With the new NHL season quickly approaching, there are still a few free agents the Edmonton Oilers can go after.
Free Agents Still Available
As the season approaches, it likely means less bargaining power for the free-agents still on the market. Perhaps Holland can use the opportunity to bring in a serviceable roster player at a discount.
One of the main priorities for the Oilers this summer is to upgrade their secondary scoring. Edmonton was ranked 20th in “goals-for” last season, with only 229.
Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl accounted for 40% of the team’s total goals scored last season and they still missed the playoffs. Simply put, the Oilers need more secondary scoring if they want a shot at becoming a playoff team in 2020.
With that said, here is a look at a few players the Oilers could potentially go after before the season starts.
Derick Brassard as a Potential Fit
Out of all the free agents out there, Derick Brassard might be one of the best fits for the Oilers to go after. Despite struggling the past two seasons, Brassard has had several 18+ goal seasons in his career. He has even hit the 60 point plateau in the past. Adding Brassard would give the Oilers extra depth at center, and give them the option to leave Draisatil on McDavids’ wing.
Brassard would ideally slide into the third-line center role. He would give the Oilers some skill and some offense in the bottom-six. Something Edmonton was sorely missing last season. In addition to that, Brassard could occasionally move up into the top-six and see some time on the wing, and contribute on the powerplay.
No question, there are concerns as to whether the 31-year-old can re-discover his game again. Nonetheless, Edmonton might be willing to buy-low on him and see if things work out. Much like what they did with Alex Chiasson the last off-season.
The Price Point
One of the biggest obstacles is the price point. It was rumored that Brassard’s camp “has been asking for far in excess ($4 million) of what the Oilers are willing to pay.” At $4 million-plus, the Oilers are probably out on Brassard.
But we can’t forget that we are weeks away from September. So the contract the Brassard originally wanted is probably not out there for him at this point. If teams around the NHL really wanted to they would have offered him a contract already.
This gives the Oilers more bargaining power to bring the centerman in at a discount perhaps around the $2 Million range or even a professional try-out (PTO) if Brassard remains unsigned.
From Brassard’s perspective, it depends on how much longer he is willing to wait and what team he feels can give him the best opportunity to succeed.
Edmonton a Good Landing Spot for Brassard?
All-in-all, Edmonton may not be a bad landing spot for Brassard to play for one season and bounce back. He doesn’t have to be counted upon to score every night and has a chance to significantly increase his production if he gets to play with McDavid, Draisaitl or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins occasionally.
On the other hand, bringing in Brassard could be a low-risk, medium-reward scenario for the Oilers. If he is able to be a 35-45 point player, it would be a huge upgrade for the Oilers offense. Since no player in the bottom-six scored more than 30 points last year.
Should the Oilers Bring Back Patrick Maroon?
Recent Stanley Cup Champion Pat Maroon spent parts of three seasons in Edmonton and arguably played some of his best hockey in an Oiler uniform.
He scored a career-high 27 goals in 2016-17 and spent a significant amount of time on Connor McDavid’s wing.
Despite helping the St. Louis Blues capture their first Stanley Cup in franchise history, it doesn’t look like they have enough money to bring Maroon back. Maroon is coming off, a one-year, $1,750,000 million deal.
Production-wise, he did not have the best year last season. The “Big Rig” only registered 10 goals and 28 points in 74 games. So his demanded salary shouldn’t be particularly high. We are in mid-August and Maroon is still without a contract. So at this point, it might not cost the Oilers a lot to bring him in for a second stint.
What Can Maroon Bring?
After losing Milan Lucic this summer, adding Maroon should restore some grit back into the Oilers’ lineup. On top of that, if Maroon is able to chip in around 10-15 goals, he would be considered an offensive upgrade from Lucic (6 goals, 20 points last year). Comparing cap hit, he won’t cost the Oilers $6,000,000 either, so that’s another win!
Historically, Maroon has been a better fit on McDavid’s wing than most players. He also has the versatility to move down the lineup, and be used in a checking role as well. Bringing Maroon back would also give the Oilers a bit of a net presence and should improve their power play numbers. Maroon is known to have some slick hands and can finish around the net as well.
Can Both Sides Find Common Ground?
It is uncertain whether Maroon is on Holland’s radar at this point. Or if he wants to give younger players like Tyler Benson and Joakim Nygård a good shot to make a huge impact next year.
But going after Maroon seems like a move that could provide more proven depth at the wing and extra options throughout the lineup.
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