Edmonton Oilers

Revisiting some old favourites in regards to past Edmonton Oilers’ contracts

It’s a very slow and very busy time all at once for the Edmonton Oilers. Social media and rumors are flying, actual trades, and signings are not. I’ve already written an article saying this is the closest we’ve ever been (since the 80s) going into an offseason. We don’t have glaring holes, buyouts, and anchor contracts.We mostly have value. Some of our buyouts (Milan Lucic and Andrej Sekera) and LTIR (Oscar Klefbom, Mike Smith, and Ryan Murray) are off the books.

What we do have as concerns are the Jack Campbell, Darnell Nurse, and Warren Foegele contracts. Not one of those is worse than a Lucic, Fernando Pisani, James Neal, or Andrew Cogliano deal, not even close.

Questionable contracts for current Oilers

Campbell being the worst contract and I suggest a buyout which is affordable and then target a platoon goalie like Dan Vladar or Karel Vejmelka to play with Stuart Skinner—we save money this way and have a better chance at winning. The last two playoffs have proven you don’t need an elite goalie to win a cup but you do need elite defencemen and a balanced forward attack.

Nurse is a very good defenceman but needs a stronger partner. He is overpaid but not by as much as some fans think. If he were UFA he’d get at least $7M in free agency.

Foegele’s contract is not the end of the world. He is a $1.5M player making roughly $3M. Trading him away without taking on cap (we need draft picks!) would go a long way in the upcoming offseason.

No other contract really stands out. I’d also like to point out that, after Nathan MacKinnon and David Pastrnak got paid, that Leon Draisaitl is the best value deal in the NHL. Connor McDavid is on a good deal too! First time in a decade I can write this statement: our cap management isn’t that bad right now!

Note: our prospect pool is in a lot of trouble.

We need a defenceman on the right side to push Cody Ceci down a notch. He won’t need to be traded but he is on a value contract and a good player. Our LD side is awesome. Our top five forwards are great, signed, and are not showing decline. This includes McDavid, Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Evander Kane, and Zach Hyman. It’s why I think that we will never see Travis Konecny joining us this offseason. We don’t’ have the cap and we don’t have that glaring a need for a top six forward. I’d love him on the team in our top six, no doubt, but don’t think it is a good use of what little assets we do have. We only have minimal picks, minimal cap space, and minimal high end prospects.

Past controversial contracts

However, this is not about the next two weeks. This is looking back at some old hits! If you are an online fan and like to argue about the Oilers then there are certain names that elicit riots online:

  • Duncan Keith
  • Ethan Bear
  • Jesse Puljujärvi
  • Zack Kassian

Every one of those players caused a lot of arguments online and rarely was their a consensus middle in the arguments.

Duncan Keith came in and most of us thought he’d come with salary retained and an asset. Joke was on us! We paid full and gave up assets for him including a third-round pick and Caleb Jones. He played one season and retired. I don’t think he was very good and I thought it was an awful trade. However, other fans argued he was why Evan Bouchard was successful and that he was key in getting us to the playoffs. Thankfully retired!

How it is going for Bear

Ethan Bear came in with Jones and did a great job for us. He was inexpensive and a good player. While he had a few very iffy playoff games, he was tossed under the bus. His detractors say it was slow foot speed, not enough size and that he was lazy. His fans felt he’d be a top four complimentary piece. I’d love to see Bear on our RD side with Bouch and Ceci right now. Nonetheless, he was traded.

Since the trade, it hasn’t gone great for Bear.

In two seasons he has 30 points between two teams, multiple healthy scratches, been traded again, his dog died, COVID-19 related problems, concussions, and is now a UFA with a six-month shoulder injury.

It is not going well for Bear. His detractors will look at everything above and say “see, told you he sucks!” His fans will say that COVID-19, concussions, and shoulder surgery are at the root of all this. I imagine he’ll be back in the NHL on one final chance. A small contract next year (after recovering) and then he may be headed to Europe.

Puljujarvi’s current status

Jesse Puljujärvi is an absolute lightning rod in Oiler circles.I did cartwheels when we drafted JP but it’s not going well. I hate to say it but I didn’t notice our team got worse when he was traded. If anything, our team got better. Every single Oiler coach he had benched him.

He was routinely healthy scratched by the Carolina Hurricanes, which was an amazing landing spot for him. He’s now a RFA on a $3M contract. He’s 25 years old and had two assists in 17 games. One more assist in seven playoff games which Carolina had a lot of key injuries and still barely played him. I see three options for Puljujaravi this offseason:

  • Spengler Cup and enjoy dominating Europe for the rest of your career
  • a PTO
  • a one- year $1M contract somewhere in the NHL

The situation Kassian is now faced with

Zack Kassian! This was a good trade for Ben Scrivens. Former first rounder who had a unique blend of speed, skills, and toughness making $1.5 million for one more season! He came in and got put on McDavid’s line and people started thinking he’d be a 50-point guy with 20 goals. His minutes went down, he demanded a trade, and was promptly promoted to first line and given a beautiful contract! After he signed that contract (never having achieved the 50 points or 20 goals), his game completely disappeared. This was and always will be an awful signing. Here are Kassian’s totals since the day he signed his contract on January 29, 2020:

Kassian was brought in as a top six solution. He was also protected by General Manager Ken Holland in the expansion draft. He cost us two high draft picks to unload. Since that day he signed his contract, he was the 577th most productive player in the NHL. Kassian got two points this season with the Arizona Coyotes and they recently bought him out.

His fans argue that his grit and intangibles can’t be measured, that he is a rare breed and that he is a playoff warrior. However, he played 45 games in the NHL playoffs and got nine playoff points. I assume Kassian is done and has already begun his retirement.

Nice little stroll down memory lane for three guys that half the fan base loved and the other half loathed. In the end we have a buyout, early retirement and two players going into UFA with next to zero leverage. It’s possible not one of the four is in the NHL in October to start the season on opening night.

Next year we can add Foegele to this article and see how he is fairing. Enjoy the next few weeks, hope for a RD, a goalie solution (other than hoping Campbell will be better), and very good health/offseasons to Philip Broberg, Xavier Bourgault, Raphael Lavoie, and Dylan Holloway!

Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire

Leave a Reply

Back to top button
%d bloggers like this: