The First Day Of Free Agency For The Edmonton Oilers

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JULY 08: The Edmonton Oilers draft table during Round Six of the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft at Bell Centre on July 08, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JULY 08: The Edmonton Oilers draft table during Round Six of the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft at Bell Centre on July 08, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The first day of the NHL free agency period is over for the Edmonton Oilers.

There was lots of money thrown around and lots of players on the move. For the Edmonton Oilers most of the big news came from players that stayed.

Evander Kane- 4 Years at $5.125M AAV

Around midnight last night Evander Kane posted on his Twitter that he was staying an Edmonton Oiler. This was a bit of a surprise to me, but very exciting news. I believe that he took a pay cut to stay with the Edmonton Oilers.

The $5.125M AAV looks like a bargain in comparison to what other players were signing for today. For example Ryan Strome signed for 5 years at $5M AAV. In my opinion Kane is worth more that $0.125M more than Strome.

Kane, like most players, wants to win and he must have thought that his best chance to win a cup is with the Edmonton Oilers. I think he is right, the Edmonton Oilers were only 8 wins away from hoisting the cup.

Jack Campbell- 5 Years at $5M AAV

Another addition that really is going to help move the Edmonton Oilers forward is the addition of Jack Campbell. The signing of Campbell was the worst kept secret in the NHL. Almost everyone knew it was going to happen before the opening of free agency.

The addition of Jack Campbell is something that Ken Holland has been trying to since he became GM of this team. Two years ago he missed on on Markstrom and last year he missed out on Kuemper.

He wasn’t going to let that happen a third time. He took his swing and connected on a solid goalie this time. Campbell is going to add the stability that the Edmonton Oilers need in net. There should be no more wondering if your goalie will have a good day or a bad day.

Campbell in the past has shown that he rarely has a bad game. Although there has been a couple stretches where he has struggled he has always found his game when it matters. His stats are better than any Oilers goalie last season.

This is a clear upgrade and for me this signing is equally as important as re-signing Evander Kane.

Brett Kulak- 4 Years at $2.75M AAV

The last major signing for the Edmonton Oilers happened later in the afternoon. Brett Kulak decided to re-sign with the Edmonton Oilers after testing the free agent market. I think that this deal is also a bit of a home town discount.

Just like in the case of Evander Kane if you take a look at how much some other players have signed for you can see that Kulak was a steal of a deal for what he will be. This season, with Duncan Keith retiring, I believe that Kulak will be a second pair defensemen.

A comparable for Kulak would be Nikita Zadorov and he just signed a deal for 2 years at $3.75M/season. Zadorov may be slightly better than Kulak, but not $1M a year better. This is going to end up being a steal for the Edmonton Oilers.

Not only is the price point and term good, but Kulak himself is a good asset. After being acquired at the trade deadline for a 2nd round pick Kulak fit right in on this team. He mostly played third pairing minutes, but they we well played minutes.

I think that  if he gets the bump to the second pair this season he should have no issues. I think he will be playing with Evan Bouchard and basically just move into the role that Keith was playing. He has lots of playoff and NHL experience that will be helpful for the young Evan Bouchard.

Ken Holland

After all the cap space was made at the NHL Entry Draft, I said that this would be the most important offseason for Ken Holland. He couldn’t let this team slide backwards towards mediocracy.

He did the exact opposite, he went out and ensured that this team would be just as good if not a better team than last year. Now there still is work to, we can’t give him 5 stars yet. He still has the RFA’s to re-sign.

Yamamoto, McLeod and Puljujarvi are all RFA’s that have been qualified. McLeod has no arbitration rights so his contract should be easy. It is Yamamoto and Puljujarvi’s that will be the tough ones.

I think Yamamoto will end up with a contract somewhere around $3-3.5M. Puljujarvi would get about the same amount of money as well, but I think that he is going to eventually be traded this offseason.

Another player that may be traded is Warren Foegele. Foegele has struggled at most times with the Edmonton Oilers and with his cap hit has become expendable. If the Edmonton Oilers were able to free up his cap space they could use that money to bring in a player with more influence in the line-up.

AI think that the Edmonton Oilers best free agency opening day in the NHL. Not only were able to keep most of their Western Conference Final team, but they were able to improve on it. With these changes and changes around the league I think that the Edmonton Oilers are on the top of teams to win the Stanley Cup.