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Edmonton • Canada • 25 Years Old • Male

RFA Negotiations

Posted 5:56 PM ET | Comments 8
Before the Oilers draft 9th overall on June 22nd, before they make any UFA signings on July 1st the team needs to take care of signing the RFA players.

This is all the RFA players the Oilers have that currently have NHL contracts for the purpose of this blog I will not be discussing AHL level deals. Whether the Oilers choose to resign Kyle Platzer or Ben Betker will have little effect on the overall cap.

Ryan Strome
Anton Slepeshev
Drake Caggiula
Iiro Pakarinen - included because he is an RFA but he looks to be departing NHL
Matthew Benning
Darnell Nurse

I'm going to break these players numbers down, try and look at similar players to determine what these players should be signed at.

Ryan Strome
82GP 13-21-34
Previous Contract: 2,500,000

While Strome is not the replacement top line right winger some had hoped for, Strome is a fairly dependable 3rd line centre. Strome may be the second toughest RFA to sign.

Quick math for those who don't understand the RFA process.

Strome's cap hit is 2.5 million but his base salary is 3 million. If the Oilers give Strome a qualifying offer (which is a one year deal) they would have to offer him 3 million.

Ideally the team and player are able to come to an agreement before that point. Looking around the league there are plenty of comparable contracts. I narrowed my search to players of similar ages, games played, and point production. Mikkel Boedker, Tyler Ennis, and Brayden Schenn all signed 2 year deals between 2.5-2.875 million.

Oilers Contract Offer: 2 Years at 2.6 Million Per

Anton Slepeshev
50GP 6-6-12
Previous Contract: 925,000

Slepshev was the odd man out this season. Injuries derailed what could have been an opportunity to start on Leon Draisaitl's wing. After returning Slepeshev struggled to stay in the lineup and was a healthy scratch many nights.

Slepeshev has 23 points in 102 NHL games and while he hasn't come close to earning a full time spot I believe the Oilers should sign him as on a one year deal. Worst case he is an AHL forward, best case he emerges as Khaira did last season.

Oilers Contract Offer: 1 Year at 950,000

Drake Caggiula
67GP 13-7-20
Previous Contract: 925,000

Add me to the list of people who are meh on Caggiula. He is a guy the coach likes plenty for reasons unknown to me meaning if McLellan is back, Caggiula certainly will be too.

There are a few interesting names for comparables here that signed 2 year deals. Marcus Kruger (1.287), Joakim Nordstrom (1.275), Mathieu Perrault (1.050)/

Oilers Contract Offer: 2 Years at 1.075 Million Per

Matthew Benning
73GP 6-15-21
Previous Contract: 925,000

Benning was a steal for the Oilers in 2016-2017. This was a perfect example of having additional depth and having a player honestly force his way onto the lineup. In 2017-2018 Benning had more hiccups but is still worth signing to a solid deal.

Benning is a player I would highly consider singing over a longer term deal and there are some very intriguing players who have done similar. Duncan Keith (4 years, 1.75), Adam Pelech (4 years, 1.60), Kris Russell (3 years, 1.30)

Oilers Contract Offer: 3 Years at 1.45 Million Per

Darnell Nurse
82GP 6-20-26
Previous Contract: 863,333

The toughest one for last. The question here is simple. What is Nurse? Is he a second pairing puck mover? Can he grow into a top pairing D man? After 3 seasons of mostly full time NHL experience we still cannot answer that question which makes his next contract difficult to estimate. Will they go for a bridge deal or will they try and lock him up long term at a reasonable rate.

There are some good and bad comparables to look at here. On the longer term end we have Josh Manson (4 years, 4.1) Jake Gardiner (4 years, 4.05), Niklas Hjalmarsson (4 Years, 3.5). Hjalmarsson is probably the closest comparable out of these names in terms of games played and production.

Alternatively we are looking at a bridge deal. Cody Ceci (2 years, 2.8), Tyson Barrie (2 years, 2.6) Matt Dumba (2 years, 2.55) all seem to fall into the same cluster as Nurse.

Oilers Contract Offer: 2 Years at 2.8 Million Per

That was longer than I intended but I believe the information above is valid and a good starting point when looking at these summer deals.

All together this would be a cap hit of 8.425 to sign 5 players and ensure at least some of these players are locked up under deals which will help this team going forward.

Thanks for reading!

TLDR: Oilers RFA's get signed. Total of 8.425 million for all of them next year.
Filed Under:   oilers   edmonton   nurse   rfa  
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