Pelss added to the 50

Edmonton’s signing of Kristians Pelss tells us a story about some of the other kids from the 2010 entry draft: they’re going to get left behind.

Kristians Pelss is now bona fide. He’s got an entry level contract and a chance to show his stuff in the pro hockey jungle.

His signing tells us that men like Brandon Davidson, Jeremie Blain and Drew Czerwonka  will likely be traded or set free. Davidson will be able to sign a pro contract and I believe Blain and Czerwonka can re-enter. The biggest surprise from that group for me is Blain, and I think there’s still a chance he’ll sign.

Looking at the Oilers 50 man list, there’s not going to be a lot of room. Here’s a quick look, I’ve added the ufa’s and rfa’s that should end up being signed.

  1. Shawn Horcoff
  2. Ales Hemsky
  3. Ryan Whitney
  4. Taylor Hall
  5. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
  6. Nikolai Khabibulin
  7. Nick Schultz
  8. Ladislav Smid
  9. Eric Belanger
  10. Andy Sutton
  11. Ryan Jones
  12. Jordan Eberle
  13. Ben Eager
  14. Colten Teubert
  15. Teemu Hartikainen
  16. Corey Potter
  17. Magnus Paaajarvi
  18. Taylor Fedun
  19. Mark Arcobello
  20. Tyler Pitlick
  21. Anton Lander
  22. Curtis Hamilton
  23. Martin Marincin
  24. Ryan Martindale
  25. Toni Rajala
  26. Olivier Roy
  27. Tyler Bunz
  28. Tanner House
  29. Cameron Abney
  30. Kristians Pelss
  31. Phil Cornet
  32. Antti Tyrvainen
  33. Alex Plante (RFA)
  34. Jeff Petry (RFA)
  35. Chris VandeVelde (RFA)
  36. Devan Dubnyk (RFA)
  37. Sam Gagner (RFA)
  38. Hunter Tremblay (RFA)
  39. Theo Peckham (RFA)
  40. Ryan Smyth (UFA)
  41. Lennart Petrell (UFA)
  42. Darcy Hordichuk (UFA)

It’s a little misleading, as the team will need to add some AHL help and part of the carrot for getting a Yann Danis or a Bryan Rodney is a two-way contract that involves an NHL portion. Taylor Chorney is also UFA this summer, the club may want to bring him back.

Plus you have all those kids graduating: Blain, Davidson, Czerwonka, possibly Kyle Bigos. PLUS there’s Justin Schultz and the 1st overall pick.

So if we add (say) Yakupov for the big club plus Danis, Rodney, Josh Green, Ryan Keller for the AHL that puts us at 47. If they’re lucky enough to get Schultz that’s 48 and then they have to improve the team so there’s probably an additional free agent or two.

My guess is Davidson and Czerwonka are sol. That 2010 draft was a good one, we knew it the day it happened. The Oilers waste a lot of roster spots (the Arcobello signing is especially questionable, especially now) and it is going to cost them this summer.

Edmonton decided on Pelss yesterday, now they have to decide on the rest. I think they’re all worth a contract, so there’s a chance one or two will be traded before the signing deadline.

The other thing we’re probably going to see is a few trades. At least we should, as it is time to cull the herd.

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32 Responses to "Pelss added to the 50"

  1. regwald says:

    Do you think Tambo know how to make a trade ? Or has permission to make a trade ? The lack of management activity leads me to believe they will just let these prospects walk with no return.

    I am happy to see Pelss sign though. I’ve seen him in a few playoff games now and he’s a very opportunistic scorer and seems like the guy who stirs the drink when he’s on the ice. Boy does he have a great shot too !

    And I love Stu’s nickname for him … “the little Latvian ball of hate”

  2. FrankenOil says:

    One question(clarification) in regards to the 50 man contract limit:

    The contracts only count for the years they are in effect, correct?

    This would allow the Oilers to sign the remainder AND then make decisions on some of the RFA’s. Also, what are the odds the Oilers offer Davidson an AHL-only deal with the “promise” of an NHL contract once the limit issue is sorted out (either through trades, CBA change, etc). I’m fairly certain a few organizations have done this recently with some draft picks. I know the risk of that is he is open to poaching by any NHL team. Alternatively, he could garner interest of some prospect needy teams (Hello CGY/SJ!) and sign as an undrafted UFA. Either way, the Oilers should start looking for creative ways to make players happy/want to stay within the organization by taking advantage of some rules that are available.

