If the Edmonton Oilers can’t hang onto to Riley Sheahan for next season, they’ll have lost a big part of their depth and penalty killing. It’s a problem the team is currently trying to resolve but signs might there this is a concern as Sheahan determines what he’s worth on the open market.
While this might not be the best summer to be an unrestricted free agent, Sheahan has a strong case to argue as a player who deserves a raise. He signed with the Oilers this past summer on a one-year $900K deal. He was pegged to play the fourth line, but wound up more often on the third line, a position that tends to carry a $2-$3 million price tag in the NHL.
Add to that, Sheahan was a huge part of the Oilers uber-successful penalty kill this past season. His offensive production might not have been high, but at the very least, he should be due a raise, even in an uncertain free agent market.
According to reports and sources, Sheahan is hoping to land a contract worth $2 – $2.75 million per season. The Oilers would certainly like to keep him but that’s a price the team likely can’t afford considering how much they’ll be pinching pennies as a cap team with holes to fill. Internally, it will be hard to justify giving Sheahan more than the Oilers just gave Josh Archibald.
Archibald is Edmonton’s Internal Comparable
Archibald offers similar attributes to Sheahan (penalty killing and flexible positioning in the bottom six) but also proved he can play alongside the Oilers top forwards when injuries strike or chemistry is missing. Archibald is faster, has more goals, and is a year younger.
Both were important parts of the team this past season and the Oilers gave Archibald a two-year deal worth $1.5 million per season. This is got to be around where Sheahan sits.
If Sheahan is stuck on the $2 million-plus tag, it’s likely far too rich for the Oilers who are going to be a team that has to watch what they spend with a potential flat cap. Can the Oilers convince the center to give them another look at $1.5 or entice him with an extra year?
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