Oilers get much needed size with additions of Pouliot, Fayne and Aulie

The Edmonton Oilers got bigger, faster and more experienced Tuesday by signing three free agents who general manager Craig MacTavish, say will significantly address a serious shortcoming in the team’s on-ice performance. The Oilers jumped into the free agent market early by signing defencemen Keith Aulie (six-foot-six, 228 pounds) and Mark Fayne (6-3, 210 pounds) and left-winger Benoit Pouliot (6-3, 197-pounds).

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers got bigger, faster and more experienced Tuesday by signing three free agents who general manager Craig MacTavish, say will significantly address a serious shortcoming in the team’s on-ice performance.

The Oilers jumped into the free agent market early by signing defencemen Keith Aulie (six-foot-six, 228 pounds) and Mark Fayne (6-3, 210 pounds) and left-winger Benoit Pouliot (6-3, 197-pounds).

Two days earlier MacTavish traded lightweight forward Sam Gagner to Tampa Bay for 6-3, 203-pound right winger Ted Purcell. They also re-signed 6-3, 240-pound left winger Luke Gazdic, who had 15 fighting majors last season, to a two-year contract.

“They all have size,” stressed MacTavish. “We added a lot of size in the last two days. We haven’t touched the core group of guys we ended the season with and we’ve added what we think is a much more well rounded complement to those players with size and speed and puck pursuit.

“All these moves are going to go a long ways to addressing a serious shortcoming in our on-ice performance and I think we can expect to be much better next year.”

MacTavish said he went into the day with two targets: Fayne and Pouliot. After a strong sales pitch he signed Pouliot to a five-year contract worth $20 million, got Fayne’s name on a four-year, $14.5-million deal and inked Aulie for $800,000 for one year.

“We made a case for our situation here in Edmonton,” he said. “It was a compelling story for them, as it was for me to tell. The situation is improving here, in spite of the fact that the results have lagged, but it was a compelling enough situation that at the end of the day we were able to quickly react to these players.”

Pouliot, 27, has played for five different NHL teams, including the New York Rangers last season when he collected 15 goals and 36 points in 80 games and 10 points in their run to the Stanley Cup final.

“Pouliot was our most important addition because we needed someone with speed,” MacTavish said, explaining why he agreed to the $20-million deal for the player who made $1.5 million last year in New York. “We talked about size, we talked about increasing our competitiveness and he’s a guy who tracks the puck very well and pressures the puck very well. He’s a great skater and we really felt we needed to add that element.”

Both he and Fayne said they were eager to get to Edmonton because of the direction the team appears headed in and the young talent on the roster.

“I think with everything that Edmonton has gone through and everything that is now going for them, I think it’s a good opportunity with the young guys and everything,” Pouliot told the Oilers’ website. “It’s going to be a good fit for me.”

MacTavish said Fayne brings them a guy who makes simple plays with the puck, but makes them highly effectively and is a very good defender. He thinks Aulie is one of the players with the opportunity to enhance his value on a one-year contract.

The one area the Oilers didn’t address is centre ice where they lack size and aggressiveness. Their No. 1 centre is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins at 6-1 but only 180 pounds.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Rebels forward Jayden Grubbe is one of three Rebels on the NHL Central Scouting players to watch list for the 2021 NHL Draft. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Rebels seek consistency ahead of matchup with Hitmen

The Red Deer Rebels had to deal with a pang of regret… Continue reading

Quinn Mason died from an opioid overdose at the age of 23 in June 2020. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta mother whose son died from overdose advocates for ‘change’

It’s been about nine months since her son died from an overdose,… Continue reading

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Thursday that the province was ready to move forward with Phase 2A and B in the coming weeks. (Photo by Paul Taillon/Office of the Premier)
Majority of Albertans to receive first shot before June 30: Shandro

Shandro says all Albertans should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine by June 30

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw acknowledged that Friday would be one year since the first case of COVID-19 was identified in the province. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Three more Red Deer COVID-19 deaths, 331 active cases in Alberta

Red Deer is down to 362 active cases of the virus

Alberta’s Jobs, Economy and Innovation Minister Doug Schweitzer spoke on Thursday by webinar to Red Deer Chamber of Commerce members. (Screenshot by Advocate staff).
Alberta’s economic diversification is already underway, says Jobs Minister

From the geothermal to the TV industry, new jobs will be created, said Doug Schweitzer

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp gives instructions during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Thursday, March 4, 2021. (Phil Noble, Pool via AP)
Liverpool slumps to historic 5th straight loss at Anfield

Liverpool slumps to historic 5th straight loss at Anfield

Philadelphia Flyers' Sean Couturier (14) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry (35) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Flyers rally from early deficit to stun Penguins 4-3

Flyers rally from early deficit to stun Penguins 4-3

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen reacts to a goal by Winnipeg Jets' Paul Stastny, left, during first-period NHL hockey action in Montreal on Thursday, March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Pierre-Luc Dubois scores overtime winner as Winnipeg Jets edge Montreal Canadiens 4-3

Pierre-Luc Dubois scores overtime winner as Winnipeg Jets edge Montreal Canadiens 4-3

Toronto Raptors guard Terence Davis (0) shoots after grabbing a rebound against Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Boston. At right is Boston Celtics guard Payton Pritchard. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Tatum scores 27, Celtics outlast depleted Raptors 132-125

Tatum scores 27, Celtics outlast depleted Raptors 132-125

International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel answers a question during a news conference addressing hockey issues at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. The International Ice Hockey Federation has confirmed the postponement of the women's world hockey championship in Nova Scotia to May 6-16. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP /Mark Humphrey
IIHF postpones women’s world hockey championship in Nova Scotia to May

IIHF postpones women’s world hockey championship in Nova Scotia to May

Quebec Premier François Legault chairs a virtual news conference Thursday, March 4, 2021 in Montreal. The premiers from the left are: John Horgan, B.C.; Jason Kenney, Alberta; Scott Moe, Saskatchewan; Legault, Quebec; Brian Pallister, Manitoba; Doug Ford, Ontario; and Blaine Higgs, New Brunswick. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Premiers reiterate demand for $28-billion increase in health transfers from Ottawa

Premiers reiterate demand for $28-billion increase in health transfers from Ottawa

The Edmonton Law Courts building is shown on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. An Alberta pastor accused of holding Sunday services that violated COVID-19 rules is appealing his bail conditions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Jailed Alberta pastor should be able to lead services until his trial: lawyer

Jailed Alberta pastor should be able to lead services until his trial: lawyer

Seniors arrive for their COVID-19 vaccination at a clinic in Olympic Stadium in Montreal on March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Premiers blame Ottawa for delayed COVID-19 shots; Ontario pharmacies to offer jabs

Premiers blame Ottawa for delayed COVID-19 shots; Ontario pharmacies to offer jabs

Most Read