* UPDATE: The Offiical Oilers site reports that Smid has re-signed for 2 years, Stone and Brule for 1-year on a 2-way contract (amounts not disclosed yet).
** UPDATE 2: It was mentioned in a post on Oilers Nation that Brule will receive $800K. Still no word on Smid’s amount just yet. But I’m guessing ~$1.5M.
The Oilers PK was a travesty last year at 27th in the league, despite being 5th in the league the year before. The loss of Marty Reasoner and Jarret Stoll being the most obvious reason for this drop. Many in the Oilogosphere have been suggesting that the Oilers should sign free agent forward Blair Betts or Manny Malhotra.
However, Dan Tencer broke our hearts on Twitter earlier this off-season when he mentioned that the Oilers were not interested in Betts. The reason for this presumably being that they would like to use the same system that failed them last year and expect better results. Or, to spin it more positively, they’re hoping that some of their current PKers can step it up. Perhaps a healthy Fernando Pisani (if this happens) will give the PK a boost as well. * – The Matheson article suggests that with the impending Ladislav Smid and Gilbert Brule re-signings (which he rumors to be $2.5M between the two of them), the Oilers will not have room for a guy like Malhotra or Betts. My response? Horse shit.
When we look at this line up, there are some names that stand out as players that are decent at what they do, but not great; players that are very replaceable by someone else, even within our system. Steve Staios, Robert Nilsson and Marc Pouliot are the three names that quickly come to mind. Because Steve Staios’ $2.7M contract would prove difficult to move and Pouliot’s $0.825M/year pales in comparison to Nilsson’s $2M/year, I’m of the belief that Nilsson is the odd man out this year.
I did a bit of research on Cap Geek with what I think would work, and well, cap geek confirmed that sans-Nilsson, we can afford Betts or even Malhotra. From what I’ve been reading around (other teams’ blogs/pages), I’d guess that Betts could be had at no more than $1.5M/year (some have figured even under $1M, but I’m not sure on that) and Malhotra at $2M/year at most. If anyone has any concrete asking price though, please provide details in the comments section below.
Anyways, here is my proposed new line up (based mostly on Steve-O’s suggested lines):
O’Sullivan ($2.925m) / Horcoff ($5.500m) / Hemsky ($4.100m)
Cogliano ($1.133m) / Gagner ($1.625m) / Penner ($4.250m)
Moreau ($2.000m) / Malhotra ($2.000m) / Pisani ($2.500m)
Jacques ($0.525m) / Brule ($1.250m) / Stortini ($0.700m)
Souray ($5.400m) / Gilbert ($4.000m)
Visnovsky ($5.600m) / Grebeshkov ($3.150m)
Staios ($2.700m) / Smid ($1.250m)
Khabibulin ($3.750m) / Deslauriers ($0.625m)
ROSTER: 23; PAYROLL: $57.046m; CAP ROOM: $0.754m BONUSES: $1.000m
So, what to do? Well, I’d say try and trade Nilsson away for picks. Ultimately, the best decision would be to send both Nilsson and Staios somewhere, however that’s obviously a very unlikely scenario. But if Nilsson can not be moved for picks, I would suggest demoting him to the AHL. Whether he clears waivers or not, we’re still better off. I know many won’t be comfortable with losing a player for nothing, but I think it would do more for this team to pick up a guy who excels at his role rather than hang on to someone who is average in their role.
IN OTHER NEWS: TSN reports that Nikolai Zherdev is expected to sign with Salavatovo Yuleav Ufa of the KHL, so we can forget about him on this team. Justin Pogge has been traded to the Ducks for a conditional pick (6th rounder or a 3rd rounder, I believe, depending on whether Pogge plays 30 games next year). Mike Grier returns the the Buffalo Sabres, having signed a 1-year deal with his former club. Cap Geek reports the deal at $1.2M.