Matty’s Update

A day after Jason Gregor gave us some mid-summer info, the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson chimed in. Matty is the gold standard amongst the men who cover the Oilers although we’re uncertain whether he gets his info from Quinn/Tambellini, Kevin Lowe, Glen Sather or the ghost of Bill Hunter. Either way it’s usually correct. His article is here. Among the points of interest are:

  • About $2.5 million will likely be going to Smid and Brule when they sign shortly. This seems a little steep. Smid made $952,000 a year ago (cap hit was $886,000) and Brule’s NHL-level salary was (I believe) $850,000.
  • Brule will be given a shot at the fourth-line centre spot. We know this, but what would be helpful is a list of players in line for the 3line slot. One suspects the C depth chart goes Horcoff, Gagner and then a free-for-all that includes Cogliano, Pouliot, Brule and some others.
  • The Oilers could certainly use (Blair) Betts, a 29-year-old Edmonton product who was played a huge role on the NHL’s best penalty-killing unit with the New York Rangers last season. He’s also a big, energetic body–six-foot-three, 200 pounds–which is something the Oilers could use. This is a change from previous grapevine info which suggested the Oilers had little interest. And then….
  • That doesn’t leave much wiggle-room under the $56.8-million cap ceiling, barring the Oilers moving out some questionable bodies like centre/winger Marc Pouliot, who has yet to get a regular spot after being drafted six years ago. This is also a bit of a departure from the Oilers previous public statements in which Pouliot appeared to be one of the main options for 3line center. This could indicate coach Quinn wants more proven talent but that’s reading a lot into one sentence. His last coach said about Pouliot “he’s progressing, I’ll give him that. How good a player he can become remains to be seen. He has to deliver quickly now. He’s got a few years in the league.”
  • The Oilers have signed farmhand Ryan Stone, who played on Springfield’s top line last year. They will likely be signing Rob Schremp by the end of the week . Once those two (and Brule plus Smid) are under contract the Oilers will be at 47 contracts with two (Eberle and Rajala) that are unlikely to actually count. So, 45 contracts and very little money.

Which means a trade is coming. And Pouliot should rent.

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