Well, that sure was a helluva season, wasn’t it?
While the disappointing Game 7 loss is sure to sting for awhile, we can’t discredit just how far this team has come just one season after finishing 29th.
So now the focus shifts on what the team could possibly do this offseason, and the fan discussion is already mulling over every option that exists. One of the most prominent of them is the notion of the team acquiring, Sochi Shootout Hero, TJ Oshie.
Oshie has played the last two seasons with the President-Trophy winning Washington Capitals, and he has put up career highs in both goals and points in that span. Before being moved to the Washington Capitals, the most goals Oshie had ever put up was 21, compared to 26 in his first year in Washington and 33 in this past season. He is a pending UFA this summer, and will be turning 31 in December.
Let’s take a look at both the positives and negatives of making such a move:
The Oilers lack a lot of proven goalscorers on the Right-Winger. Perhaps the only player you could currently make a case for is Jordan Eberle. Ebs has been with Edmonton for 7 seasons now, and it seems as though he falling out of favour with the organization. During the season, he had faced long periods of slumps but still managed to put up a respectable 20 goal season. This number, however, was completely forgotten after a lackluster playoff showing.
In 13 playoff games, Eberle managed to put up 0 goals and 2 assists, way below average for a top 6 player. So, the forgone conclusion has Peter Chiarelli parting ways with the 26-year-old and his 6-million-dollar cap-hit.
This would confuse things profoundly on the team’s right-wing depth chart. Jesse Puljujarvi is expected to make the jump to the NHL for good next season, but he has only ever seen 28 NHL games. Outside of the young Finn, the list includes an injury prone Tyler Pitlick, a wildcard in Anton Slepyshev, and bottom 6 players Zack Kassian and Ilro Pakarinen. None have shown any signs of being legitimate top 6 scoring threats in the NHL.
This is where TJ Oshie has the most appeal for the Edmonton Oilers. As mentioned in the intro of this article, Oshie has been improving his point totals year-over-year in the NHL, and he could provide to be a very dangerous scoring threat alongside one of either McDavid or Draisaitl. Oshie provides creativity, speed, and a deadly shot. After watching some rather dated highlights (2016-17 season), it seems that he could fit alongside both of the Oiler’s star centers, as he has a knack for finding the open spaces and cashing in on well-placed passes.
Also worthy of mention is his playoff production of late with the Capitals in the past two seasons. Unlike Jordan Eberle, Oshie has a pretty good track record in the playoffs, tallying 22pts in his last 25 playoff games played.
Overall, there are plenty of things that Edmonton should like about Oshie when it comes to what he can bring on the ice.
While the on-ice play of TJ Oshie should be nothing but positive for the Oilers, it is what happens off the ice that should concern them.
The team is due for a big summer when it comes to contract extensions. Leon Draisaitl is a RFA and he is expected to get a massive deal in the 7mil x 8yr range, and Connor McDavid is expected to sign a deal that nears 100-million in its entirety. The cap crunch is gonna be real in the next few years and it is up to Chiarelli as to how he will manage it. Oshie could prove to be difficult to work in.
Oshie’s current contract, which is set to expire on July 1st, has him making 4.175 annually but, that is due for a massive raise. Considering his improving numbers, and the fact that he is on the free market for anyone to have, we could definitely see a team pitching him a deal in the 7-million dollar range. That might be a little rich for Edmonton’s blood.
if we assume that the NHL salary cap is increasing to 76-million, we can make some assumptions as to how much money the team will have to spend on upgrades.
So, let’s make the assumption that the following things happen:
- The team manages to dump Pouliot’s salary on Las Vegas without having to retain.
- One of the 6-million dollar men are traded without retention of salary
- Kris Russell, David Desharnais, Matt Hendricks, and Eric Gryba are all let go.
- The Oilers sign Leon Draisaitl to an 8-year deal with an AAV of 7mil
- The Oilers sign Connor McDavid to an 8-year deal worth 12.125mil.
This would leave the Oilers with roughly around 10-million dollars to play with. Not an awful lot.
If I were Edmonton, I would offer him a 2-3 year deal around 6-million dollars annually and try to sell him on the notion of playing with Connor McDavid.
However, if Oshie is looking for lots of term and money, he won’t be coming to Edmonton.
Having TJ Oshie on the team would be awesome, the guy would fit with the group and the Oilers would be better off a guy like him rather than Jordan Eberle. However, as much as it pains me to say it, Peter Chiarelli cannot put Edmonton in a difficult position when the time comes to re-sign existing players on the team.
It is possible that we see Oshie suit up in the Orange and Blue come this October, but unless some major moves are made to accommodate another big contract, I don’t see it happening.
Thanks For Reading!
You can find me on Twitter @PrestonKixFM
Who are you targeting in Free Agency this year? Let me know in the comments.