The RFA’s

The Edmonton Oilers have some quality reaching rfa status. These young men were drafted by the team in the ’00s and are now delivering at a level that suggests a bigger payday is on the way. What will the Oilers do with them?

This summer’s rfa list has some talent that is worth keeping around. The Oilers have to decide how to proceed and in some cases the dollars could be dear.

  1. Sam Gagner: Making $2.275M this season and having a solid campaign Gagner’s offense is often maligned or overlooked–when did we get so cynical about a young C who can do the things he does–the team has a big decision on him. Should they draft a big center in the lottery–Grigorenko will probably be available–Gagner would be a prime trade asset for a defender.
  2. Jeff Petry: The Godsend that keeps on giving. Mobile defender with nice range of skills, he’s certainly not a shutdown defender and still makes mistakes but a huge raise is on the way. Soon.
  3. Devan Dubnyk: Making $800,000 this year, I don’t think he’ll be terribly expensive this summer but it is important to get him signed. Edmonton hasn’t really produced a quality NHL starter since Grant Fuhr, and DD’s late season performance could mean the light is on.
  4. Cam Barker: I can’t imagine the club will retain his services,  but the entire decision to sign him in the first place was curious. Sometimes NHL teams do weird things for weird reasons, maybe Barker is Edmonton’s Pierre Bouchard.
  5. Theo Peckham: Of the young group, he’s the guy I’ve cheered most for and the guy who has been most disappointing. Looks lost, suspect his roster spot is extremely vulnerable.
  6. Linus Omark: If the Oilers have plans for him, they certainly have a strange way of showing it. Omark looks like a player an NHL team can use, just not this one. I don’t think he’ll be back.
  7. Chris VandeVelde: Minor league center got late recalls two years in a row anblad may serve as the “O’Marra” option for injury callup next season. Looks like a guy who might be able to win a 4line job someday.
  8. Alex Plante: Had his strongest AHL season (made the All-Star game mid-season) and at the very least is back in the conversation for NHL employment. Foot speed will be his downfall, but there’s a chance.
  9. Hunter Tremblay: Agred for a prospect, he certainly impressed in a few areas (5-2-7 on the PK. Lordy) and one would have to think there’s another AHL contract for him.
  10. Milsn Kytnar: Already back in Europe, always cheered for him and glad he got into an NHL game.

Things have improved for the Oilers. The first rounders aren’t reaching rfa status with the resume’s of Schremp, Pouliot and Niinimaki, and some of the depth guys are delivering feature performances.

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45 Responses to "The RFA’s"

  1. Ducey says:

    Re: DD

    Here is what Matheson has to say today in the Journal:

    Q: Clearly, the Edmonton Oilers are in need of a starting goalie. What’s the possible trade scenario to bring Jonathan Bernier or Cory Schneider here?

    (Bart Lis)

    A: If you’d asked this question a month ago, I’d have agreed with you about the No. 1 job. Now, Devan Dubnyk seems to have laid claim to it. He’s 15-8-2 since the New Year. He has only played 42 games, but he looks awfully calm and collected in the net. The bigger question is what they’ll do with Nikolai Khabibulin. He has another year left on his contract at $3.75 million. Do they want a $3.75-million mentor/backup? Dubnyk’s contract is up. He only makes $800,000. I would suspect his agent, former NHL goalie Mike Liut, will be looking for about three times that in a new deal. Corey Crawford’s contract with the Chicago Blackhawks could be a comparable. He had a cap hit of $800,000 and got a three-year deal for $2.67-million cap hit.

    Is that in the range you were thinking LT?

    I see VdV and Plante possibly getting picked off on waivers.

  2. uni says:

    Cam Barker: I can’t imagine the club will retain his services, but the entire decision to sign him in the first place was curious. Sometimes NHL teams do weird things for weird reasons, maybe Barker is Edmonton’s Pierre Bouchard.

    More like the Oilers’ Pierre-Marc Bouchard…i.e. an Oiler killer. Near single-handedly “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory”.

  3. misfit says:

    I always sort of figured Peckham would have taken Sutton’s spot in the lineup next year, but between Sutton’s extenstion and Peckham’s now multiple concussions, I could definitely see him being moved. I’ve always liked the fact that he takes the body every time, and is more than willing to initiate the rough stuff despite not being a terribly effective player.

    Petry is definitely in line to receive a significant raise, but I’m hoping the fact that he doesn’t have Gilbert’s numbers results in him getting much less than Gilbert’s second contract.

