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Former Erie Otters trio signs on first day of NHL free agency

Former Erie Otters trio signs on first day of NHL free agency

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Three former Erie Otters, not including the coach of their most recent Ontario Hockey League championship team, were the reason hockey fans in the region were extra excited about last month’s Stanley Cup Final.

The Edmonton Oilers’ attempt to win the best-of-seven series and overcome a 3-0 deficit was ended when the Florida Panthers defeated them 2-1 in their deciding game.

Edmonton, which won five Cup championships between 1984 and 1990, reached the final with Kris Knoblauch behind the bench. Knoblauch, whose final season in Erie coached the 2016-17 team that won the OHL’s Robertson Cup, was hired by the Oilers after a 3-9-1 start to their 2023-24 season.

Florida won its first NHL title, though Edmonton’s Connor McDavid was named the postseason’s Conn Smythe Trophy recipient as most valuable player. McDavid played for Erie for the past decade, as did fellow Oilers Connor Brown and Warren Foegele.

Knoblauch is expected to return as Edmonton’s coach next season, with McDavid and Brown also likely to return.

Not Foegele. The Los Angeles Kings signed the 28-year-old left winger to a three-year contract during the first day of NHL free agency on Monday.

According to an article on cbssports.com, the deal was worth $10.8 million.

The 2024-25 season will be Foegele’s eighth in the league. He spent the last three with Edmonton and the previous four with the Carolina Hurricanes, who selected him in the third round of the 2014 NHL draft.

Foegele, who played in each of the Oilers’ 82 regular-season games last season, totaled 20 goals and 21 assists. He added three goals and five assists during their last playoff run.

More: Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid joins list of Stanley Cup playoff MVPs from losing team

Continuing with Edmonton

Brown, unlike Foegele, opted to return to the Oilers on a one-year, $1 million contract, according to nhl.com. The right winger, 30, will skate for them as his 10e season in the competition.

Brown originally signed with the league’s northernmost franchise after a year with the Washington Capitals. He totaled four goals and eight assists in 71 games, plus two goals and four assists in the playoffs.

The Toronto Maple Leafs selected Brown in the sixth round of the 2012 NHL draft. He also skated for the Ottawa Senators between his time with Toronto and Washington.

More: Chicago Blackhawks to take defenseman Ty Henry from Erie Otters in 2024 NHL draft

Raddysh brother on the run

Brown is a former Capitol senate president, but Taylor Raddysh became one on Monday.

Raddysh, who played for the Otters from 2014-18, signed a one-year, $1 million contract, according to PuckPedia.com. Alongside Alex Ovechkin, who needs 42 goals to surpass Wayne Gretzky’s 894 as the league’s all-time leader, the right winger also joins a Washington squad that features former Otter Dylan Strome at center.

Raddysh, 26, was limited to five goals and nine assists in 73 games for the Blackhawks in 2023-24. He officially departed Chicago two days after it drafted current Erie defenseman Ty Henry.

Darren Raddysh, Taylor’s older brother and also a former Otter, skated for the Tampa Bay Lightning this past season.

Contact Mike Copper at [email protected]. Follow him on X @ETNcopper.