One of the ways Steve Tambellini can cut some of those nasty cap dollars is walking away from a couple of “dog” rfa contracts. The Edmonton Oilers have a lot of them, and since there’s a real possibility the club is going to have some veteran dead wood this time next season there’s at least a chance the team will use the release tool. Recent examples of this would be Brad Winchester and Josef Hrabal. They weren’t technically free agents but the Oilers decided to end the relationship due to performance issues. Here’s the summer 2010 list.
- Sam Gagner: Keeper. The only issue here is an offer sheet, but the Oilers would be silly to let it get that far. Even at that it is extremely likely the team would match.
- Denis Grebeshkov: Keeper. I understand he’s having a poor season but MacT had him playing well and that player is still there. A solid D partner is vital but he’s a guy they should keep for 10-11.
- Andrew Cogliano: Keeper unless he’s traded. An offer sheet isn’t a concern and in fact the Oilers may have fallen into good fortune with his poor season. The guy is going to be a bargain in 10-11.
- Marc Pouliot: Walk or trade. One of the problems on this roster is injured players and at this point I don’t know if they can ever count on him. I’m a fan of the guy but Potulny can be signed for a reasonable figure and center the 4line and one would hope the checking wings will be healthier.
- Gilbert Brule: Keeper. The danger here is giving the money saved on Cogliano’s contract to this fellow. He has skill and plays with an edge but it is anyone’s guess as to when he’ll begin helping his team win. No need to pay big dollars until that day.
- Ryan Stone: Keeper. Unless his agent asks for a crazy contract, Stone has shown enough at this point to be considered useful.
- Ryan Potulny: Keeper. He’s shown very well this season and moved up the depth chart steadily. His contract this season was a true bargain.
- JF Jacques: Walk. I’ve been cheering for him since 2003 but that season when he wasn’t playing hockey seems to have had an impact. Either that or he’s not really strong on the rules of the game. Or, he’s not that bright. Either way, Quinn’s attachment to this type of player doesn’t mean the Oilers have to keep Jacques.
- Jeff Deslauriers/Devan Dubnyk: Keep one and trade the other. No more of this 3 goalie nonsense, the club needs to make a decision and send the other guy away. My bet would be on Dubnyk showing enough but that isn’t clear.
I’m suggesting replacing Pouliot with Potulny, replacing Jacques with someone who plays a similar style but has more of an idea–similar to Stone. I’m also suggesting they make a decision on the kid goalies and that they trade Andrew Cogliano and some other small F’s in addition to sending away as many veteran contracts as possible. Here’s what the roster might look like:
- G Nikolai Khabibulin 3.75M
- G Jeff Deslauriers .850M (est)
- D Lubomir Visnovsky 5.6M
- Veteran D with wide range of skills 3.9M–the new Souray
- D Tom Gilbert 4.0M
- D Denis Grebeshkov 2.5M (est)
- Rugged veteran D (2.0M-est)–the new Staios
- D Ladislav Smid 1.3M
- D Theo Peckham .650M (est)
- C Shawn Horcoff 5.5M
- C Sam Gagner 2.5M (est)
- Veteran 2-way C (1.7M-est)–the new Peca/Stoll
- C Ryan Potulny .800M (est)
- L Dustin Penner 4.25M
- L Taylor Hall 1.2M (est)
- Rugged 2-way veteran (1.9M)–the new Moreau
- L Ryan Stone .800M (est)
- R Ales Hemsky 4.1M
- R Gilbert Brule 1.5M (est)
- Rugged 2-way veteran (1.5M)–the new Pisani
- R Zack Stortini .700M
- R Jordan Eberle 1.2M (est)
- Tough mo-fo F .800M (est)–the new Jacques
Total Salaries: 53,000,000
It’s about 4 million below the estimated cap but the Oilers will need to add a goalie when Khabibulin blows up.
Gone: Souray, Staios, Moreau, Pisani, O’Sullivan, Cogliano, Pouliot, Jacques and Nilsson.