The Edmonton Oilers made their top priorities very clear this summer. Their most significant moves came from within as the locked up captain Connor McDavid and star forward Leon Draisailt to heavy, lentghy contract extensions. The decision to sign them gives the fans a clear message: the Oilers are targeting the Stanley Cup, and made sure to have the best elements in the fold to achieve it.
The Oilers almost completed an important trade, by landing versatile forward Ryan Strome from the New York Islanders for Jordan Eberle, who struggled in the post-season. Strome will fit well with the young Oilers, and bring an interesting dynamic offense. The loss of Eberle might be tough to swallow for some fans, but Strome could make them forget quick enough.
Some of the Oilers’ other offseason departures are Matt Hendricks, David Desharnais and Griffin Reinhart, who all became free agents. Benoit Pouliot’s contract was bought out.
Another element on the list the Oilers took care of is re-signing Kris Russell. Some fans and experts thought the move was questionnable. Although Russell is a decent defensive blueliner and compensates for Andrej Sekera‘s injury, the length of four years of the deal could be too much.
Forward Zack Kassian received a well deserved pay raise via a three-year extension worth $1.95 million annually. Eric Gryba got a two-year extension worth $900,000 a season.
The Oilers also added free agent Jussi Jokinen, a quality top six forward who can be versatile for the team. The Oilers found a great bargain with the 34-year-old, who signed a one-year contract reportedly valued at $1.1 million, on July 7. He made $4 million with the Florida Panthers last season. Jokinen can provide solid secondary scoring and be a great help to young players like Jesse Puljujarvi.
If the new elements and veterans of the Oilers follow the leadership of McDavid, they will find a way to clinch a playoff spot once again and go even further this spring!