Dubnyk and Petry Sign for Two

The Edmonton Oilers have agreed to terms with goal tender Devan Dubnyk. Terms just released that Dubnyk is getting $7 million over the two seasons.

Also hearing Oilers have come to terms with defenseman Jeff Petry on a similar two-year deal worth $1.75 million per season.

Both players good prospects with a solid season in 2011/2012, the Oilers seem to feel that short-term contracts with a little flexibility is the better way to go. Jeff Petry will look like a steal if he continues along the trend he started last season and Dubnyk is now being paid as a starting goalie, so he'll be looking at 50-55 games this season.

His numbers last season were strong with a .914 save percentage and 2.67 GAA on a very bad Oilers team with inexperienced and injured defense. It may not look it now, but Dubnyk could prove to be worth every penny of the $3.5 if he doesn't suffer setbacks in his numbers and the better blue line in front of him allows him to do his thing.

More to come...


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The Big Named Teams Are Eating It

Ryan Suter and Zach Parise -- $98 million each over 13 years. The kicker? These contracts were handed out and accepted with the Minnesota Wild.

In our last blog, we mentioned that the Flyers were that team with the largest tabled offer, but cited Minnesota as a team to watch for. This was before the signings happened. I kind of saw the writing on the wall, but I'll admit, I didn't see this coming.

Taking a page out of the Miami Heat book, I'm shocked that Suter and Parise not only stuck together, but did so by heading to a team that has made the playoffs about as many times as the Oilers in the last nine seasons. Perhaps the tide is changing.

Jaromir Jagr and Ryan Whitney were overpaid and went to Dallas. Matt Carle was overpaid and went to Tampa. Garrison got six years after one really good offensive burst in Vancouver (the money isn't that bad, but the terms is a bit out there).

And the Oilers landed prized prospect Justin Schultz.

Where is all the traditional noise made by the Rangers, Red Wings, Flyers and Blackhawks of the world?

Oiler fans think Edmonton has been quiet, these teams are ghost-towns in comparison being eclipsed only by Nashville who probably feels like a pile of dog poop right about now.

Edmonton is smart to wait what's coming out, because what's coming won't be pretty.

Free agents like Jason Arnott, Ruslan Fedotenko, Alex Semin, Shane Doan, Dominic Moore, Carlo Colaiacovo, Daniel Winnik and others are going to get huge paydays because the big teams missed out on the big guys. The Oilers shouldn't be fool enough to get into such a mess.

If there are scrap pieces down the road that are left for the taking, the Oilers might make an addition or two, but trade is their best option at this point. You don't want to get in a bidding war with teams who traditionally spend a ton of money and haven't yet. They're itching to spend what they have.

There are also teams who aren't at this new $54 million cap floor. The Oilers are right in the middle.

Let the teams overspend and lay in the beds they make five years from now.


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When the Smoke Clears

This was a busy week for the Oilers. First there was the Justin Schultz saga that had every hockey fan -- at least in eight hockey markets -- all over twitter. Quickly following the franchise moment for the Oilers, there was the nice contract finally agreed to by Ryan Smyth to remain in the blue and orange. Just those moves alone made the Oilers along with #1 overall pick Nail Yakupov a much improved team.

Most agree however the Oilers aren't done, nor should they be if the playoffs are a serious consideration this season. Since Smyth and Hordichuk (who also re-upped), the Oilers haven't made a sound. Some fans are getting a bit stir crazy. July 1st will do that do a hockey fan.

I do however believe the Oilers have a plan. I also believe it's a strong plan and smart not to get involved in what looks to be $90 millon pay days for players who are fantastic, but will never be worth $90 millon. Instead, Edmonton plans to wait for the Suter, Parise, Nash, Ryan and Carle smoke to clear and then they'll pounce.

Instead of jumping in and trying to hit two homeruns (Schultz being one), Edmonton will wait for teams to lose their mind, overspend and Edmonton plans to walk-up to the plate and hit a game-winning double in the ninth inning.

The Oilers management team knows they have at least two areas of need:

1) A top four defensman
2) Some skilled grit in their top nine (preferred top six) forward positions

a distant 3) a back-up plan in goal

Number three doesn't concern me as much. Dubnyk looks to be the real deal and Khabibulin, while losing (or perhaps completely lost) his starting goalie skill, can still be useful in a more limited role. 25-30 games for Khabibulin I believe will ensure he's healthy, not over-worked and one of the stronger number two netminders in the NHL.

