Look for the Edmonton Oilers to make a big push to re-sign Sam Gagner to a long-term contract.
Gagner is scheduled to become a restricted free agent this summer and, if he inks a one-year deal, an unrestricted free agent in 2014. "Sam likes it here, he has been a valuable member of our team and is always trending up and he'll be a guy that we'll be looking to sign," Oilers GM Craig MacTavish said. Gagner took a step up this season with 14 goals and 38 points in 48 contests.
The Edmonton Oilers haven't made a final determination regarding their plans for Shawn Horcoff.
Horcoff had just seven goals and 12 points in 31 games this season despite the fact that he comes with a team-high $5.5 million cap hit. That's led to some speculation that the Oilers might buyout Horcoff's contract. Oilers GM Craig MacTavish feels Horcoff has "gotta get energized as well and we'll see what happens or what the summer has in store for Shawn and the Edmonton Oilers." In the meantime, MacTavish will be looking to acquire a big center.
It doesn't sound like the Edmonton Oilers will re-sign Nikolai Khabibulin.
Khabibulin will become an unrestricted free agent this summer. "The problem with Nik, from our perspective, is that he's a 40 year old body who wasn't able to stay as healthy as what you need," Oilers GM Craig MacTavish said. He added that the Oilers would be looking for a couple goaltenders. Khabibulin had a 2.54 GAA and .923 save percentage in 12 games, so there's a chance he'll be able to find a backup gig elsewhere.
Andy Sutton has decided to retire.
Sutton wasn't able to play in 2013 due to a knee injury. He had 38 goals and 150 points in 676 games with the San Jose Sharks, Minnesota Wild, Atlanta Thrashers, New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators, Anaheim Ducks, and Edmonton Oilers. "My NHL career enabled me to not only play the game I love, but to also be a part of something that so many kids dream about growing up," Sutton said. "Throughout my 15 years in the league, I have played for some exceptional hockey teams and have met quality people and friends along the way. None of what I accomplished on the ice would have been possible without the unwavering support of my family, friends, teammates and fans who made playing hockey even more enjoyable."
Detroit Red Wings forward Damien Brunner has a lot of respect for what Edmonton Oilers coach Ralph Krueger did for hockey in Switzerland.
Krueger coached the Swiss national team before becoming the Oilers' bench boss. "With Krueger we got pretty consistent making the quarterfinals, he did a great job," Brunner said. "For Switzerland he made them believe we could take the next step. Then when he left, Sean Simpson took over and he's been able to take the next step by winning a quarterfinal and winning a semifinal. But Ralph Krueger did a great job over the time he was there." Switzerland ended up falling short in the gold medal game, but it was still their best showing in the tournament since 1935.
The deadly tornado that tore through Oklahoma on Monday was only half a mile from the practice facility of the Oilers' AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City.
"All of our guys are safe and accounted for," said Barons general manager Bill Scott. "We're good. Our guys live on the north side of the city or in the downtown area. Our staff was in the office downtown. Some of them live in Moore but all are accounted for." The storm absolutely devastated the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, leveling houses for blocks at a time. Defenseman Alex Plante is one of the players who lives in Moore. "I'd come downtown for a dentist appointment and the family I was staying with in Moore, who adopted three Downs Syndrome kids, managed to get the kids out of their school before the lockdowns," said Plante, who also noted he didn't want to see the damage caused by the storm.
Alex Hemsky will likely be dealt in the off-season according to The Edmonton Journal.
The injury-prone forward is quite the scorer when healthy but he has been anything but the last four seasons as he has missed 118 games in that span. "I don't think there's a market for him . . .I shouldn't say there's no market," said former NHL GM Craig Button, who now works for TSN. "But the salary cap is coming down to $64.3 million. He makes $5 million for one more year. Would the Oilers pick up half of that to trade him, 50-50 (with another team)? That would still free up $2.5 million in cap space for the Oilers. I don't know if they can get something tangible in return for Hemsky. Andrew Cogliano got the Oilers a second-round draft (pick). I don't know if they can get that for Hemsky." Hemsky has struggled the last two seasons with 20 points in 38 games this season and 36 points in 69 games in 2011-12 but was a point-a-game player, or close to it, before that.