The Edmonton Oilers head into a pretty big summer for them, as they’re a team that isn’t too far off from being a playoff contender in the Western Conference. For the most part, they have a pretty good idea of where they need to upgrade in building around their impressive core of young talent.
One piece that they could use in the mix is a sizable forward rolling in their top six, or at the very least in their top nine. This is a lineup that lacks physicality overall, but could really use a skilled big guy in their lineup. It could go a long way towards improving their club overall.
Luckily, there are plenty of power forward options set to hit the market as free agents this summer. The issue is finding one that is a reasonable price, as almost all of them will cost a pretty penny, and one that would be the right fit for a young team like Edmonton. Which pretty much takes Ryane Clowe out of the equation.
Clowe is one of those free agents available, and brings a devastating physical game to the mix, but has health issues that make him a pretty concerning option. He’ll command at least $4 million a year on a thin market, and probably isn’t worth the risk for most teams, though someone will take a chance on him.
The much more likely options could be someone like Bryan Bickell or David Clarkson. Bickell is riding a brilliant postseason to a big contract, but is young and has shown potential in his game for quite some time. He’s a big, physical presence with good hands. Clarkson has proven to be a steady source of goal scoring up front, while also bringing size to the forward ranks.
Regardless of which direction the Oilers choose to go in with a physical forward, they should be looking at a skilled big man, not Ben Eager. There are options out there for them to pursue in free agency this summer, and they have a bit of money to play around with. A power forward should be a priority.