    One other thing, I have noticed the narrative of people talking about OEL or one of the more heralded PHX D prospects for a potential trade,but one guy who looks to be developing at a good pace is Michael (brother of Mark) Stone. 6′-4″ , RH d-man with some decent ofensive upside. I noticed he was recalled a few times this season. I believe he is 22 and has spent the last 2 years in the AHL after a very successful career with the Calgary Hitmen. Could be a guy that has been seasoned by an organization that knows the value in proper D development. Just a thought.

  3. SK Oiler Fan says:

    A Trade? Don’t talk about a trade! You kidding me? I just hope they can win a game!

    Who needs trades when you can keep going up to the podium to select the best, shiny, new rookie every year.

    There’s a few guys on that list that need to be culled and some aren’t prospects. Why management thinks they need to keep marginal players and prospects in their system until the choice to not offer a contract is so blatently obvious is beyond me. Just look at what gets picked off the waiver wire every year. Hell, I think half of Phoenix’s team was plucked off of waivers. Leave some room on the 50 man list dammit!

  4. Dipstick says:

    LT, Klefbom needs a contract as well.

  5. Chris Hext---formerly EasyOil--- says:

    I don’t know what it is about Pelss, he’s had very underwhelming stats, but something tells me he might have a career. The Oilers clearly have seen something in him since before they drafted him – I liked him from the moment on draft day that the NHL didn’t have a name-board for him as they hadn’t heard of him. I heard someone describe him as a possible Darren Helm-type player in the future – I don’t know if he has the defensive chops for that but he seems like a coachable guy and he definitely has the wheels. I’m cheering like hell for him to do well.

    Re: other prospects being signed, the contract limit is certainly an issue. I like Czerwonka, but I think you can afford to let him go and not feel bad about it even if one day he surfaces in the NHL (major longshot). Blain and Davidson on the other hand, I’d be loathe to give up on them as they seem like pretty dominant junior d-men and to be honest the more young d-men we have, the better the chance that at least one will turn into a solid NHLer.

  6. Clay says:

    Happy for Pelss. Just signing a pro contract is a great accomplishment for a 7th round pick. He stood out for sure at the WJC, but mostly because he was one of the very few Latvians who could skate and handle the puck simultaneously.

    That being said, his point production in the Dub suggests he won’t be a player of interest at the NHL level, at least as a top six forward.. I’ve read that he gets very little PP time on that deep Oil Kings team, and if true, that counts for something. Is he the type of player who can re-invent himself as a two-way checker at the pro level?

    Sideburns, um, aside, will he ever be an improvement on Omark at LW? Is he even an improvement on Tobias Rieder? Does the team need another speedy, skilled hobbit? If the answer to any of these questions is “no”, then why burn a spot on the already-tight 50 man list for him?

  7. Lowetide says:

    Dipstick: As I undertstand these things, Klefbom’s contract will slide for another season. So, he’s signed but it won’t count because he slides.

  8. "Steve Smith" says:

    Dipstick,

    Klefblom needs a contract, but if he’s playing in the SEL (as I gather he is going to be), he won’t count towards the 50-contract limit, unless I’m very much mistaken.

    As for trades…I think our prospect stable is fairly good, but is it so good that other teams will actually give something up for guys who aren’t good enough to crack out fifty-contract list? I’d guess not, but I’ve been wrong before (September 1998).

    And I promise not to ask anybody to cite the part of the CBA that says that Davidson doesn’t need to go back into the draft.

  9. gcw_rocks says:

    LT – It was also my understanding that these contracts count in the years they are in effect.

    If that is true, there is plenty of room at add Davidson and Blain just by letting Rodney and Chroney walk.

    I would think the Oilers shed themselves of at least half of:

    Chorney, Keller, Green, Tremblay, Kytnar, Rodney, vandeValde, Omark, Petrell, Hordichuk, Barker, and Peckham.

    That’s between 6 and 12 open spots. I just don’t see an issue there if the Oilers cull the right deadwood.

  10. Dipstick says:

    LT & SS, Thanks, that’s good news. Is that the same slide rule that applies to junior players?

  11. godot10 says:

    If Rajala stays in Finland, does it count?

    Some random observations:
    1) Dale Hunter plays Ovechkin less. Washington’s playoff performance gets better.
    2) Kostitsyn and Radulov break curfew during the playoffs.
    3) Kuznetsov signs a new two-year contract to play in Russia. (The only good thing about this is that it might add buyer in the trade market for Gagner.)
    4) Grigorenko’s camp finds an excuse for taking half a season off and getting owned by Nathan MacKinnon.
    5) Malkin plays worse with Crosby in the lineup.

    They don’t make ‘em like Larionov and Fetisov anymore.