However, when it comes to the first two points, the Oilers are well aware of their needs and I believe have the names on a short-list of who they'd like. Their plan? To wait for the big UFA fish to land and the after-effects of said UFA's final destinations to create a need to offload contracts on their new respective teams. The Oilers intend to take advantage and be waiting in the wings.

The following are the names I believe Edmonton is watching for (I chose these teams because they are rumored to be the most commonly mentioned teams for the big ticket players on the market):

1. Jay Bouwmeester

Ok, nobody thinks Calgary has a shot at the big-two, but it hasn't stopped them from spending money. Enter the dilemma of Jay Bouwmeester.

Bouwmeester isn't being shopped we don't believe. We also don't believe him to be at the top of Edmonton's list, but Calgary is in a tricky position. If Sven Baertschi makes the team (and it looks like he will), Calgary is likely still a forward short of icing a full team and they are currently only $3 million from the cap.

Could Calgary ice a team that close to the cap? Yes, they could, but moving Bouwmeester's $6.8 cap hit would help a lot. The Oilers wouldn't normally want to take a hit that large, but the beauty in Bouwmeester, is that his cap hit comes off the books in two-years. Plenty of time for the Oilers to move forward with their youngsters and without cap troubles.

Bouwmeester was grossly overpaid, since coming on board with the Flames, but with the new cap ceiling and the contracts being dished out to heavy minute playing defensemen, Bouwmeester is technically only now slightly overpaid. The Oilers also believe he can improve his offensive totals if put in the right position.

Feaster has gone on record saying he wants more grit in his lineup. Players tough to play against. Bouwmeester out, Peckham/Sutton, Jones, and a draft pick in? Hard to say what Calgary would ask, but the cap hit might play a factor here.

2. Marc - Edouard Vlasic

I don't see why the Sharks would want to move Vlasic, but they are a team rumored to be in on Rick Nash. Pavelski is the name we hear going the other way and while the Sharks will have to add other pieces and draft picks based on Scott Howson's demands, Nash's cap hit puts San Jose close to the ceiling if they land him in trade.

The Sharks won't move Boyle, Burns or Stuart (partly due because they wouldn't want to and because of the NTC clauses) so Vlasic is the odd-man out with a cap number that makes space.

Vlasic is a 23 minute a night defenseman. He was a plus +11 is 6'1 200 lbs and can add a bit on offense.

3. Nicklas Hjalmarsson

Chicago is rumored to be pushing hard for Ryan Suter. If they land him, Hjalmarsson is easily being moved and likely for pennies on the dollar. This is a prime candidate for the Oilers.

6'3 and 207 lbs, Hjalmarsson didn't really live up to expectations in Chicago, but he wasn't bad either. Plays 20 plus minutes a night, adds not much offense but is reliable in his own zone. Would really help the Oilers in the goals allowed department.

4. Scott Hartnell

This only happens if both Suter and Parise wind up in Flyer-land and we've heard that when it comes to the money offers both Suter and Parise are considering, the Flyers have offered the highest paydays. Should either player (or especially both) land there, Philadelphia is over the cap.

Hartnell had a great year and his previous season puts Philadelphia in a sell high position. Chances are he won't repeat the year he just had and Holmgren isn't afraid to trade big name players. Should Parise and Suter land with the Flyers, it's likely fans wouldn't even notice Hartnell's exit. Assuming he's willing to trade his NTC.

Whether Hartnell scores 37 goals again ever or not, he's still a consistent 20 plus goal man, he plays big and he'd be exactly what the Oilers would want to improve their top six toughness.

Hartnell only has one year left on his $4.2 million hit and should he repeat his performance and be due a huge raise, Edmonton could feel ok letting him go or trading him at the deadline if they aren't in the playoff picture.

The Flyers also will be owing big raises to RFA Wayne Simmonds at the end of the 2013 season and Matt Read at the end of 2014. If the CBA changes and the Flyers have tied up money in Suter and Parise, the Flyers won't be able to keep them both and may see the writing on the wall.

