The Risk of Unrestricted Free Agency: Oilers.

Ryan Hall
July 29, 2023  (12:05)

Over the years, NHL teams have embraced unrestricted free agency as a means to acquire top talent and bolster their lineups for a shot at the Stanley Cup. While the idea is sound, not all signings yield positive outcomes. The Edmonton Oilers have had their fair share of successes and failures in this regard. In this article, we will examine three players who were deemed costly disappointments for the team.

Sheldon Souray: In 2007, Sheldon Souray was highly regarded as a top unrestricted free agent (UFA). After the Oilers' appearance in the Stanley Cup finals in 2006, they were eager to find a replacement for the departed Chris Pronger. Souray's impressive 64-point season before signing with the Oilers justified his five-year, $27 million contract. However, as time passed, injuries plagued Souray's performance, and his game suffered as a result.
Dustin Penner: The summer of 2007 witnessed a contentious dispute between the Anaheim Ducks and the Edmonton Oilers over restricted free agent Dustin Penner. Oilers' president and general manager, Kevin Lowe, resorted to an offer sheet, an uncommon tactic, to acquire Penner. The Ducks were unable to match the five-year, $21.25 million contract, but the Oilers had to forfeit their first, second, and third-round draft picks for 2008. Unfortunately, Penner's tenure with the Oilers was marked by criticism from fans due to what they perceived as a lacklustre and lazy playing style.
Jack Campbell: The Oilers' most recent signing, Jack Campbell, has been a subject of controversy and disappointment. After an inconsistent few seasons and a particularly dismal playoff performance, Campbell left a bitter taste among Toronto Maple Leafs fans. However, it was the Edmonton Oilers who signed him to a five-year, $25 million contract, only to be met with subpar numbers, including a 3.41 goals against average and an .888 save percentage. With Stuart Skinner emerging as the starting goalie, Campbell's contract has become hard to justify, and fans expect significant improvement in his second year.
Unrestricted free agency in the NHL is a high-stakes gamble for general managers. While many signings prove successful, some turn out to be costly mistakes for the team. The Edmonton Oilers have experienced both sides of the coin, with players like Sheldon Souray, Dustin Penner, and Jack Campbell falling short of expectations. Ultimately, no crystal ball can predict the outcome of such signings, and mistakes in the free agency market can have long-lasting effects on a team's success.
29 JUILLET   |   246 ANSWERS
The Risk of Unrestricted Free Agency: Oilers.

Which UFA signing was the Oilers worst?

Sheldon Souray5823.6 %
Jack Campbell12651.2 %
Dustin Penner6225.2 %
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