It was rumored about a week ago that one of these guys would receive a contract. Chris VandeVelde seemed pretty optimistic about a return to blue and orange, while Alex Plante remained mum on the topic. Announced today by the Edmonton Oilers, both have received one-year, two-way deals that will keep both in the Oilers pipe at least for the 2012-13 season.
Regardless of which side of the fence you lean on either of these prospects, there’s no denying that they are both coming off really strong seasons, and have proved they have a little left in the tank. No longer considered prospects at this point, (both because the Oilers are increasingly youthful and because they’ve run through their ELC’s without hitting the big league roster consistently) their minor league value has likely never been higher. But it remains a head-scratcher as to why the Oilers would consider blowing contracts on both, who’ll likely only serve as call-up players when the season begins.
It’s hard to envision either one of these players making the NHL squad given their previous track record in training camp – good, but not great. And so the Barons will benefit greatly from these returnees. Both give roster depth to the big club and both give balance/consistency to the club in the minors.
Fitting both into the lineup likely won’t be any different than it was a season ago. Plante will be in the top 4 defensively and VandeVelde will settle into a fourth line closer role, while also moving up and down the lines as seen fit by Coach Nelson and crew.
Two years ago, who would have thought that these two would be the Barons/Oilers “elder statesmen”.
Official Oilers Release:
General Manager Steve Tambellini announced today the Edmonton Oilers have agreed to terms with defenceman Alex Plante and centre Chris VandeVelde on one-year contracts.
Plante, 23, played in 38 games last season with the Oklahoma City Barons in the American Hockey League recording 13 points (1G, 12A) and 84 penalty minutes while being named to the Western Conference All-Star Team. He also appeared in three games for the Oilers collecting an assist.
The 6’4″, 230-pound Brandon, MB native was selected in the 1st round, 15th overall by Edmonton in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. In 10 career NHL games he has a pair of assists and 15 penalty minutes.
VandeVelde, 25, had 23 points (7G, 16A) in 68 games last year with the Barons. He also had six goals and 10 penalty minutes in 14 post-season games.
The 6’2, 190-pound Moorhead, MN native played in five games for the Oilers last year scoring his first National Hockey League goal on March 25, 2012 vs Columbus Blue Jackets. In 17 career NHL games VandeVelde has a goal and two assists with 14 PIM.
VandeVelde was selected by Edmonton in the 4th round, 97th overall, in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.