The Edmonton Oilers have signed Joey LaLeggia to a one-year contract, the team announced Thursday.
LaLeggia’s one-year, two-way deal helps the Oilers avoid arbitration with LaLeggia. The 25-year-old will make $700,000 at the NHL level, though he has yet to get to that point.
In 67 games with the Bakersfield Condors this past season, LaLeggia impressed with 20 goals and 38 points. He finished second to Anton Lander in goals and was fourth on the team in scoring. In the past, he stood out in the NCAA with the University of Denver.
Originally a defenceman, the Oilers switched him to the wing mid-way through the year. LaLeggia has yet to crack the NHL roster, and could look to make the leap this season, in whichever role he needs to fill.
LaLeggia has an oustanding eye for offence. He owns a heavy shot from the point, and can shoot with accuracy. Not to mention, he possesses great playmaking ability and takes great care of the puck. However, at 5-foot-9, 182 pounds, he doesn’t possess the best frame or a defenceman at the NHL level, but may have better luck as a winger.
Edmonton could beenfit from more depth on the wing; however, LaLeggia has been playing the left wing, and would have to compete with many Oilers higher on the depth chart for a shot at the opening night roster. One player he could fight for a spot with is Anton Slepyshev; however, Slepyshev had an impressive end to 2016-17 and that momentum could carry into this season.
It seems that LaLeggia is currently one of the top Oilers prospects ready for a call-up opportunity, but with the way he has been developing, he could see NHL ice time sooner rather than later. He possesses a lot of skill and ability, whether he plays defence or the wing.
LaLeggia will again become a restricted free agent at the end of next season, and has one more year to prove he has enough upside to make it to the NHL.