When the Edmonton Oilers appointed Craig MacTavish as their new GM, he promised to address the roster needs. With today being the first official day of free-agency, Mac-T dug into his plan on re-tooling the Oilers roster by signing veteran defenseman Andrew Ference to a 4-year deal worth $13 million or $3.25 annually.
The move has received mainly positive reactions on the Twitter wire with Oilers fans and main stream media, although the length of the deal has some shaking their heads. Ference, 34, will be 38 when he is finished playing out his new deal with the Oilers but with the salary cap expected to be well up in four years from where it is today, having him on the books for $3.25 million may not be overly painful.
Ference brings an impressive resume that includes a Stanley Cup championship with the Boston Bruins. The wily veteran has a mean edge to his game, something that the Oilers need on the back end. Throw in his ability to move the puck out of his own end and Ference’s presence in Edmonton will go a long way to solidifying their own end. Not to mention he’s an Edmonton boy who grew up cheering for the Oilers, making it a reunion of sorts.
But perhaps one of the most valuable characteristics that Ference brings to the Oilers is his leadership. For a team that has a young dressing room that got even younger with the departure of captain Shawn Horcoff, having a player of Ference’s caliber in the room to help guide the youngsters and create a positive atmosphere is invaluable.
This was a good first move for MacTavish on his first free-agent frenzy day and with other moves already secured, it’s safe to say he’s on his way to a passing grade from the Oilers’ faithful.
Stay tuned right here at Oil on Whyte for updates.
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