Things to Expect Today from the Oilers

With the holiday, everyone in the NHL seemed to take the weekend off. The only real news of note finishing off Saturday and throughout Sunday's holiday was that Kovalchuk was off the radar of the Los Angeles Kings. Not an entirely exciting weekend for hockey.

Monday should see things pick up a bit. Here's what to expect...

Niedermayer Yes or No?

The Oilers are kicking tires on Rob Niedermayer. We listed Rob in an article we did last week as someone we thought the Oilers might target. Well Edmonton along with we hear as many as five other teams have expressed interest. The good news for Oiler fans, is that it's been said Rob will heavily consider an Oilers offer if one is made.

Monday may be the day Niedermayer makes a decision. If so, and Rob chooses the Oilers, expect Tambellini to start looking to trim instead of add. Edmonton may look at other UFA's down the road when more of the dust settles and some great value is out there in low-end signings or tryouts, but if they land their third line faceoff and penalty killer, a large chunk of what the Oilers sought out to do will be accomplished.

Hall To Sign?

Expect Taylor Hall to have his first NHL contract in his pretty little hands on Monday. The goal is to have Hall enter rookie camp starting Tuesday as an Oiler under contract. Expect something in the neighbourhood of $3.75 million after bonuses, which is very similar to the deal signed by Tavares last season.

Don't expect Hall to have a number yet. He's gone on record saying it looks like #4 is not in the cards and a new number will have to be chosen. This could change depending on Kevin Lowe, but it's not likely fans will be able to crest their jerseys just yet.

Who's Between the Pipes?

People are wondering what will happen with the goalies. Don't expect an answer on Monday. In fact, don't expect one until Wednesday at the earliest when Nikolai Khabibulin has his appearance in court for the DUI charges he's facing in Arizona.

The Oilers likely won't decide anything until they know the fate of their now starter and whether his $3.75 is a cap hit. It likely will be unless Khabibulin gets a load of jail time (and even then I'm not certain of the rules on this), but the chances are he won't serve much and any time can be served around the season.

Souray Speaks?

The Sheldon Souray situation is likely far from over. Unless by some miracle a few more defencemen get plucked from the free agent market and Souray all of a sudden becomes attractive to one of the 29 teams who passed on his waiver rights, Sheldon Souray will be staying quiet until he's moved.

That move may be another NHL team or it may be just off the Oilers roster, where he'll sit collecting some money. Souray now knows for sure the Oilers don't want him around. Any conversations that might change that fact will take time and mending fences won't happen overnight.

What's the Story With Sam Gagner?

The Oilers have a lot of RFA contracts to consider and Sam Gagner is likey high on the priority list. Will a deal get done Monday? Perhaps not, but one should be on the table soon.

The risk of an RFA offer is low, but if anyone might receive one from Edmonton it's Gagner. The Oilers will have to decide if they wait to see what gets offered (if one is), what it will take to match it or the draft picks they might get in return to not match, or they'll try to avoid the process altogether and get a deal done for a number they think is lower than any offer that might be tendered.

If I had to guess, Gagner might be looking at a one year for $2.5 with the expectation that if his numbers improve he'll be in line for a bigger deal, or the Oilers will try to sign Gagner for a minimum of three years.


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