a real impact last night. Not a BS deal, the real thing.

  11. Lowetide says:

    BDHS: Jacques was drafted in the second round, 68th overall. Stortini was 94th overall in the third round. In terms of pedigree they aren’t too far apart.

  12. mc79hockey says:

    He has turned himself into an NHL player. He listens to his coach and busts his ass. He actually had a real impact last night.

    I’m fiddling with the numbers at the moment and I’m shocked by something: Zach is like +15 shots at ES over the past 20 games. This is an astounding turnaround from earlier in the year, although there are a few caveats to it. First, my sense is that the Oilers have gone through a real stretch of playing teams with absolute garbage at the bottom end. The SE division is like that, as LT was saying last night, the Canucks roll that way…it’s a seemingly common way of doing things at the moment. Second, MacT seems to have confined him to a true fourth line role lately; none of this nonsense of running Zach out against Sidney Crosby or any of that. Go look at his shifts last night and there was a lot of “Sedins come off, Zach goes on”. That’s probably the right way to play it.

    I’m still not quite sure that I’m a believer in the guy – I think that he might be the sort of guy who is a fan favourite on crappy teams because he’s one of the few interesting pieces on the ice (I tend to think that this Oilers team hasn’t just lost a lot this year; they’ve lost in a boring fashion) but I’ve enjoyed watching lately. Running around and looking crazy as fuck…good times.

    As to LT’s point of this post (I think this is what he was all about), the Oilers have done what he’s suggesting, offering the two way deal or the cheaper one way before with guys who have played out their SPC, I just can’t remember with whom. For some reason I think that they did it with Winchester and possibly Bergeron. It’s a smart move if you’re comfortable in thinking that you want them on the NHL roster.

  13. speeds says:

    MC the Oilers did it with both Roy and Brodziak this summer.

    They got two way deals for this year, and are both on one way deals next year.

  14. Bruce says:

    I’m fiddling with the numbers at the moment and I’m shocked by something: Zach is like +15 shots at ES over the past 20 games.

    In those same 20 games Stortini has registered a +6 with zero minus games. I’m one of his bigger fans, and I have to say I’m shocked too.

  15. Tyler says:

    The save percentage behind him at ES (I would venture that this is also the save percentage behind him, period) is .963 over the last 20 games.

  16. Black Dog says:

    Re – the save % – likely due to the fact that he’s playing v. fourth line for the most part, no? Opponents are going to be scoring a lot less when its Scott Thornton rather then Joe Thornton pulling the trigger.

    I think he’s in a position where he can succeed and that is why his numbers have jumped. He’s playing on the fourth line and he and his linemates are beating up on the other team’s fourth line. Throw in the fact that Brodziak is a big part of the PK and I think you have all you want from your fourth line in this group.

  17. Bruce says:

    The save percentage behind him at ES (I would venture that this is also the save percentage behind him, period) is .963 over the last 20 games.

    I guess that figures. I don’t have access to your raw numbers Tyler, but what I got is this: 20 GP, 160:34 TOI, +8/-2. A small amount of that is PP TOI but mostly evens.

    Given 2 GA, a Sv% .963 equates to 52 saves on 54 shots, and 54 shots in 160 minutes equates to just 20 SA/60, which is outstanding. Obviously the Sv% is unsustainable; anytime your goalie gives up 2 goals in 3 games he’s playing well and the team is playing well but something’s gotta give eventually. But it’s a hell of a nice run while it lasts. Especially when the team is scoring a goal a period at the other end of the ice.

    Add it all up and old “L Column” is on what amounts to a personal three-game winning streak.

  18. Dennis says:

    When 4th lines play against each other I like to call it the old Gentlemen’s Agreement among coaches, ie we need to play our fourth lines so that our top nine gets a rest and let’s play them against each other in hopes that no one scores:)

    That’s something MacT can totally pull at home with the last change, of course. In the last few games on the road the other coach has gone with the gentlemen’s agreement and he’s getting killed for it in tersm of scoring chances for/against.

    46-51 have had some chem for awhile now but 20′s put the cherry on the cake.

  19. Bank Shot says:

    Brodziak looked real, real good with Sanderson at times this season. The only problem was Sanderson was pretty inconsistent in terms of being hard on the puck. Some games he’d look great, others he’d bail when things started getting gritty and MacT hates that.

    Brodziak isn’t fast, but he has been absolute gold all season at finding the quiet spots in the offensive end of the ice, and I think playing with a fast, puck lugger like Glencross/Sanderson that can distract the defenders opens alot up for Brodziak. Kyle has the superior offensive anticipation, and it seems to make up for the lack of superior skill set pretty well.

  20. Master Lok says:

    You’re dead-on when you say all the guy has to do is work hard but there just seems to be some kind of a block with this guy. How is it that he’s way fucking faster than Stortini yet Zach winds up getting in the mix way more? I watched Jacques games as closely as I could last year and the times he looked best was when he played with Pouliot and the night on HNIC when he played with Pouliot and Pisani.

    If it was Eastside Hockey Manager, I suspect Jacques stats would look like:
    (out of 20)
    Strength/Size: 18
    Speed: 13
    Anticipation: 1

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