The Edmonton Oilers took a flier on Riley Sheahan Thursday, inking the veteran center to a one-year deal worth $900,000. Sheahan might not be the only late summer addition for the club. The Oilers open training camp next week, but they are still looking to the free agent market for help.
As per TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Oilers have expressed interest in veteran Patrick Marleau. Dreger even took it a step further, saying “There has been discussions with Edmonton.” Dreger revealed this information on Thursday afternoon during a hit on TSN1050’s OverDrive.
Marleau, who played each of the last two seasons in Toronto, was bought out earlier this summer. He was dealt, along with a 2020 first round pick, to Carolina in an attempt to free up salary cap space for the Leafs. After the deal, the Canes bought out Marleau due to his lack of interest in playing for them.
The hope, on Marleau’s side, was that a return to San Jose would be in the cards. The Sharks have had, to this point, no interest in a reunion and have let that be known. Marleau is willing to continue his career elsewhere. That includes Edmonton.
Marleau struggled last season in Toronto, but could still be an asset for the Oilers. He did score 16 goals, which would have put him fifth on the Oilers. His Corsi For at five-on-five of 50.3% also would have put him in the upper-echelon of Oilers forwards. It’s worth noting, however, that his Corsi Rel was -1.9.
Marleau, in my opinion, is still a decent bet to play middle-six minutes while bringing leadership ability to the table. I don’t think it is out of the realm of possibility that Marleau could handle a role on the second powerplay unit and still score roughly 15 goals this coming season. It’s not a game breaking total, but it would be a vast improvement on Edmonton’s depth from a season ago.
I, personally, also really value what he brings to the room. The Milan Lucic experience was a total disaster, but the club could use some veteran leadership in that locker room. With Andrej Sekera gone, adding a guy like Marleau could fill the leadership void. After all, Marleau does know how to connect with today’s young player. He was a favorite of Toronto’s young core players. I think that counts for something.
If Marleau is willing to play on a deal that pays him roughly $1,000,000 per season, then it would be a no-brainer for the Oilers to sign him. They still need help on the wings, and I’d argue they still need a proven veteran to come here and help lead their young stars. Marleau is far from perfect, he’s clearly in decline and is close to being done, but he could help in 2019-20.
Ken Holland likes his veterans, evident by the Sheahan signing. Adding someone like Marleau can only help, and it is clear that Holland agrees enough to at least investigate the possibility.