We’re at that point of the summer where the talk shifts from free agent signings and trades to training camp invites. Peter Chiarelli has used this method of procurement many times over the years, including multiple times in Edmonton.
Chiarelli invited Kris Versteeg and Eric Gryba to camp in 2016, signing Gryba and attempting to get Versteeg under contract before he headed to Calgary. Last fall, it was Chris Kelly who got the invite, although he failed to make the team and eventually signed in Anaheim in February.
Could the Oilers invite a player to training camp this year? It’s quite possible, as the team still doesn’t have an obvious 14th forward option. The club is likely set with defenders, but could be interested in adding bodies up front for the aforementioned depth position.
Here are a few candidates for a PTO in Edmonton.
There was smoke surrounding Bouma earlier this summer thanks to his relationship with Milan Lucic. On top of that, Bouma is a veteran winger who fits the Chiarelli/McLellan mold, and is the type of player you can stash in the pressbox for chunks of games at a time.
He got into 53 NHL games a year ago with Chicago, posting boxcars of 3-6-9 with a +1 rating and a Corsi For percentage of 50.7%.
Bouma doesn’t bring much offensively, and throughout his career has actually been a drag on possession. Bouma is decent defensively, but overall doesn’t bring a ton to the table at this stage of his career. He’s a potential PTO option, but I think the Oilers would be smart to steer clear of him.
The right-shot center is without a doubt my personal pick for a PTO. He is just 25-years old and has great underlying stats. He has some offensive pop as well, and could be a good fit on the fourth line should someone like Zack Kassian struggle again this season.
Shore posted 4-11-15 in 49 games for the Kings before getting dealt to Ottawa, where he played six games and registered a single assist before heading to the Flames at the deadline. He played in nine games for Calgary, posting 1-2-3 and an even +/- rating.
Per The Hockey News‘ scouting report, Shore “Owns excellent hockey sense and a pretty good shot. Reads plays well and is quite industrious on the ice. Displays two-way acumen. Can kill penalties well, too.”
The Alberta native is a left-shot right winger who brings a ton of NHL experience, defensive acumen and a gritty style. Upshall can help on the penalty kill, and formed a dangerous fourth line with new Oiler Kyle Brodziak when the duo was in St. Louis.
He posted 7-12-19 in 63 games last season, and is a strong candidate for fourth line work. He’s a player I’d have a ton of time for, and is someone that makes a lot of sense as a PTO. The Oilers, I believe, showed interest in the player early in the free agent process.
Speaking of players the Oilers showed interest in early in free agency, Chimera is still on the market and was open to returning to his hometown team and the team that drafted him back in 1997.
The offense has dried up with Chimera. He posted only 2-9-11 in 58 games with the Islanders before getting dealt to the Ducks at the deadline, where he posted 1-1-2 in 16 contests. Chimera played in two of the Ducks’ four postseason games, but went pointless in those affairs.
The 39-year old’s career is certainly coming to an end, but he does still have solid speed and can help on the penalty kill. That alone will probably get him an invite to camp. He fits the mold of player that Chiarelli took a chance on in Boston, as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was at camp next month.
Yup, Brouwer is without doubt a candidate for a camp invite. The Oilers showed a lot of interest in the player prior to him going to free agency in 2016. The reason that didn’t happen? The Oilers landed Lucic.
New Assistant Coach Glen Gulutzan coached Brouwer in Calgary, and he preferred the player to many of the younger options on his roster. Brouwer was, no doubt, a favorite of Gulutzan. Both of those things mean Edmonton is likely to show at least some interest in the player.
Brouwer plays a physical style, is a leader and brings over a decade of NHL experience to the table. He posted 6-16-22 in 76 games for the Flames last season, while clocking in with a Corsi For% of 50.1.
I’d have time for Brouwer on a cheap one-year deal, but Edmonton has enough players that duplicate his skill-set. I’m not sure there is a fit in Edmonton for this player.