The Edmonton Oilers were a very active team last week when free agency began, with a trio of notable names coming to the young franchise. Andrew Ference was the most notable, as he’ll see the biggest role, but don’t sleep on the additions of Boyd Gordon and Jason LaBarbera.
That goes for Gordon, in particular. The addition of the free agent forward wasn’t a flashy signing, nor will it be one that will be noticed every single night. In fact, the contract for Gordon, which will pay him $3 million, will be looked at as a bad contract, with little doubt that it was an overpayment.
But that doesn’t make the addition of Gordon to the mix any less important to the Oilers than it will be. This is a team that was in need of some serious help in the middle. Gordon not only gives them depth in the middle, but a consistency that they really lack in the faceoff circle. He’ll add a strong presence on the penalty kill to the equation as well.
The Oilers were completely depleted by injury in the middle last year. Sam Gagner appeared in every game, but Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Shawn Horcoff both missed time, leaving the Oilers extremely thin in the middle, and extremely unsuccessful at the dot.
That’s not the case so much anymore with Gordon in the mix. He’s been a pretty durable player over the past couple of years, despite a checkered injury history. As long as he can keep that up, the Oilers are getting a rock solid player in the middle, capable of winning draws against the best competition. He’s at 55 percent for his career, and was at 57 percent in his two years in Phoenix.
Again, it’s definitely an overpayment for a player who doesn’t bring much offensively, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be important to this team. The Oilers needed center depth badly, and they found a very capable player in Boyd Gordon.