Craig MacTavish

Oilers GM MacTavish: ‘It’s a good year to be a UFA’


This summer is an important one for Edmonton Oilers GM Craig MacTavish. The team hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2006 and being the team that’s become the butt of jokes about failure is never fun.

One thing MacTavish and many other GMs know is the free agency pool isn’t exactly deep as he told Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun.

“This year there are not so many top free agents available,” MacTavish said. “The guys who would normally be secondary targets are now the primary targets. It’s a good year to be a UFA.”

MacTavish said he’d ideally like to add two or three players through free agency and one or two more through trades. One area they need a lot of help is on defense where most of their high-end talent is very green.

With guys like Oscar Klefbom and Darnell Nurse on the horizon and Martin Marincin already having made a splash, getting them swamped in the NHL as kids isn’t ideal. Now you know why Braydon Coburn’s name has come up again in trade rumors.

One thing is for sure, MacTavish and the Oilers can’t afford to slip up. The playoff drought has become a bit much to bear up north.

It looks like Havlat won’t make Panthers

Martin Havlat
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As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.

Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.

While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.

It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.

One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.

Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.

Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.

Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?

Silfverberg is set to practice again after Torres hit

Jakob Silfverberg
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Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.

The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.

The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:

That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.

Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:

Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.

Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.