Saturday, November 17, 2012

If This Continues, the Oilers Dodge a Few Bullets

Couldn't help but look at the contracts that are essentially being wasted with this lock out. Hall and Eberle are on their last years of their ELC. This is the last year they won't have a $6M cap hit. After this season they are paid handsomely.

Another reason to look is to see which players are in their final contract years. Let's be real. The league isn't going to fire up at all this year, so at some point, the Oilers have decisions to make.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

Nikolai Khabibulin - This is the final year in his questionable contact. I can't see the Oilers resigning him even if it's a one year extension. He's past his prime and will never be a good goaltender again. However, not sure Dubnyk can carry the whole load. Oilers will have to sign a replacement goaltender once Khabibulin is gone.

Ryan Whitney - What do you do with a player who has been injured the last few years and still hasn't played a game this year with another league? I don't know either. Sign him for one more year as a "feeler" and see how it plays out? When he's 100% he's the best guy on the backed the Oil have. But will he ever reach that again?

Ladislav Smid - I like Smid. He's just turning into a stud on the blueline and I can't imagine the Oilers let him walk away for nothing. I'd do what it takes to ensure he comes back with a multi year contract.

Ryan Jones - Another North American talent wasting away sitting at home. Jones is a great team player, but can a guy like Hartikainen fill his spot? Most defiantly. If management truly likes him, he will be back for at least one more season.

Darcy Hordichuk - Meh! Fringe player who isn't really part of this team moving forward. Good team guy, but really, that's all he is.

Andy Sutton - From the word on the street, the big man might be headed for retirement. Sad if true. He's a decent 6th man.

Lennart Petrell - I didn't see the big hub bub about him. He's an OK player, but why not give his 4th line minutes to one of the kids whose earning a spot playing with the OKC Barons. I wouldn't bring him back.

Yann Danis - He's a solid goaltender for the OKC Barons and he's worthy of a one year renewal. But, never forget that Tyler Bunz could be ready to play in the AHL next season. With Bunz and Roy, they won't need Danis.

Dane Byers - I don't know a whole lot about Byers. All I really know is he's a good team guy and it's worth signing him for more term with the OKC Barons.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

Sam Gagner - Gagner has been playing over in Austria and is trying to stay in game shape. He's still in the "to be determined" catagory with the Oilers and not having him play in front of Oilers management on a nightly basis makes it harder for the team to decide what to do with him. I'd resign him for two more years if he would go for it. But much like last year, he will probably ask for a one year deal. If the Oilers want long term, the price needs to go up. I like Gagner and I want him to be part of this team moving forward. Do the Oilers?

Teemu Hartikainen - The big man is really finding his game this season. He's been good for most of his games played. No doubt the Oilers try and lock him up for two years minimum. He will be a main part of the future of the Oilers for years to come.

Magnus Paajarvi - He's really meshing well with Lander and Hartikainen so far this season in Oklahoma City. Can that carry over to the NHL? Not sure. But the Oilers will resign the Swede and decide down the road if he's a fit with the team or not. Very possible he's trade bait once the general managers get talking again.

Theo Peckham - What do you say about a player who was just released by an ECHL team? Oy!!! (To be noted: Peckham allegedly asked to be released) What happened to this guy? If the Oilers make any decisions on Peckham, it's probably only a one year extension. Also probably trade bait.

Colten Teubert - He replaces the lost muscle that the Oilers will lose with Peckham. I like Teubert's game. He's a standup guy who takes no shit. Once he's seasoned, he can be a great 5/6 guy for any NHL team. He should get at least a two year extension.

Taylor Fedun - He scored his first professional goal last night and that must be a huge monkey off his back. Oiler fans everywhere are proud of his commitment on getting back into the game after his leg injury last year. Before the injury he was a solid player with big potential. Oilers now hope he can regain that form once again. So far this year he's made strides. No doubt the Oilers resign him for at least a couple of years. He's part of the future.

Mark Arcobello - He's a decent AHL talent and I can see him coming back for another year with the OKC Barons. Not sure if he will ever play in the NHL though.

Chris VandeVelde - While some players have developed, I'm not 100% sure CVV has. It's possible that he could become a 4th line center, but his faceoff % needs to improve for that to happen. I'm not sure if the Oilers want to keep developing him. He's kind of at a stand still. Give him one more year with the Barons then decide?

Alex Plante - Plain and simple, his foot speed is slow. As is, he will never become a regular in the NHL. I'd resign him for the purpose of including him in a trade down the road. I don't see him as part of the future.

Tanner House - Effective AHL'er at times. Not entirely sure what the projected output is of this guy, but it doesn't look that good. Is he worth keeping around for the Barons sake?

Philippe Cornet - He led the Barons in goals last year and was swiftly sent down to the Stockton Thunder at the beginning of this season. It was puzzling. Maybe something happened between him and the coach? Either way, after being sent down he's produced pretty well in the ECHL. He has 18 points as of right now. I'd resign him for sure. Two more years to see if he can evolve some more.

Antti Tyrvainen - From all reports that I've read about him, he's not a player the Oilers should continue developing. I'd move on.

CAP HIT (BUYOUTS)

Sheldon Souray - His $1.5M cap hit is over after this 2012-13 season is officially over.

- WRITTEN BY SMOKIN' RAY-

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