This is Jim Vandeermeer (#23 in CHI uniform). He has played 374 NHL regular season games and he brings toughness, grit and effort to every game. He can play defense, although footspeed exposes him at times when those fleet wingers do their outside flybys. Mr. Vandermeer is overpriced for what he brings (he sawed off 5th place opposition last season with lower than average teammates, about what Cory Cross did at the turn of the century); he is also signed for one more season before becoming a free agent.
I like the deal. Although Edmonton could have used this money on a free agent (Oilers traditionally overpay for their free agents) it is likely they would have needed to commit longer term to any similar UFA. Vandermeer sits in that 5-6 area on the Oilers depth chart. Like this:
- Smid-Souray or replacement
The Oilers would do well to add another defender to this list (aside from the new Souray). Placing another player in the mix gives the team better depth with the big club and ensures at least two of the kids start on the farm this fall. This is a small step, but it is also creative. Steve Tambellini is making small moves, acquiring short term contracts and protecting the future.