Edmonton Oilers Add Depth By Signing Foster and Fraser, Trading for Vandermeer

Alex ThomasContributor IJuly 2, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 16:  Kurtis Foster #6 of the Tampa Bay Lightning shoots the puck during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on November 16, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona. The Lightning defeated the Coyotes 4-1.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Well Oilers fans, its been a busy two days.

Remember in my last blog I wrote that the Oilers waived Moreau, O'Sullivan and Nilsson in order to buy them out? Well, they got off the hook big time.

Ethan Moreau was claimed off waivers by the Columbus Blue Jackets. In Moreau the Jackets get an older winger who brings some leadership and a good role player. Moreau was desperate for a change and so were the Oilers.

I'm glad he was claimed and I know Steve Tambellini and Kevin Lowe are too. Good luck in Columbus Ethan! The best part of this for the Oilers is that they are off the hook and do not have to pay Ethan a cent this season.

The Oilers then made a trade, this time with the Phoenix Coyotes. The Oilers sent troubled winger Patrick O'Sullivan to the Coyotes and got Defender Jim Vandermeer in return. The Coyotes went ahead and bought out O'Sullivan.

Now, for some people this deal makes no sense.

Why would the Yotes trade for, then buy out O'Sullivan?

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The reason is they were going to buy out Vandermeer. The Oilers liked Vandermeer and wanted him on their roster. It costs the Coyotes less money to buy out O'Sullivan than it would to buy out Vandermeer.

The deal makes sense for both sides.

On the Oilers side, they add some toughness to the back end. Vandermeer is a big boy and brings some size to the backend. Not only that, but he can also hit and he is more than willing to drop the gloves. Vandermeer has really no offensive upside, but is a good defender and a guy who should help the Oilers on their third pairing this season.

The Oilers also tried to trade Robert Nilsson to a team, but had no luck and ended up having to buy-out the young forward. As I have said before, Nilsson has tons of potential, but just didn't put enough effort into it and really didn't show up every night ready to go. Nilsson became a UFA today, and it sounds like he had little to no interest from teams. Best of luck trying to find a new home Rob!

Now all those moves are going to help the Oilers this coming season, but they were all done on June 30th.

Now what happened today, July 1st? 

The Oilers didn't exactly have a free agent frenzy like most teams, but they signed a defender who is the perfect replacement to Sheldon Souray. They signed defender Kurtis Foster to a 2 year contract that will pay him 1.8 Million per season.

Foster had the 2nd most points of any free agent defender this season, behind only Sergei Gonchar. Last season Foster had 42 points playing in Tampa Bay.

He has a great shot, one of the hardest around, and is known as a Power Play QB. Foster is also a leader in the locker room and he is a top four defender who wants to be in Edmonton. I see him with Smid on the second pairing this season.

Foster is also a cheaper defender than Souray and has an impact just as good. He played last season after breaking his left femur in March 2008, and missed a ton of time due to the injury. He has made a return to the NHL and made an impact this past season.

He also seems to replace Souray.

Souray was brought in to run the Power Play, bring his BIG shot with him, bring size, leadership and be a physical guy.

Kurtis Foster brings all the same tools as Souray. I'd expect Kurtis to be a fan favorite by the end of the season, and to really impress fans everywhere.

The Oilers also re-signed Center Colin Fraser today to a two-year deal.

Fraser was traded to Edmonton from Chicago before the draft, in exchange for a sixth round pick in last Friday's NHL entry draft. Fraser's contract will pay him a little over $800,000 per season.

He adds grit to the Oilers fourth line and is a center that can win faceoffs and play on the PK. He is the type of player Oilers fans have said that the team has needed for years.

While the Oilers only made one signing today, they were very active.

The Oilers were in on forward Colby Armstrong, but the Maple Leafs put the money up too high for the Oilers.

They were also in on Derek Boogaard, but the Rangers gave him a big overpayment and the Oilers backed out.

The Oilers also offered defender John Scott a contract to be the team's enforcer, but he elected to sign with the Chicago Blackhawks.

They had talks with many teams about Sheldon Souray, but were unable to come to a deal. Rumors floating around on twitter suggest that the Oilers are still looking at some players, and are ready to make some offers.

The Oilers are looking for third and fourth line players and an enforcer to protect the young kids, a tough guy like George Laraque was once upon a time.

They could end up signing Eric Belanger, who is seen as one of the top faceoff guys in the NHL and premier PK'er in the league. The Oilers will be signing more players, but they will be AHL guys and third and fourth liners.

Also, look for forward Andrew Cogliano and defender Sheldon Souray to be traded very soon.

The next big thing for the Oilers, outside of trading Souray and Cogliano and signing some depth players, and NHL third and fourth liners, is to re-sign the RFA's.

Fraser became the first to re-sign today, and you would have to think that Sam Gagner and Gilbert Brule will re-sign too. Theo Peckham and both JDD and DD, the Oilers RFA goalies, should get contracts soon. 

UFA day was July first, but its just the start of UFA week!

There are still tons of good NHL players to be signed, and trades to be made, stay tuned as I will post up anything Oilers when it happens.

You can follow me on twitter for up-to-the-minute NHL and Oilers news @AToilfan83.

Should be interesting to see what happens in the coming days.

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