Oilers make their offers to restricted free agents but with one surprise

The Oilers have issued qualifying offers to five of their restricted free agents, but what stood out was a decision about who NOT to extend an offer to.
2022 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship
2022 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship / Richard T Gagnon/GettyImages

It's only been a week since the Edmonton Oilers lost the Stanley Cup Final in heartbreaking fashion to the Florida Panthers, with a 2-1 defeat in game seven. However, they've already undertaken a lot of offseason activity, including buying out Jack Campbell and completing the 2024 NHL entry draft.

On Sunday, the Oilers also announced that they had made qualifying offers to five of their restricted free agents. These included blue-liners Philip Broberg and Noel Hoefenmayer, along with forwards Dylan Holloway, Raphael Lavoie and James Hamblin.

The offers to Broberg and Holloway in particular are understandable, with each coming on late in the season and showing glimpses of their true potential during the Oilers' playoff run. It will be interesting to see if Broberg's offer gives way to a long-term deal, given the recent report by The Hockey News that his representatives are in talks with the organisation about a contract extension which benefits both sides.

One intriguing omission among qualifying offers

Of the three other players, Lavoie clearly has the highest ceiling, while Hamblin has the most NHL experience with 41 games for the Oilers these past two seasons. However, what arguably stood out most, was who the organisation didn't extend a qualifying offer to.

More specifically we're talking about winger Carter Savoie who, along with goalie Ryan Fanti, appears to be finished with the Oilers organisation. There are plenty who are surprised by this decision, given the intriguing upside which comes about due to the combination of his scoring threat and playmaking ability.

Certainly, Ken Holland and company thought enough of Savoie, to select him in the fourth round of the 2020 NHL entry draft at 100th overall. However, the reality is he has yet to develop as hoped/expected.

The 22-year-old has particularly underwhelmed during his time in the AHL, with the Bakersfield Condors. He's managed just 18 goals, 33 overall points and a -11 rating in 109 total games, contributing towards the pre-draft narrative that he can be lazy at times.

In defence of Savoie however, his time with the Condors has seen him contend with injury issues. It seems more than reasonable to conclude these issues would have compromised his ability to consistently perform closer to what he's truly capable of.

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Overall, we would contend the Oilers have given up on the St. Albert, Alberta native too soon. Although we acknowledge this is an objective opinion based on what information we have, without the benefit of more clarity from inside the organisation.

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