EDMONTON OILERS: CENTERS AND PTO'S | Oilersnetwork.com - Edmonton Oilers News and Rumours


There has been a lot of buzz lately regarding centers and PTO invites this summer. The chatter stems from the Oilers sending their three main centermen, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Connor McDavid to the World Cup of Hockey, which if all goes well for their respective teams, could bleed over into training camp.

It's unlikely that any of these players will miss significant time, but it doesn't change the fact that the Edmonton Oilers will need to prepare for a hugely important upcoming NHL season. They have holes to fill and systems to run with a full camp of players.

Jarret Stoll is a viable option on a PTO for the Oilers. Photo By Wendy

How do the Oilers head into camp and potentially pre-season with only one bonafide NHL center (Mark Letestu) on the roster? The answer is they don't. This is why media and those with a close ear to the situation think it's only a matter of time before the Oilers starting inviting some of the unsigned UFA's to camp.

Jarret Stoll

Stoll still has a few tools that could come in beneficial for the Oilers. He's a great faceoff guy, has some special-teams ability — kills penalties and has played point on the powerplay — and can fill in as an experienced third of fourth line center. He's played 872 NHL games, been to the cup finals with the Oilers in 2006, and after leaving Edmonton, has won two Stanley Cups with other teams.

The biggest thing in Stoll's favor is that while he didn't play time last year in Minnesota on the powerplay, he is effective at it and has a cannon from the point. The Oilers don't have a single player on the roster known for their powerful shot and this skill alone could make Stoll a moonlight player on a second-unit.

Update: Jarett Stoll has signed a PTO with the Columbus Blue Jackets as of this afternoon.

Shawn Horcoff

We discussed Horcoff the other day here. He's already come out as hinting that he's closer to retirement than he would be signing a PTO with the Oilers or any other team for that matter. I suppose things could change, but Edmonton won't be signing Horcoff to any sort of guaranteed contract, so this is a long-shot at best.

Cody Hodgson

There's a bit of chatter with this player, but I can't seem to wrap my head around as to why. Hodgson came into the NHL with one skill set, which was to produce offense and score goals. In 2012 and 2013 he was average and he does have NHL talent, but since then has been nothing shy of a major disappointment and has floated around in NHL obscurity.

I get that a PTO isn't a guarantee and that the NHL team who offers it, isn't on the hook for anything, but clearly Hodgson has one of two problems. His confidence to play in the NHL is either completely shot, or between the ears he needs major motivation. How can a player so highly touted be so lackadaisical in his approach to preparing for NHL employment? He's also not really a regular center in the NHL and the Oilers don't need another winger.

Mike Richards

Richards is an interesting case. At one point, he was clearly one of the better centers in the NHL, but his game took a turn and he became the guy that nobody seemed to want. He got himself in some legal trouble and is taking the long road back to finding his place in the league.

His last real NHL sample size was with the Washington Capitals, where last season he played 39 games and had five points. Underwhelming offense doesn't make him a guy you'd look to immediately, but he has a strong Corsi % and is pretty effective at stopping the rush and being sound defensively. He's a decent faceoff center of his career and averaged about 12 minutes per game which is more than some of the other fourth line centers still available.

Dominic Moore

Played last season with the Rangers and has some offense. Is an incredible faceoff guy, plays more than 13 minutes per game and the only knock on the Oilers signing him is that he's a left-handed shooter, where the Oilers could use a righty.

Moore is a bit older at 36, in fact, he's probably the oldest of the lot still available, but he brings with him a vast array of experiences that can help with a younger, more inexperienced Oilers team.

Update: According to multiple reports. Moore just signed a one-year contract with the Boston Bruins. 

There are so many options available in free agency that it seems silly the Oilers wouldn't invite at least two players to camp on a PTO. The money won't be an issue, there is no long-term commitment involved and Edmonton could use the help.

But, who cares what I think right? For now, I'll just keep my mouth shut until I feel like spilling my guts again.

Jim Parsons is a business owner, husband, father and sports fan. For more information about Oilersnetwork.com founder and Oil Spill articles author Jim Parsons, click here.

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  1. The first two centers you listed.. Stoll and Horcoff, have both had substance abuse backgrounds, they are both ex-oilers, and they are both in decline. We already have Zack Kassian who himself has had substance abuse issues. Stoll and Horcoff were the Oilers of the past. Please move on. Were trying to build a winner with NEW parts. Why does everyone keep wanting to bring in old guys and has beens?

    1. Stoll has had nearly two seasons worry free of those issues. If he can help and provide value it makes little sense not to at least explore the option.

    2. Stoll would be a great addition to Edmonton if they offered him a try out and if he was ready to play. I would rather have him over Lander and even Letestu. Wins faceoffs and shoots right. Fits two bills to improve the team.

    3. I like the idea of Stoll mostly because he has the experience and track record as a right-handed powerplay point shot. He has a bomb and the Oilers don't presently have that option

  2. I remember in 2003-04, Adam Oates (more than a point a game player over a long career) made a huge contribution to the Oilers face-off stats and taught the younger players - including Stoll how to take face-offs. Although Oates was only 18 points in 60 games with the Oilers, he made a big contribution to the team. I can see Stoll in that similar role. Of course I think it is worth a try - you usually need the puck to score a goal.

    1. I agree. News just broke today though that Stoll signed a PTO deal with the Colubmus Blue Jackets. Dominic Moore also signed with Boston. Potentially missed opportunities