With two tweets in a span of 41 minutes the Nashville Predators dealt a blow to Oilers fans hoping the team would finally get around to signing someone to play centre on the second line.
BREAKING NEWS: @PredsNHL sign forward Mike Ribiero to a one-year contract. Read more - http://t.co/gJUOTzHsNr.— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) July 15, 2014
BREAKING NEWS: @PredsNHL sign center Derek Roy to a one-year contract. Read more - http://t.co/9PNJYfVoU4— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) July 15, 2014
The Ribeiro deal is worth $1.05M and Roy's just $1.0M. In case you weren't sure, those are a couple of very good deals for the Predators. Ribeiro comes with a little baggage having been recently bought out by the Phoenix Coyotes, and Roy has had trouble with injuries in the past, so there is a risk with both deals, but in both cases the risk is small enough to make the deals virtual no brainers. Paying a million dollars for a legit NHL player is a gift. That's just $50k more than Jesse Joensuu makes and he's a pylon.
Given the state of their roster, you have to hope that the Oilers were involved in discussions with at least one of these two. Neither may be the player Craig MacTavish had hoped would fill Sam Gagner's spot when he moved him to Tampa Bay for Teddy Purcell, but beggars can't be choosers, and right now the Oilers are beggars. They need another centre on the roster, no ifs. ands, or buts. If they can't sign one they will have to consider trading for one, and that option limits how much the team will improve overall because they'll need to give up an asset in the deal. Signing someone is by far the preferred option because it only costs money.
Of course it should be noted that Edmonton might not have been either players preferred destination. But money talks, and the Oilers could easily afford to double the dollars on either of these deals. For that matter they could double the money and the term and still be okay. If that was offered, are the Oilers really so bad that both simply laughed hysterically before hanging up the phone? I understand marquee players who are getting offers from all 30 teams turning down the Oilers, but when guys signing for a million dollars won't consider it then I fear we might have a lot years left before the team manages to escape the hole they've dug for themselves with this rebuild.
And so I sit and I wonder: did the Oilers not bother to try and sign these guys, or were they turned down? And neither option leaves me feeling happy.