Back in the summer of 2014, the Oilers traded Sam Gagner for Teddy Purcell. It was a move that had fans confused to say the least. While Gagner had his flaws, he, at that time anyway, was a capable scorer and one of two players the Oilers had capable of playing the position in the top 6. Trading him for a guy who not only didn't play centre, but didn't really fix any holes left a sour taste in many fans mouths.
It of course didn't help that Purcell went on to score only 34 points that season. He wasn't a physical player, didn't seem very fast, and was not putting up the points worthy of a top 6 player.
Flash forward to now, where there is now conversations of trying to re-sign Teddy. He has been a solid complimentary player playing with Draisaitl and Hall and his line has been a highlight of this season (insert funny joke about what a difference a few inches can make).
Now, if the Oilers were to offer Purcell a new contract, I would be perfectly fine with it. However let me explain why I don't think they should. First off let's look at the cap... here are some of the Oilers major contracts going into next year.
Hall - 6 million
Eberle - 6 million
RNH - 6 million
Sekera - 6.5 million
Pouliot - 4 million
While we will likely see some trades and other moves, the Oilers do need to start getting smart with their cap, especially when guys like Draisaitl, McDavid, and potentially Yakupov will be looking for bigger contracts soon. Though Purcell will not get the 4.5 million he has now, he would probably be looking for something in the 2.5-3 range.
This has been a long winded intro to get to my point. The Oilers should be targetting players who have low cap hits, but can serve as a complimentary players in the top 6. Here are a couple UFA options.
Dale Weise, Montreal Canadiens: The 27 year old, 206lb winger for the Candiens currently has 21 points in 46 games. He usually plays on a second line with Deshernais and Galchenyuk and is making just over 1 million. He is a physical player who is strong on the forecheck and plays a crash and bang game.
Chris Stewart, Anaheim Ducks: Yes we're back to Stewart again, he seems a long way away from his 64 point season with the Avalanche, or the following year where he put up 30 in 36 with Colorado, then 23 in 26 with the Blues. Currently making 1.7 million and his current play makes it seem unlikely he would garner much more than that. It should be noted however that this is on a Ducks team that has had difficulty getting offense from anyone.
Now I do believe that Chiarelli is currently looking at another option, a player already on the roster who could step in there, and his name is Zach Kassian. Kassian has looked alright in the Oilers bottom 6, especially considering he played his first NHL game of the year in January. His conditioning has improved over his last few games and he has brought a physical presence to the Oilers. I do believe there is potential that he could bring something to the Oilers skill lines and be a physical presence in front of the net and help cause some turnovers. He is not without offensive skill and could potentially produce 40 points standing in front of the net taking tip-ins from Hall or Draisaitl.
Weise, Stewart, and Kassian. There are three players that could cost 2 million or under that could play in the top 6. If the Oilers want to be a competitve team, they need to start finding these contracts to bolster their big money players.
Thanks for reading