Q: With the Edmonton Oilers in the midst of their rebuild, who is the best free agent they could sign this summer?
A: The Oilers will be targeting defencemen if they go the free-agent route, but there is a difference between who could sign and who will sign. There is no stampede of free agents wanting to sign with a 29th-place team, even if they have Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to build around. Free agents like to sign with teams that have a shot at the Stanley Cup, so they don’t have to bide their time. They’re not getting Ryan Suter of the Nashville Predators, somebody the Detroit Red Wings are likely targeting. They aren’t getting Brad Stuart, who wants to relocate back to California where his family has been living while he’s played in Detroit. The others are Dennis Wideman (Washington Capitals), Matt Carle (Philadelphia Flyers), Filip Kuba (Ottawa Senators), Carlo Colaiacovo (St. Louis Blues) and Joe Corvo (Boston Bruins). Would any of those cause you to start dancing?
There has been rumors that the Oilers are willing to trade their early round pick for an established defenceman. There are no top pairing d-men available on the free agent market.