    I’ll cut Kuznetsov a little slack. This guarentees that he will be able to play in the Olympics, since the NHL has not yet committed. Will Russians bolt the NHL for Russia, abandoning their NHL teams, so they are able to play in the Olympics, if the NHL decides to stay out?

  12. Ducey says:

    I think they can still sign Blain and Davidson. I don’t think they want to sign Czerwonka.

    They have more than enough D men for OKC:
    1.Teubert
    2.Marincin
    3.Fedun
    4. Plante (he may get picked off on waivers)
    5. Blain
    6. Davidson
    7. Chorney (or other 2 way contract)
    8. Random minor league contract (doesn’t count on 50 man)

    OKC forwards:
    1.Pitlick
    2.Hamilton
    3.Martindale
    4.Arcobello (who has been one of their best players in the playoffs)
    5.Lander
    6.House
    7. Cornet
    8.Tremblay (or 2 way contract for vet)
    9.Tyrvainen
    10. VDV (could lose on waivers)
    11. MPS?
    12. Pelss
    13. Keller or other 2 way contract
    14. Minor league contract or two

    Goal
    1.DD
    2.Bulin
    3.Danis
    4.Roy
    5.Bunz (Stockton)

    The Oilers will turf Hordichuk and hopefully Petrell.

    So you have 42. Add in Schultz, Nail, and three free agents and they are only at 47. Its just a matter of relying less on minor league vets in OKC.

    They could also buy out Abney and Rajala, could they not?

    I don’t think it will be a problem.

  13. jfry says:

    at first i was really excited that the oilers got an ahl team and a junior team. but all thats happened is that we are now just incubating and signing our own. acrobello is the perfect example, abney. pelss comes in close as well — saying he’s like darren helm is absolutely blue skying based on too many viewings and love of your own. i’m amazed, given their track record that the one useful oil king (st. croix) didnt get a sniff from the oil (or yeah, he’s not truculent — the new diet coke machine). call me the anti-rheinhardt in this draft. i do not want anyone that lowebillini has seen a lot. if we draft an oil king in the first round i think it’s safe to say that it was a group think and not stu.

    we’re all excited when we get 11 bullets a year for stu’s gun but there’s no room and we never make trades…i would love 3 prospects for 1. this 50 contract wall is another huge dark hole for this mgt team. our lack of forward prospects on that list… is embarassing.

  14. stevezie says:

    I hate to add nothing more than “I agree with the article”, but really, that 50 man list needs to be culled. DSF is right about this: it doesn’t make sense to burn roster spots and guys who aren’t projecting well. You really don’t know anything on draft day, but you should have a pretty good idea of what’s happening by the time people are drinking legally in America.

    I’m not saying folks like Arcobello and Cornet are useless, I’m just saying a few one-way contracts would have gone a long way towards giving us space to see which draft picks might actually be worth something. Anyone who is really NHL calibre should be able to sustain high play for the duration of one AHL season and be ready for a two-way next year, right?

  15. jake70 says:

    Regarding Toni Rajala…..21 yo now (march birthday)

    Drafted at 18 yo in 2009 (NOT from the CHL), signed 3 yr ELC in July 2009.

    From Capgeek:

    2009-10 entry level slide (played with Brandon WHL)
    2010-11 entry level slide (played in SM Liiga/tier 2?)
    2011-12 cap hit 0.816M (played in SM Liiga)
    2012-13 cap hit 0.816M
    2013-14 cap hit 0.816M

    Assuming Capgeek is correct, it appears he is one of the 50, even though he hasn’t played any pro hockey in the Oilers system as of yet. At some point these contracts are on the clock so to speak. I wonder if he had been invited last season or 2 to come to camp and then play OKC?

  16. mustang says:

    jfry:
    at first i was really excited that the oilers got an ahl team and a junior team. but all thats happened is that we are now just incubating and signing our own. acrobello is the perfect example, abney. pelss comes in close as well — saying he’s like darren helm is absolutely blue skying based on too many viewings and love of your own. i’m amazed, given their track record that the one useful oil king (st. croix) didnt get a sniff from the oil (or yeah, he’s not truculent — the new diet coke machine). call me the anti-rheinhardt in this draft. i do not want anyone that lowebillini has seen a lot. if we draft an oil king in the first round i think it’s safe to say that it was a group think and not stu.

    we’re all excited when we get 11 bullets a year for stu’s gun but there’s no room and we never make trades…i would love 3 prospects for 1. this 50 contract wall is another huge dark hole for this mgt team. our lack of forward prospects on that list… is embarassing.

    Growing and developing our own has been the plan since the decision to rebuild was made. I think it’s proven this organization has to do it this way, star or semi star player won’t come here till we start to contend and show some promise of better days.

