The Edmonton Oilers have had success so far in this year’s free agent window, with two quality players choosing them and the club deciding to go with what they know in the 3G and enforcer slots.
Before the weekend began I suggested 9 names that Edmonton might look at, and the club signed the #1 and #4 players on the list. The remaining names would be exceptional additions–Ryan Suter, Daniel Winnik–but GM Steve Tambellini has suggested the club will look to the trade market over the next few days.
I hope the club called Ryan Suter to see if there was a level of interest and also hope they are pursuing him if there’s an opportunity. That said, the additions so far have addressed need and represent a reasonable solution to roster problems real or imagined:
- Justin Schultz is a Godsend, a defenseman whose age and development are a perfect match for the Hall cluster. Music!
- Ryan Smyth keeps mailing himself to Edmonton, this time with a very friendly contract. I wouldn’t bet against one more after this one, but we finally seem to have closure on the question of where he’ll end his career.
- Yann Danis is a solid choice for 3G and came at a dear price (he’ll make about triple his AHL salary of one year ago). I’m just so pleased the organization is bringing reasonable thinking to these seemingly minute decisions that can have an enormous impact later on. This signing–and the way they structured the contract–is a clear tell they realize the Khabibulin concern.
- Darcy Hordichuk was the most controversial signing on the day, but for me it is a good fit. I’m not a fan of adding an end of the roster player for the enforcer role, but the club feels a need to have a deterrent on the bench and Hordichuk’s skill (he can take a pass and make one) and his ability to avoid being a penalty sink hole make him a wise move in this specialized area of the game.
Some free agent years leave Oiler fans in a bad place. Thoughts of flying to Hawaii and crying themselves to sleep flash through their minds–and I’ll admit to that feeling yesterday when there were rumors flying around about Hemsky headed to the Jackets at the same moment we were hearing Marc Methot was coming from Columbus.
I have to say that this summer has been satisfying. Yakupov at the draft along with a couple of Lucic bets, a long tall Russian winger with skill and three college kids; Justin Schultz as the bridge between the draft, free agency and a major addition to the central cluster; and the return of Smyth, Danis and Hordichuk who in different ways contribute to the roster’s success.
What will day 2 bring? It could be Hemsky’s final day as an Oiler, or maybe they sign a free agent or two (Suter and Winnik please) or it might mean that long awaited trade that sends away two or three players and brings in a top quality player.
There’s growing confidence in the management team. What will they bring us next?