Two RFA's re-signed with the Oilers today, one an up-and-coming goalie, the other a young energy line player with injury trouble. Let's start off with the goalie, shall we?
The Oilers put a smile on the face of most fans when they re-signed goalie Devan Dubnyk to a two-year contract today. The deal is a one-way contract and will pay Dubs $800,000 this season.
Dubnyk saw his first NHL action last season, after an injury to goalie Nik Khabibulin ended the vet's season. Dubynk played well in most of his starts, but had a record of 4-10-2, with a 3.57 GAA and a .889 Save percentage.
Dubnyk will be on the Oilers roster this season, no doubt about that, but his role is still up for debate. JDD has yet to sign a contract and is still an RFA, while Khabibulin has a pending DUI case, and back issues, right now.
If it's up to me, Dubnyk will be the Oilers backup next season if Khabibulin is brought back. If the Oilers can get out of Khabibulin's contract, I expect Dubs to be the Oilers starting goalie. The Oilers were nothing short of horrible last season. And now, with a better team in front of him, I'd love to see what Dubs can do.
The Oilers also re-signed forward JF Jacques. JFJ signed a one-year deal. The one-way contract will pay him $615,000 for the season.
This was a good move for the Oilers, although some experts tend to disagree. Most critics think he is a waste of space and can't score. Well here's something to think about for you so called "experts."
JFJ is an energy guy who Pat Quinn used incorrectly last season. Quinn tried to put JFJ in a role where he would be a power forward and was expected to score goals. JFJ isn't that type of guy.
Jacques hits everyone on the other team. Not only can he hit, but he is a big boy who loves to fight. He could be a great fourth line player for Edmonton this coming season.
Don't expect him to score goals, but expect him to go out and hit everyone on the other team. He could very well be the NHL leader in hits this season. Isn't that what toughness is about? Think about that. Welcome back, Jacques!
The Oilers also added a UFA to the roster today. Edmonton made a depth move, signing defender Shawn Belle (Pictured above) to a one-year, two-way contract. Money was not made public.
Belle was the 30th overall pick by the Blues in 2003 and is only 25 years old. Could he possibly find the skill he once had, and make it to the NHL? Not sure.
Belle has unreal speed when it comes to skating. And according to Ryan Rishaug of TSN, he is the best defensive skater in the Oilers system. I expect Belle to get a look at Oilers camp in September. When October comes around, however, I expect him to be a Baron in OKC. I think we will see Belle a few times this season due to injury call up.
Belle will be depended on at the AHL level, and could be used in a leadership role in OKC. It is yet another good depth signing by Steve Tambellini and the Oilers.
With these signings in the book, the Oilers turn their focus to re-signing forwards Gilbert Brule and Sam Gagner. Both will be key cogs for the offense this season.
The Oilers are expected to name the assistant coaches this season, and possibly the Head Coach in OKC later this week. No word on an assistant GM at this time, however.
Another blog coming in a day or two with what I hope will be the names of the new Oiler assistants. I will also look into another possible Sheldon Souray rumor. Until then, enjoy the summer folks!
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