    I like the signing of Pelss, I think Daren Helm is a good comparison. I seen #26 play a lot and he brings it game in and game out. Stu’s nickname is awesome and accurate…the kid is tough

  17. FrankenOil says:

    I’m shocked at the negative reaction to the signing of Pelss because of size and the fact he didn’t produce at an elite level. The MAJORITY of signed draft picks of every team do not produce at elite levels in junior. Most teams look at that dreaded “P-word” – potential. This potential isn’t always 30G or PP QB. The roles can be 3rd line banger, 4th line enforcer, 3rd line energy penalty killer, 3rd line 2-way-player, etc. This is what the AHL is primarily for as the elite scorers rarely spend significant time down in the AHL.Not every draft pick is going to be a Jordan Eberle or Jeff Petry but Pelss has a chance to be an effective pk’er and energy player. HE’s already shown to be a good teammate and seems to be very malleable (or, in hockey-speak – coachable). Being coachable often trumps talent in the world of pro hockey. The Oil aren’t “wasting” a contract on a player like this but rather hoping to find a useful, complementary player. We’ve seen what signing UFA’s for those roles has sowed. These players expected a different role and sulked (see Eager) or were poor fits (see Belanger). That is the risk you run by signing these players. The criteria for signing picks shouldn’t purely be about who puts up the best numbers in junior but rather, who fits the roles the organization sees need filling.

  18. Melman says:

    Idea for the day: Once the trade freeze is over, try and move Omark to the Ducks prior to July 1st for Justin Schultz. Ideally have that option in place on draft day. That would give the Ducks something and the Oil a week to negotiate with Schultz prior to July 1st. If he doesn’t sign with us, the risk is we’ve lost in all likelihood a 4th/5th round pick which is probably what we will get for Omark if he were traded for a pick and we lose a contract. Unless he’s in particular demand as part of a package for an established roster player on draft day, I’d try and make that move.

  19. stevezie says:

    Melman,

    That idea’s been floated before (sorry), and I love it. It might take more, but the best thing we could possibly use Omark for is Schultz’s rights.

  20. regwald says:

    FrankenOil,

    Further to that, the conclusion is a team should draft or procure multiple roles for a team and you can never have too many 3rd line type players who can play up and down the lineup. Someone like a Pisani or Greir, etc.

    I like the kid and I bet he outscores his NHLE when he gets there …

    It takes all kinds of players to make a team. If you watch Pelss play he really is a difference maker on his line. He generates positive puck movement and helps create chances. The two games in missed in the playoffs, he was sorely missed. He came back and the Oil Kings closed out Moose Jaw. He started the play to set up the first goal – which I thought was actually credited back to him for the first goal of game 5 less than 3 minutes into the game. It was a total momentum gainer for the Oil Kings.

    How he impacts the game reminds of Tikkanen or Peca/Pisani from the 2006 run.

  21. regwald says:

    Melman:
    Idea for the day: Once the trade freeze is over, try and move Omark to the Ducks prior to July 1stfor Justin Schultz.Ideally have that option in place on draft day.That would give the Ducks something and the Oil a week to negotiate with Schultz prior to July 1st.If he doesn’t sign with us, the risk is we’ve lost in all likelihood a 4th/5th round pick which is probably what we will get for Omark if he were traded for a pick and we lose a contract.Unless he’s in particular demandas part of a package for an established roster player on draft day, I’d try and make that move.

    There is no trade freeze on if both teams are out of the playoffs. Trades can occur.

  22. Captain Obvious says:

    FrankenOil,

    The problem with your idea here is that all NHL players have to be able to score at least a little bit. Consequently, your typical 3rd line energy player was almost always a good or very good scorer at lower levels. Take the scorer always. Guys that can score can develop into third line players. By contrast guys that can’t score are always useless.

    Now, I don’t have a real problem with signing Pelss. Sometimes young players take dramatic leaps and I figure it is worth a flyer. The indefensible decision was drafting Ewanyk instead of St. Croix.

  23. danny says:

    Them sireeens loved him up, and turned him into a horny toad!

  24. delooper says:

    Interesting trend in the playoffs, how all the western series are trending towards short 4 or 5 game series, while the eastern series mostly go to game 7.

    I really like how the Kings are built this year. They kind of look a bit like the Doug Weight Oilers, but more complete.

  25. jfry says:

    mustang,

    i don’t think “players won’t sign here” has anything to do with “signing all our prospects makes the 50 cap limit tough”

    i have no issues with signing pelss. i have issue that we’re all excited about drafting Rheinhart and Samuelsson and that we’ve signed questionable people (abney, arcrobello) that are on the very fringes of what i’d call “our organization” (echl and whl). Pelss is going to get coloured with that same brush until he proves he’s worth the contract.space. it’s not his fault as much as mgts.