5. Jakub Voracek

Much like Hartnell, moving Voracek only happens if Parise and Suter land, but Voracek is currently an RFA and due a raise. Might be easier to trade him than negotiate a deal with him if all the money is tied up.

He's big, he's got hands and he's just hitting the best years of his career. He's fit well into Edmonton's top six or nine depending on how the lines are rolling and players are producing or struggling.

The bottom line here is that even if the Oilers sign Gagner to a $3.5 million dollar deal, Dubnyk to a $2.5 million hit and Petry to a $3 million multi-year hit, Edmonton still has money to spend. Their plan is to improve by trade and include a few contracts and prospects in said trades.


The Oilers aren't done. We've heard that an offer has been tabled to Matt Carle (one he's not likely to accept because he'll get more money elsewhere), but Edmonton is aware of the market.

Teams like Pittsburgh, Minnesota and the Rangers are names to watch as the UFA saga unfolds. There are likely assets to become available that aren't currently. Or, as Steve Tambellini explained in his after day-one presser, "GM's were kicking tires at the draft to see if other teams  would be available in player "x" is they became available".

Give it a couple days Oiler fans. Don't be in a big rush to make a move. You likely won't like what leaves if the Oilers rush things.


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Krueger Impresses, Schultz Signs, Tambellini Prepares...

We said it in our Same Old, Same Old post -- that Krueger should hopefully do most of the talking in the presentation made to d-man prospect Justin Schultz. Well, we found out Saturday that Justin Schultz chose the Oilers over 26 other teams and new head coach Ralph Krueger was a major factor.

The twitter world was buzzing all day waiting for the verdict and when the news finally broke, one tweet that caught my attention was from a reliable source...

James Duthie of TSN: Those who were in the room say Oilers new coach Ralph Krueger was incredibly impressive in his presentation to Justin Schultz.

This is why the Oilers chose Krueger. He has the ability to send a message that gets received loud and clear and makes you want to go to bat for him.

When asked, Justin Schultz commented "it was awesome when I met him and I'm really excited to hopefully get the opportunity to play for him".

Schultz was obviously wow'd by the Gretzky and Coffey phone calls and Edmonton was smart to use that tool if it was at their disposal, but if I'm the Edmonton Oilers or even more, if I'm Ralph Krueger, I'm thinking, 'not a bad first couple of days for the new bench boss in Edmonton'.

Just two days on the job and you get the first overall pick in Nail Yakupov who should get you 20-30 goals in his sleep and quickly after land one of the most touted UFA's in this years crop and an offensive blue-liner in Justin Schultz. Schultz, whether he wanted to or not, became the Brad Richards of last year, where everyone wanted him and only one team would win.

Fans from at least six other teams waited. They found themselves glued like Oiler fans were to the twitterverse until one at a time each team was eliminated. The masses quickly turned from optimists to haters when the news came via the Oilers twitter feed that they'd signed Schultz. As an Oiler fan, if you didn't know who Justin Schultz was, such reaction is the real tell that people think this kid will be something special. When everyone else hates on you because you got what they wanted, you know you've got something good.

But, with Yakupov waiting to start at right wing and Schultz working toward a top-four defensive role, what's left -- perhaps literally?

Well left winger Ryan Smyth still lingers. It looks as though Smyth has turned down Edmonton's final offer and will test free agency. My guess is that someone will give Smyth close to what he wants and that team won't be the Oilers. It means that while Edmonton potentially has enough offensive fire-power on LW in Magnus Paajarvi to fill the hole, a two-way LW is on the Oilers radar if for nothing other than penalty kill minutes. Paajarvi needs to find his groove offensively. To ask him to tackle the tough minutes that Ryan Smyth did, wil hamper Paajarvi significantly.

Edmonton also needs to add one more top-pair defenseman according to many and I would tend to agree. Their core seems to be coming along with the signing of Schultz, but they are at least one veteran top minutes guy away from having a good back-end that can handle tough minutes and injuries, if and when they arrive.

The Oilers could look to accomplish this task through trade instead of free agency. With names like Bouwmeester, Methot, and Yandle potentially on the block, they might find the value in terms of dollars spent for contracts that are running down instead of just beginning, this would make more sense.

Edmonton should have an interesting day tomorrow. I'm especially interested to see if free agents start to see Edmonton as a destination of interest instead of a plague you'd absolutely want to avoid.


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