Edmonton Oilers Free Agency: Making the case for Drake Caggiula

Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Edmonton Oilers should consider bringing back Drake Caggiula

Remember Drake Caggiula?  He was a victim of the Peter Chiarelli regime as PC traded him just as he was starting to find a scoring touch on the 2nd line.  For Brandon Manning, no less.  Everyone else on the management team told him to not trade for Brandon Manning, but by that time PC was insulating himself from outside feedback and going rogue, so he ignored that advance and made the trade anyway.

Predictably, the Oilers lost that trade.

Caggiula never really did rediscover that scoring touch in his 2 seasons in Chicago.  His season and a half there he only put up totals of 12 and 15 points respectively.  We still lost that trade as Manning predictably was nothing but a glorified coke machine – as everyone had warned Peter Chiarelli he was.

As soon as our injury problems at that time cleared up, Manning was buried in the minors – which was where he spent most of his time rotting as a healthy scratch, save for 9 games here last season.

Bottom line is, Caggiula never should’ve left.  We should never have traded him.  PC was stupid to trade him right when he was breaking out.  Now he was playing on the 2nd line at the time, but since this is the only team he’s produced offence on, perhaps he can recapture the magic if we put him next to Mcdavid.

Now admittedly, this is the ultimate flyer type of player for the top 6 as he’s spent most of his career in the bottom 6 and outside of a handful of games in 1 season has never shown any scoring chops.

But if he did it once here, maybe he can do it again.  That’s what I’d be wondering.  Ken Holland is no stranger to taking cheap flyers on players during his time in Detroit – some of them worked out, some of them didn’t. In any case, at least it wouldn’t cost us a lot to find out.  If we project a contract for him, here’s what it would look like.

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1 year, 1 way, $700,000

NHL minimum for 1 year.  The ultimate “show-me” contract.  And for the record, it’s not like Caggiula has no scoring chops at all.

In his last year in the US College system for the University of North Dakota, Caggiula put up 25 goals and 51 points in 39 games – and that was just the climax of his career there as his numbers increased every year he played there.  He also finished a whopping +46 in that same season, so he can play without the puck too.

Can he score 20 goals?  That might be asking a bit much.  But would 15 be a reasonable expectation?  Considering he’s already put up 13 in 1 season, IMO yes.

Also, unlike his formative years here when the Oilers signed him as a college free agent to round out their roster, he’s 26 years old now so he’s in his prime producing years. Considering Chicago already had significant dollars entrenched in their top 6, Caggiula was likely buried in the bottom 6 there so there was no opportunity for him to move up to show his stuff.

He’s already shown he can score in the US College system and in short sample size in the top 6 he can score.  It’s also worth noting that in 2 out of 3 seasons as an Oiler, he also cranked out over 100 hits per season, and the one year he didn’t he was a rookie and finished with 97.

Imagine having 2 power forwards on the wing with Mcdavid?  If we sign Caggiula it’s entirely possible.  Just imagine the physical play if Caggiula and Kassian were on the same line and opening up all kinds of ice for Mcdavid…..do I hear a Homer Simpson drool?  And 2 players capable of cashing in on Mcdavid’s leftovers when they’re not hitting everything in sight?  Oh yeah, I like it.

Could Ken Holland re-acquire him for a 2nd tour of duty and duplicate the results?  Nothing is guaranteed, of course, but all signs point to a calculated risk of a player worth taking a chance on. He’s still a free agent almost a month into free agency.

Hot. End of season player report cards for the Edmonton Oilers. light

He looked like he was breaking out the last time he was here, only to have his time here snatched away from him at a very inopportune time and to a club that would only let him spin his wheels.  I don’t know about you, but I’d love to see Caggiula back with the Oilers.  The more research I do on the player the more I like him in that spot as a flyer.