    To me, Sam Gagner is the most interesting RFA this offseason. I hope they keep him, but enought people want him traded as it is. I can only imagine what the reaction would be if we started paying him Stafford/Boyes/Stoll/Vermette money in the $3.6 – 4M range.

  4. bookje says:

    I think he has shown enough to be back next year as the #1. Since the Middle of the year, he has probably been around a .919 save percentage (is there a way to check this for part of a year?) and that would put him in the top 20 goalies in the league while playing behind one of the top 35 NHL defence corps in the league.

    I say the Oilers offer him a 15-year, $67.5 million contract.

  5. Clay says:

    Elliot Freedman was on the Fan 960 this morning, and made mention that he feels strongly that there is real problems in the room in Colorado, and that he expects “major changes” in the off-season there. When asked if he thinks they’re looking to move Duchene, he replied “absolutely”.

    Gagner is pretty famous right now. I wonder if Gagner + (someone not named Hall, RNH, Eberle, or 2012 first round pick) would cause Greg Sherman to not immediately hang up the phone?

    Anyway, if Gagner does stay with the team, I can’t see them going long term with him. I’d expect 2 years max at a slight raise on his current hit. Then they’ll try like hell to make him grow 3 inches and add 30 lbs.

    I like Peckham fine for what he is, but Plante and Teubert make him redundant for next year. Scary thing – Peckham has the highest PDO among Oiler dmen this year – so expect his numbers to get worse. :)

  6. Kert says:

    bookje:
    I think he has shown enough to be back next year as the #1.Since the Middle of the year, he has probably been around a .919 save percentage (is there a way to check this for part of a year?) and that would put him in the top 20 goalies in the league while playing behind one of the top 35 NHL defence corps in the league.

    I say the Oilers offer him a 15-year, $67.5 million contract.

    Yahoo Sports has the monthly splits, amongst less useful splits, like his 4-1 .933 record on Fridays, compared to his 1-6 .881 record on Saturdays.. But it’s probably an easy starting point.
    (.920 save percentage in 2012, btw)

  7. bookje says:

    Kert,

    Thanks – the .920 in 2012 is probably the key stat that is important. This is good and it is over a long enough timeframe to be meaningful.

  8. bookje says:

    Clay:
    Elliot Freedman was on the Fan 960 this morning, and made mention that he feels strongly that there is real problems in the room in Colorado, and that he expects “major changes” in the off-season there.When asked if he thinks they’re looking to move Duchene, he replied “absolutely”.

    I hear that the real problem in the room is Gabriel Landeskog. He is destroying the team. I sure hope that the Hockey Writers take this into account when considering Rookie of the Year.*

    *None of this is true, but please do your best to share it with others.

  9. misfit says:

    Colorado might trade Duchene, but I can’t see them trading him in the division, and for a lesser player at the same position.

    I also can’t see either player being happy about the move. Duchene grew up a diehard Avs fan and would be going to the NHLs worst team over the time he’s been in the league, and I remember it was a big deal for Gagner to be drafted by a Canadian team and getting the chance to play in Canada. Not that either player would have a choice in the matter if a trade was to take place.

  10. fuzzy muppet says:

    Would a gagner and the lotto pick + prospect for duchene and Washingtons #1 do??

  11. spoiler says:

    Yeah, I’m kind of surprised at the Duchene comment too, considering how much he loved the Avs.

  12. DSF says:

    misfit:
    Colorado might trade Duchene, but I can’t see them trading him in the division, and for a lesser player at the same position.

    I also can’t see either player being happy about the move.Duchene grew up a diehard Avs fan and would be going to the NHLs worst team over the time he’s been in the league, and I remember it was a big deal for Gagner to be drafted by a Canadian team and getting the chance to play in Canada.Not that either player would have a choice in the matter if a trade was to take place.

    Colorado already has too many centres (O’Reilly, Statsny, Duchene, Mueller, McClement and Olver) and that is likely behind Duchene’s unhappiness since he’s been pushed to the wing.

    And, the Avalanche have Joey Hishon coming up if he recovers from a concussion.

    Can’t see Gagner adding anything to that group.

  13. Ducey says:

    Duchene 54 gp 13 14 27 8 PIM -9
    Gagner 67 gp 17 29 46 34 PIM +8

    Duchene had 67 pts last year but if he is a malcontent I am not sure I would add much to Sam to get Duchene. Having only 8 PIM’s indicates he is not particularly involved.

