While most speculated that the Edmonton Oilers would be in on defenseman Jason Demers and left wing Milan Lucic, today we received confirmation that the two were in town meeting with the organization. Meeting and signing are two very different things and there are other teams also courting these guys (Lucic was just in Vancouver). The Oilers do have a bit of an advantage in these negotiations as the organization has familiarity with both players.
Lucic ties with Chiarelli go back to when he was drafted in 2006. He played his entire tenure with the Bruins with Chiarelli as his manager. On the flip side, Jason Demers began his career with Todd McLellan as his coach. Having a GM and coach who have prior relationships will help with negotiations but that's only the beginning. The Oilers need to convince these players that they can win in Edmonton. It was a great decision to bring both of these players in at he same time. It's an easy way for Chiarelli to tell both players how he believes they can be important pieces and that he is working on ways to improve the team.
Contract? Word is one reason Lucic may sign in Edmonton is because they are willing to offer him the term he wants which sounds like it's 6 years, probably 6 million dollars. While some people are hesitant about a term like that I believe he is worth that for at least the first 4 years of that deal. You improve the team now and worry about 5 years from now 4 years from now.
If Lucic is signed it almost certainly means the end of Pouliot or Hall in Edmonton. While Lucic is not nearly as good a player as Hall, if Chiarelli can move Hall for a #1 D and have a decent replacement for his spot in Lucic I would accept the loss of Halls production.
Demers is a bit different. He is arguably the best defender left in free agency but I still view him like Sekera. A good second pairing guy. I was fine with overpaying a bit for Sekera but I would be hesitant to do it again. I would be ecstatic if the Oilers could acquire him for something in the realm of 4 years at 4.5 million. As I've mentioned before if they acquire Demers it cannot include a NMC. With expansion looming it would be a huge mistake for the Oilers to be protecting what should be their second pairing.
Three days until free agency. As the Oilers show Demers and Lucic the river valley and new arena we wait with baited breath.
Thanks for reading.