With the deadline coming and going for the Edmonton Oilers to extend qualifying offers to their restricted free agents, only Ladislav Smid, Taylor Chorney, Theo Peckham, Andrew Cogliano, and Ryan O’Marra remain under the Oilers control. Left to walk are Zack Stortini, JF Jacques, Jim Vandermeer, Steve MacIntyre, Jeff Deslauriers, Martin Gerber, and Jason Strudwick. Next up for the Oilers is free agency, which opens this morning at 10 AM MT.
As we get further along in our year in review, it will come as no real surprise that the players who are set to be unrestricted free agents were not extended qualifying offers. In a nutshell, Stortini, MacIntyre, and Strudwick were ineffective, Jacques has been a mixture of inconsistency and injury, and with Nikolai Khabibulin signed to a long-term contract and Devan Dubnyk currently looking like he could be the Oilers goalie of the future, there was just no need to bring back Gerber or Deslauriers. Vandermeer is perhaps the only potential loss, as he provided a reliable veteran presence on the Edmonton blueline. But it’s not outside the realm of possibility that he’s brought back for the next couple of seasons.
Out of the players who were brought back, the only one that can be considered questionable is Andrew Cogliano. After coming onto the team with Sam Gagner, the two were supposed to be the faces of the franchise for the foreseeable future. Since then, Gagner’s play has plateaued, and he looks like a typical second line centre, while Cogliano has regressed, and looks no better than a bottom-six scorer. But given has age, and the amount of skill he possesses, no matter how enigmatic, it’s worth the team’s while to see if he can turn out to be a late-bloomer/post-hype sleeper. As long as he’s not offered a long-term deal, it’s a risk free investment on the Oilers part, with the potential for a pretty solid return.