FanPost

Value contracts for the Oilers to pursue at the deadline or season's end

USA TODAY Sports

Oilers management has been tiresomely building a new young core, one that fans are beginning to get ornery over seeing deliver results.

  • Mark Letestu - CLB Acquired by the Penguins for a late-round pick last year, the Jackets are getting good mileage out of Letestu who has put up 7-9-16 and is +2 in 28 games for the Jackets, all at a bargain basement $600K / annum. I'm not sure about his possession numbers, but on the surface he looks like an upcoming UFA that would be an upgrade from Ryan Jones, and could potentially be had for $1.5M or less.
  • Benoit Pouliot - TBL Pouliot is a former high draft pick who has bounced around with a few teams, and at 6-8-14 over 21 games brings some offense. Over the previous two seasons Pouliot has put up 30 and 32 points, including 16 goals with Boston last year. Did I mention that he's never been a minus player over his NHL career, despite playing with Minny, Montreal, Boston, and now the Lightning? Pouliot could probably be fit in on a team's 3rd or even 4th line budget, and at 6'3" is probably good to cover the bet as a well-traveled 26-year old player adapted to playing a role
  • Mike Weaver - FLA Florida is unquestionnably in a selling mode, and 34-year old Mike Weaver and his $1.1M salary for next season appear to be a good buy. Weaver has played an eyelash under 20 mins a night for the Panthers, and is only -2 on what is undoubtedly the worst team coming out of the lockout. This is a much better player than Ryan Whitney and costs $3M less. What's not to like?
  • Ian White - DET Ian White has been a healthy scratch of late for the Wings which is bizarre because he has logged over 20 mins a night in 17 games of work this season. A UFA at season's end, he's the kind of player along with Weaver that a smart general manager would pay to play as a 5th defensemen for under $3M. And he's under 30. This guy is one hell of an upgrade over Corey Potter, let me tell you.
  • A big gritty forward! Although I'm not a huge advocate of re-employing JF Jacques, big bodies who can skate and score should be an attractive asset for any hockey team. Buffalo's Steve Ott isn't enormous but he plays with sandpaper and puts up offense. The Capitals' Troy Brouwer is signed for 3 more seasons following this one at a cap hit under $4M. He's 6'3" and has consistently brought a bit of offense. The Caps' Joel Ward is a similar player in a lot of respects as well. Given that Ryan Clowe will probably be overpaid this summer, obtaining one of these players for the first rounder we traded Hemsky for is a more economical way to satisfy this organizational need.
  • A stud defenseman Back to Buffalo's fire sale - Christian Erhoff plays over 26 mins a night, and 2 years and $18M of his $40M / 10 year contract will be off the books this summer. If the Sabres are indeed re-building, you get a 30 year old defenseman signed for $4M / per over the next 5 seasons, with a "please buy me out" option after 2018 as the final three seasons are a mere $1M charge against the cap. Erhoff's contract won't always be good value at a $4M cap hit, but the intention probably isn't employ him in his late 30's anyway. Lastly you wonder if a young Dman like Gardiner or Fowler would be available for the right piece. You'd hate to trade Sam Gagner or Magnus Paajarvi as they've just begun to show their potential, but the Oilers will begin to have to operate with extreme consciousness over their budget. A Gagner for Gardiner kind of flip addresses a key area of need at a low cap hit ... of course a move of Hall to C would have to be part of the ongoing plan. Interested in folks' thoughts around these and other potential budget targets that Steve Tambellini will almost certainly fail to execute.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this FanPost are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or position of the staff.

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