Earlier this year Speeds at IOF suggested that the cap should rise to somewhere in the neighbourhood of 53.3 million dollars. Given that a completely accurate number isn’t really necessary for my purposes, we’ll just assume that figure is correct for now. Given that, an offer sheet of $819,571.74 or less this offseason will garner no compensation. This gives teams a great new opportunity to steal young depth from opponents. Is this appropriate for the Oilers? It would seem so. The beauty of being owned by the Batmillionaire is that we can bury guys on one-way contracts in the minors if they don’t win a spot in camp. If they're claimed on waivers, so much the better. Camp is more competitive and we obtain potential NHL players for no assets other than money.
There are really two groups of players one could target: semi-failed prospects and young low level NHL players. Examples of the first sort on the Oilers might include J.F. Jacques and Marc Pouliot. If the Bruins are interested in J.F. Jacques why not try to acquire him for free. If they sign him to a one-way deal at $800,000 for a year, I think that the Oilers would be tempted to let him go. If they sign him but then decide to send him down on waivers, the Bruins would have the opportunity of acquiring him for free there too. A guy like Pouliot could get a similar offer from a divisional opponent with weak bottom six depth, like the Vancouver Luongos. They can acquire a player they can use and in the process hurt Edmonton’s organizational depth, or force the Oilers to spend more money than they'd like on Pouliot. Why the heck not! With low-level guys I'm thinking of a guy like Stortini. Would you pay Stortini $800,000 per over two years, or would you let him walk for nothing? If nothing else, a team could limit how much Edmonton can spend on other players by offering this kind of deal.
In the next few weeks, I'd like to look at some guys the Oilers might consider. First up is Jeff Tambellini, who has elicited some discussion in the past, currently owned by the New York Islanders and due a QO of 1.04M. If they offer him a two-way QO and he declines, we might be able to get away with a one-way deal larger than the Islanders are willing to pay. Here is Tambellini's career so far:
Age 18 NCAA – Michigan (43gp) .605 G/gm .442 A/gm 1.047 P/gm
Age 19 NCAA – Michigan (39gp) .385 G/gm .308 A/gm 0.693 P/gm
Age 20 NCAA – Michigan (42gp) .571 G/gm .786 A/gm 1.357 P/gm
Age 21 AHL – Manchester (56gp).446 G/gm .554 A/gm 1.000 P/gm
Age 22 AHL – Bridgeport (50gp) .600 G/gm .580 A/gm 1.180 P/gm
Age 23 AHL – Bridgeport (46gp) .630 G/gm .630 A/gm 1.260 P/gm
He put up a point per game at 21 and has imporved bit by bit at age 22 and age 23. He’s up with the Isles right now, who are probably trying to see if they want to sign him. Jeff comes to us from the magic 2003 draft where everything turns to gold unless you were drafted by an Oiler or ex-Oiler. Let’s compare him to a couple of collegians who have made something of themselves: Zach Parise, and Drew Stafford:
Age 18 NCAA – N. Dakota (39gp) .667 G/gm .897 A/gm 1.564 P/gm
Age 19 NCAA – N. Dakota (37gp) .623 G/gm .864 A/gm 1.487 P/gm
Age 20 AHL – Albany (73gp) .247 G/gm .548 A/gm 0.795 P/gm
Age 18 NCAA – N. Dakota (36gp) .306 G/gm .583 A/gm 0.889 P/gm
Age 19 NCAA – N. Dakota (40gp) .325 G/gm .550 A/gm 0.875 P/gm
Age 20 NCAA – N. Dakota (41gp) .585 G/gm .561 A/gm 1.146 P/gm
Age 21 AHL – Rochester (34gp) .647 G/gm .647 A/gm 1.294 P/gm
I’ve only included minor league games of which Tambellini has a lot more. Tambellini is ahead of Stafford through the college years but falls behind once they turn pro. At a guess, Stafford must have been feeling some luck in his 34 games in the A because that is some ridiculous improvement from age 20 to 21. Parise’s AHL numbers are a little less and a year younger, but his college numbers best the other two significantly. Nonetheless, Jeff’s numbers look to me like NHL quality. He is probably able to play in the NHL, which is what he’s doing right now: his Quality of Competition currently ranks 11th out of 13 forwards on the Islanders that have played at least twenty games and his Quality of Teammates is 4th of 13. He is also the one of three forwards on the team with a negative Corsi number and he is scoring at a rate of 0.71 ESP/60, which puts him 10th. That's a lot of bad in 254.28 ES minutes.
To sum up, he's probably not worth a flyer on a one-year one-way deal at $800,000 given that hurting the Isles doesn't do a whole lot for the Oilers and if I had to choose between him and Pouliot, I'd take Marc since he's shown a bit more at the NHL level (specifically, the tail end of 06-07).
Next up: Martin St. Pierre