Oilers announce free-agent signings

New York Rangers Benoit Pouliot (67) celebrates as the puck goes past Edmonton Oilers Ben Scrivens (30) during second period NHL hockey action in Edmonton, Alta., on Sunday March 30, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson.
New York Rangers Benoit Pouliot (67) celebrates as the puck goes past Edmonton Oilers Ben Scrivens (30) during second period NHL hockey action in Edmonton, Alta., on Sunday March 30, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

EDMONTON – The Edmonton Oilers have made an early splash in the opening of the NHL’s free agent period.

The team announced via Twitter the signings of defenceman Mark Fayne and forward Benoit Pouliot.

The team also announced it had agreed to terms with defenceman Keith Aulie – who is 6’6” and 228 lbs – on a one-year contract.

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Aulie played 15 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning last year, scoring one assist.

Sources say 27-year-old Fayne, a former New Jersey Devil has agreed to a four-year contract worth $3.5 million per season, and Pouliot (not to be mistaken for former Oiler Marc-Antoine Pouliot) has signed for five years at $4 million per.

Fayne is a right-shooting defender who has played all 242 of his NHL games with the Devils, the team who drafted him in the 5th round of the 2005 entry draft.

Pouliot is a 6’3” left winger coming off a career year with the New York Rangers, where he scored 36 points in 80 games, and added another 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists) in the Rangers run to the Stanley Cup Finals.

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This is Pouliot’s sixth NHL team, having also previously played for Tampa Bay, Boston, Montreal, and Minnesota.

Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish took over the helm in April of 2013.

Only six regulars from that team are still here, including the “core” players of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Justin Schultz.

When asked if he had expected to make so many changes, he said, “I knew immediately that there was a lot of change that needed to occur… I was hoping there wouldn’t have had to be this dismantlement this year at the end of the year, but it takes time to transition a team from an unsuccessful performing group to a high-performance group.”

MacTavish said the moves will “go a long way to addressing a serious shortcoming in our on-ice performance.”

The Oilers also announced they have resigned tough guy Luke Gazdic to a two-year contract worth $1.6 million.

NHL notes:

For the second time in two years, Ottawa’s captain is moving on the opening day of free agency, after Jason Spezza was traded to the Dallas Stars for a package that includes Alex Chiasson , two prospects, and a draft pick.

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Also moving from Ottawa to Dallas is former Oiler Ales Hemsky. He’s moving on to his second NHL team since being traded by the Oilers four months ago, signing a three-year contract reportedly worth $12 million.

Hemsky put up 17 points in 20 games playing with Spezza, when they played together last season.

Speaking of former Oilers, goaltender Devan Dubnyk signed a one-year, $800,000 dollar contract with the newly minted Arizona Coyotes.

Former Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo poked fun at his former team today in a tweet to newly signed Canucks goalie Ryan Miller.

Luongo was traded after he lost his starting job to Lack last season.

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Other notable signings include:

Anaheim Ducks: Clayton Stoner

Arizona Coyotes: Devan Dubnyk

Buffalo Sabres: Brian Gionta, Matt Moulson, Andrej Mezaros

Calgary Flames: Jonas Hiller, Mason Raymond, Deryk Engelland

Chicago Blackhawks: Brad Richards

Colorado Avalanche: Jarome Iginla

Dallas Stars: Ales Hemsky, Anders Lindback

Florida Panthers: Dave Bolland, Jussi Jokinen, Shawn Thornton, Willie Mitchell

Minnesota Wild: Thomas Vanek

Montreal Canadiens: Tom Gilbert, Manny Malhotra

New Jersey Devils: Mike Cammalleri, Martin Havlat

New York Islanders: Cory Conacher

New York Rangers: Dan Boyle, Tanner Glass

Pittsburgh Penguins: Christian Ehrhoff, Blake Comeau, Thomas Griess

St. Louis Blues: Paul Stastny

Tampa Bay Lightning: Anton Stralman, Brian Boyle, Evgeni Nabokov

Toronto Maple Leafs: Stephane Robidas, Leo Komarov

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Vancouver Canucks: Ryan Miller

Washington Capitals: Brooks Orpik, Justin Peters, Matt Niskanen

Winnipeg Jets: Mathieu Perrault

According to Cap Geek, 59 free agents have signed for a combined $483.2 million since 10 a.m. EST.

More to come…

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