Per Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, the Edmonton Oilers have finalized a one-year contract with forward Connor Brown. The deal will have a $775K cap hit but includes an additional $3.25MM in potential performance bonuses, coming off an ACL injury that cost him most of the 2022-23 season.
They’ve also added winger Drake Caggiula back to their organization on a two-year, two-way contract with a $775k AAV, according to The Athletic’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman. Caggiula is an impact AHL scorer who also has experience as an NHL bottom-six winger. He spent three seasons with the Oilers from 2016-17 to 2018-19.
The Oilers have also made one more depth signing, inking blueliner Ben Gleason to a two-year $775k AAV contract, per PuckPedia. The deal is a two-way pact for the first year and a one-way deal in the second, carrying a $425k AHL salary in year one.
The Brown signing is a savvy move for both Brown and the Oilers for a variety of reasons. For Brown, this deal gives him the best chance of a quality, productive season to allow him to cash in on next year’s free agent market. A former teammate of Connor McDavid in the OHL, Brown has a very strong chance of ending up on either McDavid or Leon Draisaitl’s wing.
Seeing as those players are routinely two of the NHL’s top scorers (with McDavid expected to lead the NHL in scoring and win the Hart Trophy pretty much every season) Brown is in line to fly past his career-highs in production, similar to what another former Maple Leafs winger, Zach Hyman, has done in Edmonton.
For Edmonton, this move lands them a quality two-way second-line player at a league-minimum cap hit, as most of the deal’s financial value is tied up in bonuses. Given how Edmonton figures to press right up against the salary cap this season, the structure of this contract allows them to potentially push the bulk of Brown’s cap hit to next season.
There likely wasn’t going to be a path for Edmonton to acquire a better player than Brown on the free-agent market. Understanding the team’s needs and limitations under the cap, it’s hard to argue with this free-agent addition.