Brooks Laich is my leading candidate. Here's why.
His stats only tell us half of the story but it's a good place to start. Last season he played in all 82 games with the Washington Capitals. In those 82 games he posted 16 goals, 32 assists for 48 points. Brooks Laich would have led the Oilers in points last year if he was here. Says a lot for a guy. He finished the year +14 and had 46 penalty minutes.
His best season points wise, was in 2009/10, when he played 78 games, scored 25 goals and had 35 assists for 59 points.
WHAT DON'T THE STATS SAY?
He's a leader. He not only wears an A on a team that is stocked full of talent, he's one of those guys who takes charge in the dressing room. He's not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve. He would be a huge asset for the Oilers and he would set a great example for the young rookies.
WHY WOULD HE WANT TO COME TO EDMONTON?
Why wouldn't you? Look at the raw young talent (Hall, Eberle, RNH, Paajarvi, Hemsky, Omark, Teubert, Petry, etc...) that is getting ready to take the NHL by storm. Added in vets like Ryan Whitney and Ryan Smyth and you have a pretty good support group to move forward with. Laich can be apart of this.
This looks like a good place to cement your name in history. The Stanley Cup will be won by the Oilers in the future, why not get on board now?
Compelling, isn't it?
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
Oh boy. Here's the tough part. To some people, Brooks Laich is the 2nd best UFA out there after Brad Richards. So this could get ugly. Off the top of my head, I would bet he gets at least a 5 year deal, maybe even more like a 7 year deal if teams are desperate. If he can cash in on a long term deal, I'm guessing he will take it.
Last season he made $2.4 million. If it's true and he is coveted by more than just the Oilers, I could easily see him getting $5 million plus, even though I think he's worth more like $3.5 to 4 million. He will be overpaid.
Can the Oilers really go all in like that and pay a guy like Brooks Laich, $5 million a year for 5 years or more? I'd like to think so, but I really doubt they commit to that much right now. This may just be a pipe dream.
-WRITTEN BY SMOKIN' RAY-