  26. LP says:

    TreenasOil 2 hours ago:

    “Oilers are trying to acquire another top 5 pick and are willing to move prospects Musil and Klefbom..”

    That would make it quite interesting….

  27. ashley says:

    While admittedly, I may not be as good as some of you at determining trade value, but it would seem to me that Klefbom and Musil would have very little value relative to a top 5 pick. A top 5 pick is highly likely to have an NHL career. Klefbom and Musil may never have an NHL career apart from a few games. There would have to be something else going away in such a trade, I suspect.

  28. stevezie says:

    Ashley, I think the only was this rumour makes any sense is if we’re trading with a team who considers their cupboard bare- someone for whom it makes sense to trade a dollar for four quarters. The opposite of us. I don’t think any of the roster players we’d be willing to move get us in that conversation, but what do I know?

    After the last WJs I really don’t think Murray far enough above Klefbom to make a trade worth it, but what do I know? Scouts are professionals, that’s a fact, Jack.

  29. Ryan says:

    LP,

    Are you suggesting that the Oilers are trying to drop the Klefbom?

    At best, I’m guessing that this will be the segue to another “we tried to get another pick to draft Seguin” type story.

    As for the other thread on Sutton, yeah the Oilers have long been loathe to let go of marginal prospects with low ceilings or just plain failed prospects (JFJ, Chorney, ROM, Peckman, V V, Reddox, Plante, Abney, JDD, etc…)

    I can’t help but agree with DSF that wasting development time, particularly giving at bats in the NHL, to marginal prospects makes little sense.

    The at bats given in the NHL to Petrell and Lander were also particularly curious. Petrell was a useful PK’er, but offered to little else (below the Mendoza line) to play in the NHL. Lander just wasn’t ready.

    In a 29th place campaign, if you’re going to give development time to players, it would have probably made more sense to play Hartikinen, Omark or PRV.

    Obviously last year showed us the difference you get on the bottom pairing with a veteran like Sutton compared to a developing Peckman.

  30. LP says:

    Ryan,
    I’m not suggesting anything – just passing out some information from someone that does seem to have some sort of in with the organization.

    I too, doubt that an organization would trade 2 prospects for a top 5 pick, but perhaps if the offer is sweetened, who knows.

  31. FrankenOil says:

    Captain Obvious,

    Saying that taking Ewanyk is “indefensible” is a major stretch. Both are contributors to the team albeit in different ways. In the future, their careers may project them as follows: St. Croix might be a second line C, while Ewanyk might be a 3rd or 4th line centre. If you can get a player who has skills to be an everyday NHLer in the 3rd round, you still win regardless. A 3rd line C who can play tough matchups (like a malhotra or pahlsson) on a team deep in top-6 players is a VERY important piece of the puzzle.

  32. DSF says:

    FrankenOil:
    Captain Obvious,

    Saying that taking Ewanyk is “indefensible” is a major stretch. Both are contributors to the team albeit in different ways. In the future, their careers may project them as follows: St. Croix might be a second line C, while Ewanyk might be a 3rd or 4th line centre. If you can get a player who has skills to be an everyday NHLer in the 3rd round, you still win regardless. A 3rd line C who can play tough matchups (like a malhotra orpahlsson) on a team deep in top-6 players is a VERY important piece of the puzzle.

    And yet, Malhotra and Pahlsson have been passed around like a joint at an all night party.

    Obviously, the teams that drafted them didn’t feel they were the kinds of players you needed to spend a decade developing.

    While these kinds of players do have all sorts of value, they are available through trade or as free agents on an annual basis.

    Drafting in the later rounds, unless you’re Ken Holland, is generally about throwing enough shit at the wall that occasionally you find a diamond in the rough like Brad Marchand in the third round.

    Good GM’s seem to able to identify these players pretty early on and give them the at bats while the Oilers seem to horde these guys and try and turn way too many sows ears into silk purses.

    If two years after being drafted, a player hasn’t shown that he can step in and take a role on the big club or at least a starring role in the AHL, chances are you don’t have much.

    I know we all like to look at the Red Wings model but you have to realize that Holland annually brings in 2 or 3 free agents like Bertuzzi, Cleary, Stuart and White to plug gaps.

    What has been restraining him has been cap issues but Detroit now has $21M in cap space (depending on Lidstrom) next season.

    Watch Holland go on a spending spree in July. And pay close attention to the types of players he acquires.

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