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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4) From disappointment to positive re-signing

Harsh or not, there was a point last season when Connor Brown was almost considered enemy number one in Edmonton. Through 24 games he had produced just one point and after 54 games he had only five points -- all assists -- with a goal drought of 82 games dating back to March 2022.

it didn't help that Brown received a $3.225 million bonus after reaching 10 games, albeit this was the fault of the Oilers rather than him. In March he was named one of the 10 biggest disappointments of the 2023-24 season, by The Athletic.

However, throughout it all the 30-year-old remained one of the most popular players in the Oilers locker room and his teammates continued to offer their unwavering support. In one of the best redemption story arcs of the season, he turned it around towards the end of the regular season and particularly shone during the playoffs.

As a result, Brown went from being a certainty to not return to Edmonton next season, to being signed to a one-year, $1 million extension on Monday. It's more than deserved and if he can continue to play like he did in the final few months of the 2023-24 campaign, he will prove to be even more of a bargain deal for the Oilers.

5) Some financial manoeuvring to do

Ahead of the NHL entry draft and free agency, the Oilers appeared to be in an unenviable position. With 10 unrestricted and two restricted free agents to contend with and a projected cap space of just $10,033,333, it wasn't mission impossible per se, but it was sure as hell close.

Despite this precarious position, Jeff Jackson and the rest of the front office have managed to work wonders. They've so far been able to negotiate nine signings (as well as agreeing terms with another six non-roster players).

However, despite this miracle of sorts, as per Cap Friendly, the Oilers do now have a projected cap space of -$2,454,167 for next season. And this is still with two qualifying offers sitting on the table waiting to (hopefully) be accepted by Broberg and Dylan Holloway.

As such the Oilers still have work to do, which would explain why they're aiming to trade Evander Kane and get rid of his annual $5.125 million cap hit for the next two seasons. Along these lines Cody Ceci may also be another player the organisation try to move, with one season and $3.25 million remaining on his current contract.

Next. What could have been with Jack Campbell in Edmonton. What could have been with Jack Campbell in Edmonton. dark

Overall, it's tough not to be anything but impressed with how day one of free agency went for the Oilers, especially without a general manager running the show. While nothing can ever be taken for granted or assumed, the roster is already shaping up to be one which will once more contend for the Stanley Cup next season.

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