Free Agent Week Post #6: A Season To Remember?

The year Edmonton made it to within 60 minutes of the Stanley featured a tremendous number of players who covered their contract and then some. I wrote about it here.

Among the reasons that beauty team could go so long (and deep) into the spring was depth and those underpriced players were the key. Horcoff, Hemsky, Pisani, Torres, Bergeron and Stoll were all at $1M or less and that folks is a helluva group of hockey players for less than $6M total.
Who do the Oilers have for next season that we could reasonably place in the same position? Certainly Kyle Brodziak ($497,000), Mathieu Garon ($1.1M), Denis Grebeshkov ($1.5M), Andrew Cogliano ($1.133M) and Sam Gagner ($1.625M) are candidates, but asking a 19-year old second year NHLer to cover off $1.625M is not something a team can count on. Gagner’s offensive ability isn’t in doubt, but his ability as an outscorer is certainly in question. He’s quality, but he’s young.
The Oilers have some nice things. If a player like Robert Nilsson could take one more step forward and one of the two depth defenders (Greene, Smid) took charge and became a player they could count on, we could start talking about a team that had a chance to go deep into the second season.
However, they look for all the world like a team that is one year away. And next year Garon won’t be a bargain, Shawn Horcoff will be a free agent, Brodziak will be more expensive and that young blueline will be asking for cash money.
The heart of this team is Ales Hemsky. He’s still too young to pull this team into the final 4, so it’s important to add pieces that have value for 09-10 when the club goes free agent shopping.

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5 Responses to "Free Agent Week Post #6: A Season To Remember?"

  1. CM says:

    I just hope their answer isn’t Ryan Malone…5 mil for ar Raffi Torres comp…I’m happy with the Torres we got thanks…

  2. misfit says:

    While Gagner will have a hard time outscoring even average opposition at ES, let’s not forget that only Hemsky had a better scoring rate on the powerplay last year than Sam did as an 18 year old rookie. That’s got to count for something.

    A lot of focus is put on ES production (as it should), but one thing that has kept us from having a lot of success as a team over the years has been a usefull powerplay. Gagner should surely help in fixing that.

  3. spOILer says:

    Did Hemmer out-score back then?

    Pisani yes, Raffi probably, MAB probably not, Stoll maybe even at even.

    Gagner is likely to put up some pretty nice PP nubers, and Cogliano might do as well at even…

    How much are these guys going to cost on their 2nd contract?

    How long is the window really, and how immediate?

    I suspect closer and shorter than we think unless Lowe can negotiate nice Horc and Garon extensions.

    I do like our lines to outscore on home ice. I think we’re going to be able to roll with a lot of teams. But how long can a team continue experienced depth with rising stars under the cap?

    …You’re so right about Nilsson, Greene, Smid taking charge… they finally looked like they had team poise and confidence at the end of last year for the first time since the Pronger trade (Xmas 06 1st notwithstanding).

    That change can go a long way to enhancing development. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

    And a couple of vets might go a long way.

    Rumour de jour on OilFans tonight was that Peca had been seen in town.

    If Stoll is on his way out, would you be okay with Peca at say twice Reasoner’s contract for a couple of years?

    Would that replace vet presence? And add some hits and an ability to defend tough comp?

    Great post, LT.

  4. Coach pb9617 says:

    Rumour de jour on OilFans tonight was that Peca had been seen in town.

    If Stoll is on his way out, would you be okay with Peca at say twice Reasoner’s contract for a couple of years?

    No. His health has to be a concern now.

  5. Dennis says:

    If Peca could play 65 games again and wouldn’t cost too much, I’d be damned if I wouldn’t bring him back and reunite that 14-37-34 line.

    The funny thing about that crew is — at least to my knowledge — they had never played together before the playoffs. And things worked so well that even Samsonov had no trouble taking 14′s place when he missed some of the Ana series with the flu.

    I vote YES on Proposition Peca; pending the cost;)

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