Free Agency 2012: Are The Oilers Going To Do Anything More? Shane Doan Not Negotiating Until July 9th According To Reports.
The Edmonton Oilers again showed their prowess in winning lotteries by snagging Justin Schultz the day before free agency began. In the 11th hour, prior to the free agent frenzy, Ryan Smyth finally swerved in his contract negotiation game of chicken, signing on for two more years at a fair price of $2.25 million. Once the signing madness began the Oilers continued to waste a roster spot by re-signing tough guy Darcy Hordichuk. Since then nothing has happened.
To date the Oilers have managed to add two rookies (albeit high end ones) in Schultz and Nail Yakupov to the second last place team of last season. This is not good enough if the Oilers have any hope of ending a six year playoff drought. The team still needs a top four (or better) defenseman, a capable two way forward and a legitimate goaltender to backup Devan Dubnyk.
Don’t get me wrong Schultz is a great pickup, but with Ryan Whitney (injury concerns) and young Jeff Petry (inexperienced) expected to be relied upon in major roles, some additional stability would go a long way. Ryan Suter is the class of the UFA crop, but it is doubtful he’d sign in Edmonton. Matt Carle or Michal Rozsival would be great additions, but failing that it is starting to look like the Oilers will have to go the trade route to improve the back end.
Shane Doan would be a great addition to the forward corps. According to TSN insider Darren Dreger and the Arizona Republic, he is reportedly expected to decide on his future after July 9th, when the potential holdups on a new arena in Glendale/the Phoenix Coyotes future in the city become clearer.
Failing to acquire Doan, the Oilers could find some value in the likes of Daniel Winnik, Radek Dvorak or Dominic Moore among others.
As for the goaltending situation, Nikolai Khabibulin has shown over the first three years of his contract he is no longer able to supply a season’s worth of NHL level goaltending. Upgrades to backup Dubnyk could include Curtis Sanford, Andrew Raycroft or Brent Johnson, all of whom have had a higher SV% than Khabibulin over the past three seasons.
With so many players under contract, and the free agency options dwindling, it seems likely the Oilers will make a 2-for-1 or 3-for-1 swap. Hopefully if such a move is made the Oilers get fair value in return instead of selling low on Sam Gagner or Ales Hemsky. Such a move would only serve to push the rebuild back another year or two.