5 takeaways from the beginning of free agency for the Oilers

With the first day of NHL free agency in the books, we take a look at the good, the bad and the surprising of what transpired for the Edmonton Oilers.
Buffalo Sabres v Edmonton Oilers
Buffalo Sabres v Edmonton Oilers / Lawrence Scott/GettyImages
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2) Expected to leave but still a shame

As the season wound down, there was the reality that not everyone set to become a free agent -- unrestricted or restricted -- was guaranteed to return to the Oilers next season. Chief among these, were Warren Foegele and Vincent Dersharnais.

This came to pass on Monday, with Foegele agreeing to a three-year, $10.5 million deal with the Los Angeles Kings, and Desharnais signing for two years and $4 million with the Vancouver Canucks. Obviously it's a shame for Oilers fans, that neither player will be back in Edmonton next season.

Of the two though, we would contend that Foegele was the bigger loss, with 2023-24 easily representing his best season yet. He set a host of career highs including 41 points and 13:59 of average ice time, along with a 55.6 Corsi For % and 55.6 Fenwick For % in All Situations; he would go on to continue excelling during the playoffs, particularly during the Stanley Cup Final, where he produced five points in seven games.

In respect of Desharnais, we recently wrote about how he wasn't prepared to take a team-friendly deal to remain in Edmonton, and would likely test free agency. However, with his diminishing production versus Philip Broberg's growing contributions as the playoffs progressed, it became slightly easier for the Oilers to let the physical blue-liner move on to pastures news.

3) Putting the team ahead of personal gain

When speaking to the media at Wednesday's end of season presser, Adam Henrique talked about how there has been a shift in his priorities. How he was at a point where money was no longer number one, with him finally being so close to winning it all.

Henrique said he had enjoyed his time in Edmonton and everything seemed to allude to him taking less money to remain on a contender. On Monday, he proved he was a man of his word.

As per TSN's Ryan Rishaugh, Henrique agreed a two-year, $6 million deal to re-sign with the Oilers. With an average annual value of $3 million, it represented a drop of almost 50 percent from the $5.825 million he received per season on his last contract.

Another player willing to put the team ahead of any personal gain was fellow forward Corey Perry, who agreed a one-year deal worth $1.4 million, one season after signing a contract worth $4 million with the Chicago Blackhawks. Both Perry and Henrique proved their worth to the Oilers, particularly during the playoffs, and will once again help the team contend with their vast respective veteran savvy and experience.