When the Boston Bruins shockingly announced that Andrew Ference will not be re-joining the team next season, I had one thought. How about the Edmonton Oilers? I mean, hey, the Oilers need defense and veteran leadership to show the young guys around. Who better than Andrew Ference?
It just makes a lot of sense for the Oilers to bring in someone like Andrew Ference. Ference would provide depth on a pretty weak defense, other than Justin Schultz. Providing the Oilers don’t draft a defenseman, and let’s hope that they do, Ference would most likely be penciled in right away as the number two defenseman.
Ference would mesh well with top Oilers blueliner Justin Schultz seeing how Schultz is an Offensive defenseman and Ference is more known for his defensive prowess. Ference isn’t going to score too many goals, that’s not really his job, and Edmonton doesn’t need another offensive player. They need someone who can strengthen the Edmonton blue line, someone who was a cog in one of the best defensive corps in the NHL. They need Andrew Ference.
The price tag for Ference would come much cheaper than another alternative mentioned earlier in the week, Kris Letang. While Letang may be more talented and younger than Ference, Ference is more of a defensive player than Letang and would come much, much cheaper. In an NHL world where teams are trying to lower the cap, he could very well be the economical choice for Edmonton. In a few years, the Oilers might be in trouble with the cap with the growing contracts with Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Nail Yakupov, someone with Ference’s price tag might just fit with the Oilers.
If Ference does head to Edmonton, he’d be heading into almost the same scenario he entered Boston in. When Ference came to Boston, the Bruins weren’t a team wow-ing anyone and had a team that was short on personality. The Oilers aren’t exactly on anyone’s NHL radar in terms of teams, but like Ference did with Boston, can turn this team around. He is a player that isn’t afraid of anyone or anything.
The young Oilers squad are a talented bunch, no dispute there, but they need some sort of veteran guidance. As an alternate captain for road games with the Boston Bruins. Ference filled some big shoes in 2011 when he was named, along with Chris Kelly, to replace the retired Mark Recchi as alternate captain. It was a no-brainer for Claude Julien as Ference was a very likable player among his teammates and was able to keep it loose and play like a professional when the puck drops. He would instill his great work ethic and the baby Oilers and make them a better team by just having his presence in the locker room.
Ference is also a native Edmontonian and could be a hometown hero, if he could get the Oilers their sixth Stanley Cup. It would be quite a story: NHL star comes home and helps his hometown team win a Cup. Ference wouldn’t have to buy a drink in Edmonton for quite some time if this comes to fruition.
Trading for Kris Letang may just be tempting and the “sexy” pick, but Andrew Ference could just be the better fit, and more affordable, than the sought after Letang.
Agree or disagree that Ference’s return home could be great for the Oilers? Comment below or sent me a Tweet, @MarkWGraham