The news cycle involving the Edmonton Oilers has picked up significantly this week. On Tuesday, the club parted ways with VP of Player Personnel Duane Sutter and Media Relations man JJ Hebert. Later in the day, it was impressive AHL rookie Logan Day who signed his entry-level deal with the club.
Today, the Oil took care of a little more house keeping with the signing of goaltender Olivier Rodrigue. The 62nd overall pick in last year’s entry draft agreed to a three-year entry-level deal with the club earlier today that likely will take effect in the fall of 2020.
Rodrigue posted a 35-9-3 record this past season with a .902 save percentage and a 2.43 GAA in 48 games for the QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs. Although a .902 save percentage might not jump off the page, Rodrigue ranked 11th overall in terms of save percentage in the Q among goalies who played 1000 or more minutes.
Rodrigue has one more season of junior eligibility remaining and it is a pretty good bet that he’ll spend it in the Q. The Oilers already have Shane Starrett, Dylan Wells and Stuart Skinner under contract at the minor league level, and will have to make a decision on Hayden Hawkey in the coming weeks. There just isn’t enough room to rush him at this time.
Although, with Rodrigue able to turn pro next season, this might be a sign that the Oilers are going to pass on signing Hawkey. The Providence College netminder must be signed before August or he will become a free agent.
The slow play is usually the smart way to go when it comes to goaltenders, and a second junior season appears to be in the cards for Rodrigue. The good news for him? He’s done enough to prove to Edmonton that he was worth such a high pick, and he’s earned at least three seasons of professional hockey. Consider the first obstacle cleared for Rodrigue.
Oilers After Nygard:
Uffe Bodin, the editor in chief of Hockeysverige.se, is reporting that the Oilers and Calgary Flames are the apparent finalists for the services of left winger Joakim Nygard.
The Edmonton Oilers or the Calgary Flames? It sounds if it’s down to a Battle of Alberta for the services of undrafted Swedish free agent forward Joakim Nygård. A decision is expected soon.— Uffe Bodin (@UffeBodin) May 22, 2019
Nygard scored 21 goals in 52 SHL games this past season for Farjestads BK Karlstad. Overall, Nygard registered 35 points (21-14-35), which edged out his 2017-18 total (34 points) for his best season in the SHL.
Nygard was listed as a potential target for the club back in March by BeerLeagueHeroe, who wrote about the Swede here.
I recommend clicking on the link and checking out the whole piece, there is a lot of interesting stuff in there, but here is just a snippet of Nygard’s scouting report from BLH’s piece.
Nygard is under contract with Farjestad BK for the next three years, but an agreement between the NHL and SHL means Nygard could head to North America if he does accept a deal. Nygard is one of the fastest skaters in the SHL and has been a recurring member of Farjestad’s special teams unit. Scouts like Nygard’s defensive instincts and his speed allows him to get back to deal with trouble in his own zone while creating opportunities at the other end of the ice.
We’ll see if the Oilers are able to secure his services, or if another free agent will get away and find himself down the highway with the rival Flames.