    I got the impression that the Gilbert for Schultz trade had as much, if not more, to do with the fact the Oilers wanted Schultz’s leadership and demeanor. Given the upset in Minni when he left, there is a basis to believe this is a strength. Whether it is coincidental or not, the Oilers have played better since his arrival.

    I think they would be wary of adding a guy who isn’t going to add to the room, while subtracting a guy who seems to fit quite well.

  14. commonfan14 says:

    DSF: Colorado already has too many centres (O’Reilly, Statsny, Duchene, Mueller, McClement and Olver) and that is likely behind Duchene’s unhappiness since he’s been pushed to the wing.

    Maybe they should trade for Cogliano. I hear he’d be dynamite on the wing.

  15. Dipstick says:

    I just saw a report on HF that Hall requires labral shoulder surgery. 6 month recovery. Any one else have any info/

  16. danny says:

    Dipstick:
    I just saw a report on HF that Hall requires labral shoulder surgery.6 month recovery.Any one else have any info/

    http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=391516


    Edmonton Oilers forward Taylor Hall is out for the season and faces a long road to recovery from shoulder surgery.

    “Recovery time will be between five and six months, so our hope is that Taylor will be ready for the start of next season,” said Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini.

    Details to follow.

  17. art vandelay says:

    So the list of RFAs is basically: an undersized pivot whose career with be remembered for the one night he boned off 8 points playing with far superior talent – sorta like BJ McDonald if all the stars lined up right for 60 minutes. A Dman with little track record except he plays for a last-place club that can’t stop the puck. And a long list of plugs who have no business in the NHL. None.
    No free agents will sign here unless they have no options, like the perennially hurt Souray or the terminally untalented Barker, or the perpetually porous Khabby.
    And when they do sign with the Oilers, if the org doesn’t stick a knife in them like they did to Souray, the fans clamour to shiv them like everyone around here was trying with Khabby after the wobbly driving thing.
    We won’t bother to ask Pronger’s wife for a rundown of the weather in Edmonton for 10 1/2 months of the year.
    Looked at realistically, the locals are a team that can only hope to lose long enough to draft well enough to ride a comet’s tail once a generation. After which the cap conspires to drive the top end to wherever appeals, since the dollars don’t differentiate at the top end. So Edmonton will bleed talent.
    You’re not even the Edmonton Expos. You’re more like the Aki Bars Shazaam Wheat Kings, or whatever they’re called. Just hanging on to a guy for a year or two before they defect to better climes.
    And if Hall is facing a six month recovery – and let’s face it, he’s already a full-blown member of the Glass Menagerie – the hoped-for alignment of stars will likely never happen.
    How does anybody emotionally invest in a perpetual losing machine like that?

  18. DSF says:

    commonfan14: Maybe they should trade for Cogliano.I hear he’d be dynamite on the wing.

    Oh, I think they can do better than that.

    I hear Burke is in the market for a couple;e of centres.

  19. HeyJakel says:

    Ducey:
    Duchene 54 gp 13 14 27 8 PIM -9
    Gagner 67 gp 17 29 46 34 PIM +8

    Duchene had 67 pts last year but if he is a malcontent I am not sure I would add much to Sam to get Duchene.Having only 8 PIM’s indicates he is not particularly involved.

    Eberle 72 gp 32 41 73 8 PIM +6

  20. bookje says:

    Art – good of you to chime in. I was getting worried that DSF was having to carry the role of Blog Troll all by himself.

  21. fuzzy muppet says:

    So how long did Hall play with a torn Labrum?? Since the Ryan Wilson hit???

    Isn’t this the same injury Hemsky had??

    Do we have to expect Hall to be subpar for the first 40 games?

    He must have been playing with this for a while and was still productive.

    Two years, two non-complete seasons…maybe the concerns about Hall’s being about to stay healthy are legitimate?

  22. Jordan says:

    I’m really looking forwards to the blog post titled “Hall in a Handbasket”

    Is this a late-diagnosed injury from the Sarich hit, or something else?

    Losing hall for the season, and the reduced offseason training is bad news bears.

    ***Update from TSN***

    Edmonton Oilers forward Taylor Hall is out for the season and will undergo labral shoulder surgery on his left shoulder in hopes of being healthy again in time for next season.

    “Recovery time will be between five and six months, so our hope is that Taylor will be ready for the start of next season,” said Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini. “He’s going to have an incredible career, so this is the right time to take care of business and get this (surgery) done.”

    Hall injured the shoulder for the first time in junior and has been playing through it for most of this season.

