While July 1st wasn't a busy day for the Edmonton Oilers on the free agent market, they still had their fair share of items to deal with on Canada Day. They managed to not only re-sign potential unrestricted free agents Ryan Smyth and Darcy Hordichuk but also had newly signed Justin Schultz, roll into town for his introduction news conference.
Just prior to the free agent market opening for business, Smyth and General Manger Steve Tambellini put the final touches to a two year contract extension for the veteran winger. The deal will see him earn $ 4.5 million over the length of the contract, which works out to a $2.5 million cap hit. The thirty-six year old is coming off a season in which he potted nineteen goals and put up forty-six points in his return to Edmonton. Problem being, only twenty of those points came over the last two-thirds of the season. While Smyth may still have something to offer, he will need to accept the fact that he will no longer be counted on as a top six forward.
As for Hordichuk, the Oilers tough guy did make it to free agency but decided to stay in Edmonton, agreeing to a one year deal for $850, 000. The thirty-one year old appeared in only forty-three games for the Oil last season, picking up three points and collecting sixty-four minutes in penalties, but the veteran enforcer believes he will have a shot at a bigger role under new head coach Ralph Krueger. While he won't be a guy that will dress every night, Hordichuk is hoping to see the ice more than the two minutes a night he played last season.
In Schultz, the Oilers have finally found that young offensive defenceman they have been searching long and hard for. The soon to be twenty-two year old, doesn't expect to be handed anything and is coming to camp looking to win a spot inside the top six. According to the former 2008 second round pick, Edmonton was always high on his list of potential suitors and after meeting with the likes of Krueger and Taylor Hall, his decison was even easier.
“When I knew I was going to go through this process, Edmonton was always in the back of my mind ... with the young talent they have here, I always saw myself fitting in pretty good.” On talking with Krueger, "When he was talking to me I was all fired up. I was getting chills,” said Schultz.
The British Columbia native agreed in principal on a two-year entry level contract with the Oilers on Saturday afternoon, that was finalized Sunday morning. The two year pact is worth $925,000 a season and will see Schultz receive a $92,500 signing bonus. Like most entry level deals, it includes potential bonus triggers, that could see the former University of Wisconsin blueliner collect up to $3.755 million a season. All and all, a pretty good deal for the kid and a great signing for Edmonton.