The Edmonton Oilers qualified seven players today and set free two more. At least one player who was qualified today is unlikely to play another game for the Oilers.
- Sam Gagner: No-brainer, he’s either the 2line C or a prime trade asset for the saviour blue. Gagner could be very expensive next contract so I hope they buy some years with this one.
- Jeff Petry: Perhaps the most important player on the list, Petry’s importance to this team is obvious. One of only two effective puck movers available for top 4 duty, Petry is going to play big minutes over the next few years.
- Devan Dubnyk: Solid young goaltender will get a raise and like Gagner it is probably good business to sign him long term. The Oilers shouldn’t get too fancy with the deal, but today’s contract in Winnipeg tells us goaltenders can be overpaid in a hurry.
- Theo Peckham: I believe this is the right call, a young man trying to learn the difficult position of defense in a town that is pretty damn hard on them.
- Alex Plante: This is proof that he’s made strides in the AHL under Todd Nelson. Plante’s footspeed is still a concern but based on reports this player improved his consistency in all areas. I don’t know that he’s an NHL player but the Oilers run through defensemen quickly each season.
- Chris VandeVelde: He keeps hanging around the pro roster, never able to pass the NHL vets but always able to show well enough when called up due to injury. I think he’s in a pretty good spot depending on how this summer shakes out. If the Oilers decide to keep Lander in the AHL, VandeVelde will be the first recall option (all things being equal).
- Linus Omark: Talented player qualified because they want to retain his rights. I expect they’ll watch him fly to Europe over the summer and Omark may be a topic of discussion a year from now.
Not qualified were Cam Barker and Hunter Tremblay. Barker’s contract number made it impossible to qualify him, and I would guess he’ll join Omark in Europe in an effort to regain an NHL contract in the future. Hunter Tremblay showed well–especially on the PK–and I think there’s a chance the OKC Barons try to sign him to an AHL only deal. He is certainly a capable player at that level.