    “It’s not the way I envisioned my career starting, but I hope to stay healthy after this and be a good Oiler for a long time,” said Hall.

    Well, he sure is on his way, what with the consistent injuries…. THis truly is Horcoff and Hemsky’s team now… =P
    ———-

    I like most of our RFA’s. There is a lot of value there. I have a hard time believing that all of them will be back as Oilers, and hope that those that do not return provide good value for the club (Except barker, whose greatest value will be the contract spot he gives up. Ha!). I have trouble envisioning a scenario in which the Oilers get back a top 2 D-man without needing to part with one of the wonderkids, gagner, Smid or Petry. Which leads me to think that it won’t happen, because none of them are worth it on their own, let alone in a package. Too much value.

    Which leaves lesser lights on the cheap for a 3-4 guy, which we probably need as Whitney insurance anyways. Anyone know who the target is for a trade like Linus + Peckham/AHL Prospect for Defenseman?

  23. nathan says:

    danny,

    Shutting him down to deal with the chronic shoulder history is a no-brainer. Next best thing to taking him from the ice straight to surgery.

  24. Ducey says:

    HeyJakel,

    Hah, you got me. Although the 72 pts indicate Eberle is a bit more involved than Duchene’s 27 :)

    How does anybody emotionally invest in a perpetual losing machine like that?

    Perspective, brother. Get some.

  25. Lewis Grant says:

    Sell high, buy low.

    Duchene available? I’d take him in a heartbeat. On draft day they said he was a future captain. I don’t foresee any dressing-room problems.

    His numbers were almost identical to Tavares’s in their first two years. He’s having a terrible year, but surely it’s only due to the situation. Moreover, it’s in a contract year, which will not only lower his trade value but his next contract value. How often are players like this available? Remember, his 18/19yo numbers mirrored Tavares.

    It’s unfortunate that Colorado will probably not be interested in Gagner. But they may be interested in our pick+. I’d have zero qualms about trading that pick (who will not be useful for us for many years) as part of a package. There are a lot of top-5 defensemen who never become anything special – Mike Rathje, Scott Lachance, Aki Berg, Cam Barker, just to name a few that I remember from Jonathan Willis’ post the other day.

    Duchene may not ultimately be available to the Oilers, but I sure hope Tamby does everything he can to explore the possibilities.

  26. Dipstick says:

    I’m guessing that Hall’s injury was there before the Sarich hit. Sarich’s hit was on the right side if I recall correctly.

    edit – I just noticed JW’s post on ON it goes back to Junior, probably aggravated by the Wilson hit.

  27. cc says:

    Petry, Gagner & Dubnyk are the important items. Signing them to good deals is a high priority this off-season. Here are contracts that I think make sense.

    Sam Gagner – 5 Years 3.5 Million Hit (Use Stephen Weiss as a comparable)
    Jeff Petry – 5 Years 3.5 Million Hit (Use Kris Letang as a comparable)
    Devan Dubnyk – 3 Years – 2 – 2.5 Million Hit (Use James Reimer / Corey Crawford as a comparable)

    Two other guys they will have to make a decision on are:
    Peckham – Personally, I wouldn’t mind them signing him to a 2way deal (not being afraid to send him down and losing him to waivers) & have him being the Hordichuk type player as a winger & 7th defenseman when he plays. A negative I don’t like his +1 Mil price tag.
    Omark – Team looks like it already made their decision. If Omark stays there needs to be a new coach that will use him properly. I’d like to see him signed with a new coach for one more year, but it will cost Edmonton a 1way deal.

    Moving either player will only return us a mid-round pick, so the hopes that we can package Omark & Peckham and get a player is wishful thinking.

  28. oilersfan says:

    labrum injuries aren’t 5-6 months, look at Souray, Hemsky, Horcoff, etc. My observation is it is usually 8 months to recover fully, if not 9 or 10. I bet Hall won’t be ready to play until November. if he plays in October he will be sore like Hemsky was this year, and a month behind at the least. Why the hell didn’t they do this a month ago?

  29. Jordan says:

    oilersfan,

    I’d bet there’s a 30 goal bonus in Hall’s contract. If I were him I’d be going for the money too. Just a little pain – at that age, what’s the worst you think will happen? =/
    —————-

    W.r.t. the draft situation… I seem to recall Mr. Willis doing a story about a 6’3″ Czech centre playing out of the OHL who spoke very candidly saying that he would LOVE to be drafted by the Oilers.

    At that point he was looking to be selected somewhere in the middle of the first round.

