The last time Edmonton was competing for anything important, they had a tremendous number of “value” contracts. In 2005-06, the club marched out of the lockout with several useful players from the system making less than full value from their contracts. I think it’s a key element for the Oilers moving forward, since the 3 horsemen are going to get paid in full and the Horcoff still has a few glorious seasons to run.
The value contracts in 2005-06 were mostly former Oiler draft picks: Ales Hemsky, Shawn Horcoff, Fernando Pisani, Jarret Stoll, plus MA Bergeron and Raffi Torres. That’s 6 players making under 1 million dollars, and they delivered thusly:
- Ales Hemsky 81, 19-58-77 (led team in scoring) ($901,740)
- Shawn Horcoff 79, 22-51-73 ($1,000,000)
- Jarret Stoll 82, 22-46-68 ($501,600)
- Raffi Torres 82, 27-14-41 ($875,000)
- Fernando Pisani 80, 18-19-37 ($611,800)
- MA Bergeron 75, 15-20-35 ($931,000)
Those are 2006 prices, so we can’t used the $1M or below line as a direct comparable. The 05-06 cap was $39 million if I recall and now it’s $64 million. So, let’s ask this question: how many value contracts do the Oilers have in 11-12, with value’s line in the sand being 1.6M?
- Jordan Eberle 53, 25-30-55 ($1,158,333)
- Ryan Jones 57, 13-11-24 ($1,500,000)
- Jeff Petry 50, 2-14-16 ($1,000,000)
The Oilers have a plethora of candidates playing for 1.6M or below, but the production of Magnus Paajarvi, Ben Eager, Anton Lander, Lennart Petrell, Darcy Hordichuk, Theo Peckham, Corey Potter and Devan Dubnyk isn’t well beyond the value paid.
The Oilers have a tremendous number of depth players who are not only underperforming their contracts, it is a mystery they are on the team. I’ll name Anton Lander and Lennart Petrell, but you could also include Theo Peckham, Corey Potter after the injury and Devan Dubnyk has also been disappointing. We’ve discussed Eager and Hordichuk before, the main problem I have with these players is having them on the roster at all, but I don’t know that we can say Darcy Hordichuk has failed to deliver on what we might have expected from him.
Next season’s value contracts could come from names like Eberle, Jones, Teemu Hartikainen, Paajarvi and perhaps someone like Tyler Bunz who could surprise. The Oilers have a tremendous “soft spot” on the roster–a list several names strong–where a team interested in improving could place smart contracts and flourish. Those roster spots are currently occupied by Ben Eager, Darcy Hordichuk, Lennart Petrell, Anton Lander, Theo Peckham, Corey Potter and perhaps Devan Dubnyk.
This doesn’t include things like the Whitney injury worry or the Horcoff erosion, these are things that could be done anytime. Now, for instance.