Friday, July 11, 2008

Small Reason to Write About Edmonton

It's been a pretty slow signing summer for Kevin Lowe up in Edmonton, but he has swung a couple deals to improve his team. Deals, however, don't garner much for team updates, so I've had to wait for a signing before I break it all down for you.

On Thursday, the Oilers signed forward/defenseman, Jason Strudwick, to a 1-year deal, which has a cap hit of $650,000. Strudwick played last season in the Big Apple, scoring a goal and an assist in 52 games. He isn't necessarily you're top pool type player. For the Sherpa's pool sake, he's considered to be more of a defenseman and it's likely, that his role will be more on the blueline in Edmonton.

The team also signed restricted free agents, Marc-Andre Pouliot and Jean-Francois Jacques to new deals, but they have yet to crack the roster full-time.

Ales HemskyLubomir VisnovskyMathieu Garon
Erik ColeTom GilbertDwayne Rolson
Shawn HorcoffSteve Staios
Sam GagnerSheldon Souray
Dustin PennerLadislav Smid
Andrew CoglianoJason Strudwick
Robert Nilsson
Kyle Brodziak
Fernando Pisani
Ethan Moreau
Gilbert Brule

With the inclusion of Strudwick, the team now has 20 players signed on for next season at a salary cap hit of $51.8 million. This would likely explain the lack of big signings in Edmonton, the lack of roster and cap space. The team now has $5.9 million left in space for three active players and it could be guys like Pouliot and Jacques who fill those gaps at low pay rates.

The team has to be charged up after picking up Erik Cole, Gilbert Brule and Lubomir Visnovsky in deals this summer, because those three bring some immediate improvement to the side. They already have three young talented forwards in Gagner, Cogliano and Nilsson along with veterans Hemsky and Horcoff. You also can't forget about the potential of getting a full season out of Souray. It's an exciting prospect on paper for the Oilers, especially if they can get quality goaltending out of Garon and Roloson.

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