    Central currently has him as the 4th best NA Skater, behind Nail, Mikail, and Ryan.

    I know there’s a lot of hype about picking the D-man, picking the next great offensive Dynamo… What about the next great Big elite two-way centre?

    Na… not something the Oilers need at all…

  30. HeyJakel says:

    Ducey:
    HeyJakel,

    Hah, you got me.Although the 72 pts indicate Eberle is a bit more involved than Duchene’s 27

    Yes ;)

  31. cabbiesmacker says:

    art vandelay,

    Could be worse Art. We could be the team on the Left coast about to get poled in the first round of the playoffs , OR, the one down Hwy 2 with ownership and a GM in denial, next to bugger-all for prospects, 42 NT / NM contracts on board, and staring the customary 9 – 11th place finish in the eyes.

    All Hail Duncan Keith and the snot blowing horsies management team.

  32. hockeyguy10 says:

    art vandelay,

    Thanks for sharing your bitterness……

  33. cabbiesmacker says:

    hockeyguy10:
    art vandelay,

    Thanks for sharing your bitterness……

    Truth issues? Couldn’t be less bitter actually but as you were.

  34. hockeyguy10 says:

    cabbiesmacker,

    Didn’t know you were Art

  35. godot10 says:

    I think Petry has 3 years to UFA status (I think). So you sign him for one or two years or you sign him for six years. Petry might want to stay short term to see how the new CBA turns out, and to better establish his value.

    Gagner is 2 year sto UFA status. So you have to make a decision, about how long you think you need him. I would try buying 2 UFA years, so I would target a 4 year contract. Gagner might just sign his qualifying offer or opt for arbitration, to gain control over his own destiny or to see what the new CBA brings. If he wants to be part of the rebuild, you might be able to get him on a reasonable 4 year deal. He’s a smart guy. He knows where he is on the totem pole, and if he asks for too much, he will be playing hockey elsewhere.

  36. Bar_Qu says:

    This news just in…DSF and Art Vandelay are less than enthusiastic about Oilers players and prospects.

    Details to follow ….

  37. cabbiesmacker says:

    hockeyguy10:
    cabbiesmacker,
    Didn’t know you were Art

    Oops sry. Selective reading comprehension skills.

    I’m only Art when I’m plastered? Hung? Nailed? I am a true Renaissance man tho….ar ar

  38. Dipstick says:

    Bar_Qu,

    “Details to follow….”

    I don’t respond to threats!

  39. "Steve Smith" says:

    Dipstick,

    Isn’t that sort of like responding to Art by saying “I ignore trolls”?

  40. Bar_Qu says:

    “Steve Smith”,

    How do we ensure people understand the magnitude of our ignoring if we don’t inform them of it?

  41. Lewis Grant says:

    Petry has had 25 very good games. His points are in the low 20s. $3.5M a year??

    Can someone explain this to me?

  42. Lewis Grant says:

    Letang had 211 games and 79 points when the Penguins gave him $3.5M a year. Petry has 104 games and 28 points.

    And 3 goals. Letang already had a playoff OT winner at that point.

    Horcoff had 50 very good games when the OIlers signed him to a rich, long-term deal. He had a near-ppg season two years before that. How’d that turn out?

    It’s crazy how the blog world can be incredibly pessimistic and blindly optimistic at the same time.

  43. DSF says:

    Lewis Grant:
    Letang had 211 games and 79 points when the Penguins gave him $3.5M a year.Petry has 104 games and 28 points.

    And 3 goals.Letang already had a playoff OT winner at that point.

    Horcoff had 50 very good games when the OIlers signed him to a rich, long-term deal.He had a near-ppg season two years before that.How’d that turn out?

    It’s crazy how the blog world can be incredibly pessimistic and blindly optimistic at the same time.

    The Gagner = Weiss statement is even funnier.

  44. stevezie says:

    I doubt anyone is reading this thread anymore, but if Colorado’s problem is too many centers the guy I’m tagetting is O’Reilly. Bit bigger, killer on faceoffs, has those precious intangibles everyone craves, great on defence- he’s a rich man’s Horcoff and much, much younger.

    I love Duschene but what this team needs is an O’Reilly, or a Hanzal. I’d put the pick the play, you bet I would.

    I’m a little shook to hear Duschene might be bad in the room. I remember at the draft his qualities as a human seemed to overshadow his hockey.

  45. stevezie says:

    DSF,

    Calling it laughable is a little much, I think Weiss at the same age is close, but you’re right Gagner is clearly better.

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