Though his arbitration hearing had been set for July 25th, Joey LaLeggia has reached a contract with the Edmonton Oilers according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet. The 25-year old has signed a one-year, two-way deal worth $700K at the NHL level. LaLeggia will almost certainly be a Group VI free agent at the conclusion of the contract—he’d have to play in 80 games this season to not qualify.
LaLeggia was a fifth-round selection out of the University of Denver, who has shown at every level of hockey that he could dominate offensively from the back end. That changed slightly this season when he was moved up for left wing after the Bakersfield Condors needed a scoring punch. His 20 goals came third on the team behind only Anton Lander and Josh Currie, two players who’ve played forward their whole life.
Undersized and still a bit lacking in the defensive zone, it’s unclear if LaLeggia’s future lies full-time at forward or if he still has a chance to make it on defense. If that offensive production continues when playing up front, and at the point on the powerplay perhaps he’ll even find his way up to the Oilers as a sort of utility man. The skill is definitely there, now it’s just a question of how to deploy it.