Oilers Sign Lerg

The Edmonton Oilers addressed their main need today by signing college forward Bryan Lerg. He played for Michigan State (Shawn Horcoff, Mike York) and was the Spartans top scorer this season.

Lerg went 20-19-39 in 42 games and led the club in powerplay goals (10). He also led the team in goals last season and was a major part of the 2007 national championship team.

Lerg is 22 and it is a two-year deal as dictated by the CBA.

He addresses the team’s main need throughout the organization (goal scorers) and should be considered a serious prospect based on the Oilers own history in regard to signing undrafted college players. The last college free agent I can recall them signing was Mike Bishai (May 28, 2002) and the last college player they signed who has had a legit NHL career was Ty Conklin (signed April 17, 2001). I stand to be corrected on both pieces of information.

Considering the number of undrafted college free agents who find their way to the NHL, it is an area of procurement the Oilers should mine more often. Perhaps Lerg is the beginning.

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14 Responses to "Oilers Sign Lerg"

  1. Showerhead says:

    It’s tough for a non NCAA fan to know what to make of this. On one hand, I like that Edmonton is making a go of drilling for that particular league’s ore and Lerg definitely has the right combination of stats/quotes on his side. On the other, He is already 22 and hasn’t dominated college hockey by any stretch. Do players dominate the NCAA? It’s just tough to get excited about a point per game at that level when even Rob Schremp isn’t that far away from 1/1 in the AHL at one year younger than Lerg.

  2. Lowetide says:

    showerhead: 20 goals in an NCAA season is nothing to sneeze at, he ranked 20th in NCAA goal scoring overall and 10th in PP goals.

    I think he can score, but he’s small and we don’t have any info on his speed, etc.

    Having said that, I really do like this scouting group.

  3. Baroque says:

    I’ve seen him play a few times for State. He struck me as pretty quick and doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. He seemed to hang onto the puck more than you might expect, especially in close quarters. Smart player, well spoken, and Michigan State is a good program – excellent coach. He wouldn’t get out of college without solid fundamentals and a good work ethic.

    Sorry it’s so vague – I’m not an expert at assessing players like some folks are. :)

    Good kid. I hope he makes it.

  4. Guy Flaming says:

    We spoke with Prendergast about Lerg and then to Lerg himself last night on The Pipeline Show. Here’s the link to the archive.

    We really like him already.

    http://www.thepipelineshow.com/media_detail.php?show=2008-04-01%2000:00:00&sn=3

  5. Mark-Ryan says:

    When the Oilers drafted Plante, they said he impressed them when they went to scout Alzner. No doubt in my mind that it was much the same situation with Lerg when the Oilers were watching MSU for Petry.

    Anyways, I think this could work. From what I’ve read, he’s got some skill and he’s reliable to boot. My only real concern is with his size (5’10, 175lbs).

  6. doritogrande says:

    Maybe this is also a ploy to sign his brother, Jeff next year. Dude’s a Hobey Baker finalist this year as a junior. Goaltender, who also apparently is an Assistant Captain.

    Also of note, Lerg was captain of the Spartans this year. Another quality Edmonton is high on.

  7. Baroque says:

    They’re actually cousins, I think. But they grew up like brothers – lived a few blocks away from each other.

    There may not be a lot of competition for Jeff Lerg, anyway, because of the size question. He is short, but man are his reflexes tremendous. He doesn’t give up rebounds, either. The announcer at one game I was watching described him as keeping a very tidy goal crease, with no stray pucks left scattered about.

  8. doritogrande says:

    Thanks for the info Baroque. Can you also clarify how Lerg can have an A while being a goalie? I know NHLers are not allowed to be captains, otherwise Brodeur would surely get one. Does the NCAA have a different stance on this?

  9. Stuart van says:

    Looks solid, based on his decent stats in NCAA, and also the Company of talented players he has kept, notably on the U.S. national under 18 team, with many high ranking draft picks now making an impact in the NHL, including Phil Kessel, Peter Mueller, and Jack Johnson.

    If he could be half the player of Kane, we’ve got an NHLer.

    I wouldn’t get too excited though. He’s got a long way to go.

  10. Marchantfan says:

    Thanks for the info Baroque. Can you also clarify how Lerg can have an A while being a goalie? I know NHLers are not allowed to be captains, otherwise Brodeur would surely get one. Does the NCAA have a different stance on this?

    Ty Conklin was his NCAA team’s captain. I’d suggest this means there are no such restrictions in NCAA.

  11. Baroque says:

    I think that in college, having a letter is more a mark of honor and respect from the team than “who is permitted to speak with officials” as it is in the pros.

    MSU, for example, has one captain (Bryan Lerg) and three skaters with an “A” (Justin Abdelkader, Tim Kennedy, and Chris Mueller) as well as goalie Jeff Lerg.

  12. ClaytonMagnet says:

    So, if the Oilers are signing this guy at 22 years old, they must think he’s got the potential to be NHL ready almost immediately, right? If this is the case, how does he go undrafted? Are the college ranks that neglected by scouts? Also, does this mark the end for Sugartits?

  13. Stuart van says:

    Lerg is the new Thoresen?

  14. Bruce says:

    So, if the Oilers are signing this guy at 22 years old, they must think he’s got the potential to be NHL ready almost immediately, right? If this is the case, how does he go undrafted?

    Same way Andy McDonald, Chris Kunitz, Dustin Penner and Curtis Glencross all got signed as undrafted free agents by Anaheim at ages 21-23. None of them was NHL-ready “almost immediately”, but they all turned into NHLers in due course. Lots of college-trained guys are 25 or so before they even make the league let alone an impact.

    Give Lerg a couple years — not coincidentally, the length of his contract — and see how much he’s developed. It’s hard to know now if he’s a good bet, but I don’t mind seeing the team take the odd shot at guys who cost nothing in terms of draft picks or assets. There’s bargains to be had.

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