One of the busiest times for an NHL General Manager is immediately following the conclusion of the season. Jammed into a couple of weeks is the buyout period, the entry draft, the deadline to qualify your team's RFAs, and the start of unrestricted free agency. If a GM is on top of his game he can reshape his franchise is just under a month. If he's not he can miss the RFA deadline and steer his club in an all new direction.
This morning Scott provided a look at each of the twelve Oilers that the team needed to send a qualifying offer today. Any of those players who were not sent an offer will become free agents on July 1. Although the deadline passed at 3pm today and we live in a world with Twitter, a full list of who the players that Oilers have and have not qualified is not yet available. What we do know is that JF Jacques was one of those unlucky players who did not receive a qualifying offer, and just like that the wave of goodwill from the Ryan Smyth trade became a tsunami of goodwill.
After the jump I'll take a look at the players that the Oilers have decided to part ways with and what it means to the Oilers, and in some case the Oklahoma City Barons. This post will be updated as more information becomes available.
J.F. Jacques - If you were ever in need of an example of addition by subtraction this would be it. Jacques has been with the Oilers organization for eight season and it was time that the two parties go their separate ways. I had the
misfortune opportunity to write about Jacques in our season recap series and the numbers speak for themselves. To put it simply Jacques isn't a very good hockey player. He hung around Edmonton as long as he did because you just can't teach size. In the end though management was finally forced to accept that size doesn't make up for a lack of ability. Because of his size I wouldn't be shocked if another team offered him a two-way contract but at 26 he doesn't have many chances left to crack the NHL on a full time basis.
Zack Stortini - Stortini was sent to Oklahoma City in February and right then and there we all knew his time in Edmonton was coming to an end. I like Stortini and would have been happy to see him stay with the team in a fourth line role but this is the best move for Stortini as it gives him a chance to find another team that values his services a little higher than the Oilers do. Stortini isn't a fighter, he will fight but it isn't something he excels at, and that is likely why he's no longer an Oiler. The Oilers want more toughness on their fourth line and Stortini doesn't scare anyone, that he is a significantly better hockey player than Jacques or Steve MacIntyre is beside the point I guess. Stortini will get another chance to play in NHL, he may have to spend a little more time in the AHL before he gets back but with 256 games to his credit someone is going to take a chance on him. I hope that someone isn't in the Northwest division.