Oilers better off leaving contract extension talks until after the season

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman has indicated that the Edmonton Oilers are interested in extending both Adam Henrique and Sam Carrick.

Washington Capitals v Edmonton Oilers
Washington Capitals v Edmonton Oilers / Codie McLachlan/GettyImages

Thursday's edition of Elliotte Friedman's 32 Thoughts column was as interesting as you'd expect, with comments about more NHL expansion, potentially changing the LTIR rules, and so one. And right in their among the 32 thoughts, was one about the Edmonton Oilers.

It was only one sentence by Sportsnet's Friedman, but certainly worthy of inclusion. It read: 'We will see how things unfold in the postseason, but Edmonton did show interest in extending both Adam Henrique and Sam Carrick.'

The Oilers acquired Henrique and Carrick from the Anaheim Ducks in a trade, two days before the Mar. 8 deadline. The duo -- particularly Henrique -- strengthened the forward lineup on the roster.

Too soon to extend the duo

That the Oilers are already considering extending the duo, alludes to how much they are valued by the organisation. Both are set to become unrestricted free agents after this season, but it is better that negotiations are put on the back-burner until the 2023-24 campaign is completed.

For a start, a bigger sample size of games is needed in order to determine how the two forwards gel with the other players on the Oilers team. In this respect, while they are plenty of ways to measure the impact of someone on the ice, ahead of Saturday's action Henrique has one assist, a +2 rating and an average of 14:21 of ice time in four games, while Carrick has zero points, a -2 rating and 9:37 of ice time per contest in three games.

Henrique is undoubtedly the bigger name of the two, and has a cap hit of just over $1.456 million for this season. However, at the age of 34, how much longer can he be expected to operate at a high level, thus influencing how long the Oilers would want to extend him for?

For what it's worth, the Brantford Ontario native is actually projected to have the most points of his 14 seasons in the NHL. (Although ironically his pace has actually gone down since arriving in Edmonton.) Again though, it respect of his age, his performances could dip at any time.

As for Carrick, he's a couple of years younger at 32, while having a cap hit of just $425,000 for this season. However, while he is tough and is decent defensively, his offensive impact has been limited throughout his time in the NHL, which is now in its eighth season; although in fairness it should be noted this is only his third season as a regular at the NHL level.

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Overall, we can appreciate why the Oilers are interested in extending the two players. Henrique is a quality top six forward, while Carrick is a cheap, versatile bottom six option.

Ultimately though, this is not the time for the Oilers to be going down this road. For now, it's about remaining focused on the task at hand, i.e. bringing the Stanley Cup back to Edmonton for the first time since 1990.

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