Holland Plays It Smart on Day 1 - Smarter on Day 2 Landing Barrie
The Edmonton Oilers have reportedly signed Tyson Barrie to a one year deal worth just under 4 million. This is a massive win for Edmonton as they get a guy who can help run an already dominant PP and provide some great numbers at 5 on 5 too. Huge!!!!
Barrie deal is official. One year deal at 3.75 million.
Day One of Free Agency was a different beast than we have come to expect. Big names like Taylor Hall and Alex Pietrangelo remain on the board and there were far fewer six or seven year deals thrown around.
Teams are struggling under the flat cap and with the uncertainty of how regular seasons will presume, organizations are being reasonably tight pursed.
Knowing all of that, how did Ken Holland do on day one? Actually, I would rank the Oilers as one of the top five teams for how they approached the day.
Really quickly, the Oilers made a number of depth, AHL signings. Seth Griffith, Alan Quine, and Anton Forsberg are meant to be AHL signings to help bolster a farm team that lost some of it's older veterans, such as Josh Currie who signed with Pittsburgh.
Now onto the two big signings and the one the Oilers did not make.
For months I have been speculating that Edmonton would sign Ennis to a one year deal in the one million dollar range and that is exactly what happened. The 30 year old put up 14 goals in 61 games for the Senators last season before being traded to the Oilers. He put up 2 goals and 4 points in the 9 games he played. He suffered a broken leg in the playoffs but is currently rehabbing it, is off crutches and should be ready for a January 1 start.
Ennis is a smart jack of all trades forward and the exact kind of player Edmonton needs on their third line and can be deployed in the top six as well. Currently the Oilers weakest position is their left side and signing Tyler Ennis helps to bolster those ranks.
This signing appears to have fans divided a bit but honestly I love the move for the Edmonton Oilers. Last season Tippett had to deploy two very defensive units as his bottom six, purely because of the personnel he had to work with. Haas, Khaira, Sheahan... none of these players were guys who could provide any real level of offense, regardless of the competition they played against.
Let's be clear. Kyle Turris is not a defensive stalwart. Over the past two seasons for Nashville, of the 25 players who played at least 400 minutes, Turris finished 20th with a CF% of 50.51% (still far better than Sheahan). He also finished 21st of 25 with a GF% of 48.93%. I do believe some of this can be chalked up to simply not being a fit in the Nashville system in an organization that has typically not seen it's players producing high offensive numbers.
Turris brings a dynamic to the Oilers third line that the team hasn't had since Ryan Strome and likely even further than that. Too long a key issue with the Oilers roster has been failing to produce any offense if the McDavid or Draisaitl lines were not on the ice. Turris provides a solid opportunity to buck that trend if placed with the correct wingers.
One area Turris cannot surpass Sheahan will be on the PK, an area Turris does not play. Sheahan was a crucial piece of the Oilers PK last season and someone will need to replace his spot on the top unit. Internal options would be Haas or Khaira.
The best part of this deal is the two year 1.65 million dollar price tag which is very affordable and a safe bet. Remember Turris was making 6 million dollars before he was bought out by the Preds.
Over the past few days Holland has added three pieces to his top 9 in Puljujarvi, Turris, and Ennis and dished out less than 4 million dollars to cover them. That is some excellent cap management.
In his presser yesterday Holland said he expects that the team is done with their forward group. My guess is that is more than a little misleading and Holland will still be working to move some contracts out and tinker as opportunities present themselves.
Taking him at face value, here is the forward group for next season (your lines may vary).
It may seem like subtle differences from last year's group but that third line actually looks like a real third line. I would prefer Ennis to be slotted down on that third line as well but currently the left side remains an area of weakness. Holland may still try to move out a RW like Chiasson in order to shore up the opposite side.
At the end of the day Calgary outbid Edmonton for the services of Jacob Markstrom. It is a contract that may end up working out well for the Flames or potentially blowing up in their faces. The six year, 6 million dollar deal with a NMC definitely carries some weight and in order for the contract to be viewed as a win, Calgary needs to receive at least four good years out of the 30 year old netminder.
I think Calgary did well here but with the Oilers limited space I think it was a wise move to not go all in on a bidding war to gain his services.
Today eyes will be on whether or not the Oilers are able to make a solid pitch for Tyson Barrie, as reported by Darren Dreger. Barrie could come in and replace Klefbom on the top unit powerplay as well as perhaps make Adam Larsson tradeable.
Klefbom will be placed on the LTIR, clearing up another 4 million in cap space for the Edmonton Oilers.
As I was writing this, it was announced that right shot Tyler Johnson had cleared waivers. It is uncertain what is next for the forward.
Thomas Greiss, another goalie Edmonton had interest in has signed a two year deal with Detroit.