By Tyler on May 11, 2014
The Edmonton Oilers had an absolutely brutal 2013-2014 season, as they finished at the bottom of the Western Conference with 67 points. Along the way, Edmonton ranked 24th in the NHL in goals scored and 30th in goals against, and their core of young players seemed to stop progressing. In order to turn things around next year, Edmonton will need to make massive changes, and these five players will surely not be coming back.
Jones has been a part of the Oilers for four seasons, but the winger seemed to lose steam during the 2013-2014 season. Over 52 games played, he compiled two goals, four assists, 40 penalty minutes and only averaged 9:50 on the ice per game. Not exactly a game-changing performance, and Edmonton will surely take advantage of Jones being an unrestricted free agent by letting him walk.
Belov had an uneventful rookie season with Edmonton, as he played in 57 games, but generally saw his playing time wane after the Olympic break. Belov seemingly noticed that Edmonton was less than enamored with his play, and as a result he signed a four year deal with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL in April.
Fraser was only acquired by Edmonton midway through the 2013-2014 season, and there is little reason to believe he will be coming back for another season. The 27-year-old has virtually no offensive ability, and doesn't have the defensive acumen to be a top-six defenseman on a playoff team. With an expiring contract and Edmonton being loaded with young defenseman, it only makes sense that Fraser moves on.
A former number one pick, Yakupov has great goal-scoring ability, and general offensive instincts, but things simply haven't worked out in Edmonton. During the 2013-2014 season, Yakupov compiled only 22 points in 63 games, and was a healthy scratch on numerous occasions. The 20-year-old may have a long future in the NHL, but Edmonton will surely look for, and find, a suitor for his services on the trade market this summer.
After playing 14 of his 18 seasons in Edmonton, Smyth has already announced that he will be retiring. At 38 years of age, this makes complete sense, and allows the Oilers to move on from the aging icon and begin to revamp their roster with new talent.
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