July first has come and gone. Edmonton had very little spending money, which was probably a good thing. They picked up a few half decent pieces during free agency, and didn’t massively overspend on depth moves, which I think some fans were anticipating.
So, without further ado, here’s a quick summary of what the Oilers gained in the last week.
Kyle Brodziak, UFA signed to a 2 year, $1.15 million contract.
The return of Brodziak! He was a 7th round pick for the Oilers in 2003, traded away in 2009. He was used heavily in St. Louis’ own zone during his time there, and last season he had his first 30 point season since 2011-12. Despite his age (34), I like him as a defensive fourth line centre option for the Oilers. Chiarelli voiced an intention to have Brodziak on the penalty kill, which makes this move even more likeable. Polishing the defence up can never hurt, and his contract is team friendly and won’t age terribly. I don’t like anything over three years for older bottom six guys, and it’s good that they didn’t get stuck into a situation like the one in Vancouver with Jay Beagle.
Kevin Gravel, UFA signed to a 1 year, $700,000 contract.
I don’t love this move for the Oilers, but for 700k, and one year, I can’t complain too hard. With him presumably filling the role of the 7th defenseman, he’s little more than a depth option, but I don’t see him as an upgrade from Gryba, who they still have to pay the buyout fee for. Gravel’s numbers shy in comparison to Gryba, and Gryba only played five more games. At 26, it’s hard to expect that Gravel will suddenly ‘find his game’.
Tobias Rieder- UFA signed to a 1-year, $2 million contract.
Rieder is a projected third liner who can play both wings and has been listed at playing centre. An important thing to note for Edmonton, is that Rieder plays on the penalty kill, so hopefully he can help improve on 2017-18’s dismal 76.7% on the PK. He had a down year last year, moving from Arizona to Los Angeles, and has never had a shooting percentage at the league average or higher, but on a third line, presumably centred by Strome, offence is unlikely to be what they’re put out for. Adding speed to the third line will help too. He’s only 25, so if he can effectively contribute to the team, it’s possible we see him back after this upcoming season.
Ryan Strome- Re-signed to a 2 year, $3.1 million contract.
Now, I’m not a fan of Ryan Strome, but I don’t want to unnecessarily dump on the guy either. Maybe $3.1 million isn’t the money I’d give him personally, but it’s just a relief to see that he didn’t get a longer term than 2 years. That can probably be attributed to the fact that he’ll still be a restricted free agent at the end of the deal. Playing away from Caggiula, he drove play fairly well and $3.1 million isn’t too far off where I’d value him.
The Oilers didn’t set out to make a big splash in free agency, limited by a cap situation that’s strangling them like a particularly hungry boa constrictor, but with the space they had and options available to them, I’d rate them a solid B.
Feature image credit: NHL.com