The Edmonton Oilers signed center Andrew Miller to a one year contract today. At only 5’10 and 178 lbs, he is not likely to be the center to replace Sam Gagner, as they are similar players. It’s a move the organization is making to ensure centers are developing on the farm. He may rank as a call-up option, since Anton Lander and Mark Arcobello seem like surer bets for work this fall.
Miller is well regarded by Oilers GM Craig MacTavish, who spoke highly of him heading into last season. He fared decently in Oklahoma last year, tallying 34 points in 52 games. Normally, a signing like this would be viewed as a depth signing and nothing more. But, the Oilers are woefully thin at center, and so this is being viewed as a possible solution.
Part of the reason fans are on edge was the two astute signings by the Nashville Predators. They signed BOTH Mike Ribiero and Derek Roy to one year , one million dollar deals. The Oilers have that same kind of money committed to JESSE JOENSUU. It would be easy to sit back and say the Oilers are not aggressive enough, should have pursued these free agents harder and now are left, truly with the dregs. It’s easy because its true.
The Predators signed Ribiero, Roy and Olli Jokinen for 4.5 million per year. Three good, journeymen centres for less than the cost of Sam Gagner. Edmonton can’t sign one, for big dollars. While Peter Mueller and Andrei Loktionov are still free, the Oilers will be looking to the trade market or they will be forced to roll with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Boyd Gordon, Mark Arcobello and Anton Lander.
It could be that management have a trade plan in the works, hence the dropping of the ball of getting one of the aforementioned players under contract. Let’s hope that is the case, as the team will be banking on stellar seasons from unproven youth should they fail to sign a center soon.
The clock is ticking.