Who’s left for the Edmonton Oilers to sign up for free?

The work is far from over for the Edmonton Oilers.

Yes, Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto are inked for new deals, but Ryan McLeod and Tyler Benson still need new deals. As mentioned, the Oilers are already on the salary cap, even taking into account Mike Smith and Oscar Kefbom heading for the LTIR.

So something must give. I still think Warren Foegele is the most likely candidate to move, but Tyson Barrie would be the brightest. If the Oilers could move both, that would be even better.

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Ken Holland was on TSN1260 yesterday, admitting there was work to be done. Not only that, but there is a certain type of player that the Oilers want to attract.

“Probably more in the mid to late 20s,” Holland said, adding that the Oilers could be looking at someone who is undervalued in the market.

He was later also asked if Phil Kessel would be a possibility: “With regard to Phil Kessel, of course I mean everyone, almost everyone in the market that I’m aware of and have spoken to their agents.

‘So we’ll see. I’m not going to say yes. I’m not going to say no. I think that depends on whether we do something about our line-up between now and the opening of the camp.”

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Phil is an interesting case. Last season he was an attacking driver who had strong numbers to set up his Arizona Coyotes teammates. In 82 games he scored eight goals and 52 points in what was another solid production season for the veteran who matures like fine wine. Coming out of his massive eight-year $8 million AAV deal, Kessel is still unsigned and could probably get about a million dollars.

Another option could be Sonny Milano. The 26-year-old is coming off one of his best seasons in the NHL, setting a career high in goals in 66 games (14) while setting records in assists (20) and points (34). Yet it is not signed on the market. Milano was a great top six game driver for the Anaheim Ducks last year. According to hockeyviz.com, he contributed to offense at a percentage of six percent above the league average and to defense at a percentage of seven percent above the league average. He was also above average in finishing and setting up teammates.

28-year-old Evan Rodrigues is another tasty option as a player coming out of a career year. Career highs in goals (19), assists (24) and points (43) came while largely playing a third-line role with the Pittsburgh Penguins. According to hockeyviz.com, his finishing percentages were four percent below league average, while his setting percentage was league average. Despite that, he delivered an attack eight percent above the league average and a defense seven percent above the league average. He comes out of a one-year, $1 million proving deal, and looks set to have another similar contract this summer.

Zach Aston-Reese is another ex-penguin I would be interested in. The 27-year-old has scored five goals and 15 points in 69 games, but attacking is not his calling card. He played in a third-line role and was a defensive specialist who contributed nine percent above the league average, according to hockeyviz.com.

In terms of defenders who could replace Tyson Barrie on the right, the list is limited. Mark Stone can make sense. He provided attack six percent above the league average and defense at four percent above the league average. PK Subban provided an attack five percent above the league average and defense with a league average. Greg Pateryn provided both offense and defense with a percentage of five percent above the league average.

Scoring goals will not be a problem for the Oilers. Keeping the puck out of the net will be.

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Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. You can follow him on Twitter at @zjlaingor reachable by e-mail at [email protected]


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