The Edmonton Oilers are bound to find themselves in salary cap trouble at the end of this season. Because of this, they may have to make some sacrifices and let go of some names.
With players like Patrick Maroon and Ryan Strome due for contract extensions, as well as a few other names, other pending free agents may find themselves on the outs.
Mark Letestu doesn’t cost much but is a bottom-six veteran who has upped his game over the last few seasons. With him possibly asking for more money, and the Oilers in a crunch, will he be able to earn an extension this year?
First off, let’s take a look at how important Letestu is, and the impact he has on the team. He wears many hats – not only is he a depth centre who can win faceoffs, but he is a huge asset on special teams.
The 32-year-old acts as a pure goal-scorer on the power play and 11 of his 16 goals this year came on the man advantage. In addition, he plays a solid two-way game and can come up huge on the penalty kill. Overall, Letestu is one of the biggest reasons for the Oilers’ success on the power-play.
In 78 games this past year, Letestu racked up 16 goals and 35 points, as well as 74 hits. He also won over half of his faceoffs and boasted an impressive 50.4 faceoff win percentage. However, his postseason was more notable; he finished with five goals and 11 points through 13 playoff games. He came up big in critical situations and contributed a lot of offence throughout the entire year.
Playing with Edmonton, Letestu has proven to be a utility player and has shined, as well as improved his overall ability. Though he is getting older, and though Edmonton may want to invest more in their bigger names, he deserves an extension.
He is one of the reasons why the Oilers have strong centre depth, and he makes the power play strong. So, if Edmonton can make him a priority, he should get another year.