Oilers Notes: Oilers UFA Foegele making strong case for new contract

Oilers Notes: Oilers UFA Foegele making strong case for new contract

Published Feb 22, 2024  •  Last updated 15 hours ago  •  6 minute read

OIlers celebrate a Warren Foegele goal
Edmonton Oilers Warren Foegele (37) celebrates his goal with teammates against the Boston Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman (1) during first period NHL action on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024 in Edmonton. Photo by Greg Southam /Postmedia

Edmonton Oilers winger Warren Foegele, who has become the team’s Swiss army knife forward who can play anywhere from third to first line, left or right wing, is living in the province of Alberta but he’s also in a state of limbo.

As an unrestricted free agent whose name keeps coming up in trade proposals if Oilers go big-name hunting and have to move a contract ($2.75 million) out, he doesn’t want to go anywhere. But he knows it’s a business.

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“They haven’t talked about a new contract. I love it here but the conversation hasn’t happened,” said Foegele, who certainly knows Oilers may be looking for a top-six forward to play with Leon Draisaitl, with fiscal implications in any trade.

“I wouldn’t say I follow it but obviously we’re in Edmonton,” he laughed. “There’s multiple talk shows every day. For example after last night’s game (Boston), I’m not used to seeing that many reporters (after his two goals). Whatever happens, it’s out of my control. The team’s trying to win and they’ll do what they feel is best. I want to be a part of this. I’ve had a blast here.”

If on July 1 the Oilers came to Foegele, who has 13 goals — tying a career high, with four two-goal games including the loss to Boston Wednesday when he took Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ spot on left wing with Connor McDavid — with a four-year, $10-million deal, that would probably be ideal.

Foegele was terrific against the Bruins.

“Wow, that game was phenomenal. He took the puck to the net twice, beating his guy, for goals. He was hard on the forecheck. He’s been doing it up and down the lineup,” said coach Kris Knoblauch, who had Foegele in junior in Erie for half a season, isn’t surprised with what Foegele brings to the table. “We won a championship and Warren was the playoff MVP that year. What I saw there is what I see here. He’s doing the same things.”

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ANOTHER SICK DAY

Nugent-Hopkins, who missed his first game Wednesday with the flu, wasn’t at practice Thursday. He had played 134 straight (he didn’t sit out once last season). “Still at home sick. We’re hope he’s good enough to be in the lineup tomorrow,” said Knoblauch. If not Friday against Minnesota, then maybe he’ll be back by Saturday, when the Flames are here.

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HELPING HAND

While McDavid is stuck on 21 goals after 64 last season, he’s still got 64 assists. He’s well on his way to 100 apples with 29 games left, and if he hits 100, he’ll be the first NHLer to do so since Wayne Gretzky more than 30 years ago. Gretzky did it in 1990-91 with Los Angeles, one of his 11 seasons with 100 or more.

Only three players have hit 100 — Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr, who did it just one time. McDavid has 14 assists in his last five games to give him 85 points on the season as he chases Tampa’s Nikita Kucherov and Colorado’s Nate MacKinnon for the Art Ross Trophy. He’s nine points back of Kucherov and seven back of MacKinnon.

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McDavid, who hasn’t scored in seven games, had 352 shots last season (an average of 4.3 a game). He has 169 shots today, an average of 3.0. His shooting percentage last season was 18.2; it’s 12.4 today, lowest since his second NHL season (12.0). His career average is 15.3.

PERRY IS A GAMER

When Corey Perry plays his 10th game Friday against the Wild, a $225,000 bonus kicks in on next year’s Oilers cap, but considering how well he’s played in the first nine, that’s peanuts. Perry has three goals, five points and two fights — one against the Blues’ Marco Scandella, the other with Bruins Parker Wotherspoon, both because the Oilers were losing and he was looking to light a fire.

“He’s so good, as Leo (Draisaitl) said, at playing the game within the game. We had a lull in the second (against the Bruins) and he creates a fight out of nowhere. He’s won the Hart (MVP) and Art Ross and he’s doing that. He’s trying to win and it sends a message to the whole group that he’ll do whatever it takes,” said Foegele.

“Unbelievable teammate. I mean I was at Cabo (during the All-Star break) and we were staying at the same resort and I proposed to my fiancée. He sent me a really nice message and a bottle. And I’ve just begun to know him,” said Foegele.

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Perry’s little guy, Griffin, was out on the ice after practice in his No. 90 Oilers jersey, playing keepaway with McDavid.

BROTHERLY SHOVE

Calvin Pickard’s goalie brother Chet just came out of retirement to go to Mannheim to play for ex Oilers/Anaheim head coach Dallas Eakins. Chet, a first-round pick of Nashville in 2008, hasn’t played in two years.

“He got a call when we were on our siblings (Oiler) trip and he told Dallas, ‘I’m not in hockey shape and I don’t even know where my equipment is,’ ’’ said Pickard, 31, who will be getting the Friday start against Minnesota.

Chet, 34, had a job in Winnipeg with a spring hockey program there. But he had played five years in Germany, including two in Mannheim, and Eakins, the coach/GM there, was persuasive. “They convinced him to go and his wife and job were good with it. Last time he was in Mannheim they won a championship. He’s their third goalie. It’s kind of a head-scratcher for me, and he was doing the same,” said Calvin.

This ‘n that: For the Oilers game, the Wild won’t have Marcus Foligno, Pat Maroon or defenceman Zach Bogosian, ablueliner the Oilers may be looking at as a veteran No. 7. Minnesota captain Jared Spurgeon is already done for the season with hip/back surgery … Perry was trying out the Heritage Classic gold-coloured gloves, with the Flames here Saturday … The Oilers have been scouting St. Louis, clearly looking at Pavel Buchnevich as a second-line right-wing possibility. He has this year at $5.8 million and next as well, which would appeal to Oilers GM Ken Holland as more than a rental, as was the case with Mattias Ekholm at the last trade deadline. Obviously there would be cap issues, either a player going out or Blues eating a chunk of that contract for multiple pieces. The Ekholm deal is a reasonable template for a Buchnevich trade: the Oilers moved a first-rounder and a fourth in 2023, plus 2022 first-round pick Reid Schaefer for Ekholm and got Nashville to take Tyson Barrie’s contract … Philip Broberg, bruised from his butt all the way down his leg, showed up here last weekend and could barely walk after his injury in Bakersfield, but after several days of therapy, he’s coming along. When he gets on the ice again is up in the air. “He’s two to three weeks away (from playing),” said Holland … The Oilers are only carrying six defencemen in the NHL because of cap issues, and, knock on wood, they have stayed remarkably healthy this season, as they did last. Darnell Nurse, Evan Bouchard, Cody Ceci and Brett Kulak have played all 53 games, Ekholm 52 and Vinny Desharnais 51. Same story in 2022-23, where Nurse, Bouchard and Kulak played all 82 and Ceci 80.

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