I have the Oilers with about $3.5 million in cap room, meaning the team might be able to grab one more free agent in the $2 million range. By the time you get into mid-July, players are willing to sign for less. Can Edmonton find value with the last free-agent?
The Athletic Edmonton features a fabulous cluster of stories (some linked below, some on the site). Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. Proud to be part of the group, here’s an incredible Offer!
- New Lowetide: Adding a scorer will be Ken Holland’s first big move as Oilers GM
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: What the Oilers’ depth chart looks like now and where they go from here
- New Jonathan Willis: How often do goalies like the Oilers’ Mike Smith rebound?
- New Lowetide: Ken Holland’s roster moves clear the way for Oilers top prospects Tyler Benson and Kailer Yamamoto.
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: A deeper look at Mike Smith’s comments after signing with the Oilers
- New Jonathan Willis: Oilers GM Ken Holland promises long-term rewards for an approach light on short-term improvements
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Trade market now most likely place for Oilers to find scoring winger
- New Lowetide: Oilers add free agent Markus Granlund, creating a crowded depth chart at left wing
- New Jonathan Willis: Tomas Jurco is a nice little reclamation bet by the Oilers.
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How re-signing winger Alex Chiasson impacts the Oilers
- New Lowetide: Oilers add Mike Smith to an uneasy goalie depth chart for 2019-20
- Lowetide: Oilers buy out Andrej Sekera, look to a more dynamic free-agent frenzy.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘He comes as advertised’: Philip Broberg’s skating makes him development camp standout for Oilers
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers plan to skew younger on defence could open the door for Evan Bouchard, Dmitri Samorukov
- Lowetide: Taking stock of Oilers prospects ready to graduate with a clear shot at an NHL job in 2019-20
- Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.
- Lowetide: Are these Jesse Puljujarvi’s final days with the Edmonton Oilers?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ranking the Oilers’ trade assets from the high-priced diamonds to those needing fresh starts
- Lowetide: Oilers GM Ken Holland is shopping for 20-goal scorers on a budget. What will he find?
Alex Chiasson signed with Edmonton on October 2, 2018 for $650,000. He scored 22 goals and turned that season into a two-year deal with an AAV of $2.15 million annually. The Oilers have done this twice recently (Kris Russell) and perhaps it gives them a slight edge with the current free agents. Here’s my list of worthy targets.
1 LW Ryan Dzingel. Cane has him $4.2 times four, I think he’s going to be too expensive for Edmonton. Dzingel has exactly what Edmonton needs (first-shot scorer) and I think they’d be willing to live with the play away from the puck. He’s my target. Posted 2.09 five-on-five per 60 for two teams.
2 LW Michael Ferland. Matt Cane pegged him as a $4 million time four years player, so I assumed he wouldn’t be available to the Oilers. Now? Would $3 million times three get it done? He’s probably going to get more but it’s worth pondering. He delivered 1.80 five-on-five per 60 in 2018-19.
3 LW Marcus Johansson. Cane has him $4.6 million times four, I fade him for Edmonton because of injury worries (Ferland too). Strong playoff run has his value soaring but his regular season was shy of Dzingel and Ferland. He scored 1.32 per 60 five-on-five for two teams last year.
4 LW Patrick Maroon. Cane has him $3.5 million times three, but he scored only 28 points one year ago. He does have chem with McDavid and that might allow Draisaitl to center his own line or team up with Nuge. Posted only 1.08 per 60 at five-on-five last season and is not fast.
5 LW Tomas Vanek. He’s old as the hills and twice as slow, but scored 1.87 per 60 five-on-five last season. I think it’s possible he signs. Cane has him $1.99 million times one.
6 LC Oscar Lindberg. He can play center and scored nine goals a year ago, plus he’s 27 so should have plenty of track left. He scored 1.77 points per 60 at five-on-five and has the look of a productive player. Cane’s projection is $3.4 million times four.
7 LC Brian Boyle. Cane has him $1.2 times one and I think he has a chance to be an Oiler come September. The big issue will be the number of teams who are after him. His five-on-five per 60 was 1.02.
8 LC Derick Brassard. Cane has him $3.955 million times three but he scares the hell out of me. Brassard’s last two seasons (four teams, eroding production) have all the look of a free fall. I don’t like the bet. He posted 0.94 per 60 at five-on-five in 2018-19.
9 L Magnus Paajarvi. Cane estimates his contract at $1.9 million times three but one would guess it’s a one year deal and maybe less than $1 million. He scored 1.00 five-by-five per 60, he can skate and check and PK.
10 LC Riley Sheahan. Cane’s number ($1.3 million times two) is manageable and maybe he’ll sign for less. Five-on-five per 60 (1.05) is shy, but he wins 52 percent of his faceoffs and penalty kills.
11 RW Josh Archibald. Several posters have mentioned him, he’s an interesting depth option. He posted 1.3 per 60 at five-on-five, Cane has him $741,000 times one.
12 LW Kerby Rychel. In his NHL career, Rychel has 14 five-on-five points in 413 minutes (2.03 per 60). He also does other things. Cane’s estimate is $737,000 times one.
CURRENT 50-MAN (49)
The Oilers have two slides, so are at 47 at this time. As I mentioned in my article for The Athletic yesterday, a shoe will have to drop if Ken Holland is serious about making the playoffs (or pushing for the postseason) as he’s stated. Who is vulnerable? I’ll suggest a defenseman and leave it at that.
Young forwards who are in very good position to impact the NHL roster currently include Benson, Marody and Yamamoto, really anyone with skill. Nygard isn’t well known to us, but I’m doing the RE’s now and he is one of the more promising goal scorers beyond 97, 29, 93 and 39.
Which brings me to Sam Gagner. I run him as 4R in my lineups because it’s a great spot for him. If Zack Kassian or Alex Chiasson struggle, he can move up, and if Samwise is up against the soft parade you have to like him. Here’s the thing. My first run of RE for Gagner has him at 15 goals next season, partly because he’s going to get some power-play time. My measure (which is the Bill James measure plus some power-play tweaking and adjusting for age) probably gets him to 20 goals if I place him on a more substantial line.
So, our question for the day is this: Does Sam Gagner’s offensive ability trump his defensive liabilities? I think the answer is no, but Dave Tippett played him at center for a high percentage of the time and he had success. The time on ice for centers against elites that season was Antoine Vermette (36.7); Martin Hanzal (36.5); Kyle Chipchura (33.6) and Gagner (28.9) and Sam was slightly in the black in DFF%RC. Source: Puck IQ.
I don’t think Gagner is going to play center. I do wonder where Tippett will slot him though. Thoughts?