Dwight Helminen signed in San Jose.
For those of you who recall, he was an Oilers draft pick from way back when and was most recently a call up for the Carolina Hurricanes, as mentioned elsewhere previously.
Which leads me to thinking:
Are there any former Oiler draft picks / property that could potentially fill in for the holes vacated by Brodziak and/or Reddox? Though this summer is a chance for Jacques/Pouliot/Brule to prove they have the tools to be energy role players - should the Oilers seek insurance? This insurance sought should benefit not only the Oilers 4th line coming out of training camp (competition) but also as incoming veterans on a young Falcons team.
Players like Alexei Mikhnov and Alexander Bumagin are certainly out of the picture, but are there any others to consider?
The first name that comes to mind is Tyler Spurgeon (aka the faceoff machine), but the Oilers just let him go this summer.
The second name that comes to mind is Jonas Almtorp, who receives a favourable description from Hockey's Future but a not so desirable rating of 4.5 B. He sounds like a great energy player since they mention his skating abilities, but a 4.5 B rating leaves one scratching their head. Since Kyle Brodziak graduated Hockey's Future with a 6.0 B, Almtorp would be considered a slight downgrade (though cheaper). But that's only if you hold Hockey's Future ratings in high regard. I personally think they are usually pretty accurate.
Thirdly, what about Mike Bishai - a free agent college signing who has apparently become a reliable offensive guy in the SM-liiga? He most recently spent 49 games in 2007-08 with a recent Oiler signing, Matt Nickerson, playing for Ilves Tampere. I think that Bishai could be the Jason Krog of the Springfield Falcons.
Lastly, what about Bishai's current teammate in Jokerit Helsinki, Jani Rita? Rita's last stint in Edmonton left something to be desired both by the club and by the player, but in hindsight, he was a player whose promise was never delivered due to many complicating factors. Like Liam Reddox, Rita was a high-scoring winger as youngster and has settled into more of a leadership role with Helsinki, and he currently sits second for Jokerit in points. Could he be a potential sparkplug? Would he be willing to come back to the Oilers for one season (assuming next season is the RFA season from hell...)?
I think the addition of Bishai and Rita, along with forwards like Chris Minard, Jordan Eberle, Toni Rajala, and Milan Kytnar, the Falcons will be soon become a very competitive AHL team, at least up front. The bonus is that Bishai is probably an upgrade on Tim Sestito, and he would be a potential call-up pending injuries or whatever.