The Edmonton Oilers re-signed one of several restricted free agents on Thursday. The club locked up Drake Caggiula, the first notable move since signing KHL goaltender Mikko Koskinen a little over a month ago and Ty Rattie two weeks prior to that.
What does this move mean for the Oilers?
Well, that depends on the terms. It’s been reported that the two-year deal is worth $1.5 million annually. This is exactly the type of deal I think ‘The Drake’ is worth. Caggiula has put up almost identical statistical seasons in his first two years in the NHL.
He played in 60 games in his rookie year where he had a total of 18 points (7G-11A). He became more of a factor in the playoffs suiting up for 13 games netting three goals before the Oilers were eliminated by the Ducks in the Western Semi-FInal.
In his Sophomore season, Caggiula played just seven more games than in 2016-17, finishing with two more points at 20 (13G-7A). Numbers that balance out to the same as the year prior.
So, who is Drake Caggiula?
Going into the 2017-18 season, it appeared Caggiula’s previous playoff performance heightened the hopes for what his production and role would be with the Oilers. There was some talk last summer that the undrafted forward would eventually make his way up to the second line.
However, he had a hard enough time just cracking the line-up playing in just 67 games. Realistically Drake Caggiula is a third or fourth line forward. His offensive numbers aren’t where they need to be for him to be more than that. But he brings a physicality that is very difficult not to love.
So as an RFA it’s nice to see the team bring him back for two more years and for decent value. Caggiula made just $925,000 a season in his first two years in the NHL and has shown at times; he belongs here. So, a bit of a raise is understandable. I would have liked to see that number be a tad bit less, but I can’t complain about anything under $2 million.
With just over $8 million in cap space now to work with, locking up these type of value contracts is crucial for GM Peter Chiarelli. He already kept the Rattie deal low ($800,000) but may have over-payed a bit for Koskinen ($2.5 million), so the Caggiula deal needed to be at a great value.
Add to that the fact that Darnell Nurse, Matt Benning, and Ryan Strome are all RFA’s this July with Nurse being the next young star to get a bigger deal possibly.
Peter Chiarelli can either keep looking for bargains heading into next month or work to make one of the trade rumours we’ve been hearing about to come true in moving a higher priced player like Milan Lucic or Oscar Klefbom.
Tis the business you do when you must spend $21 million annually on your two best centres.