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TALKING POINTS: Chiarelli assesses Oilers free agency

Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli discussed the Oilers acquisitions on Sunday

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - The Oilers added three players on Sunday, signing a pair of former Los Angeles Kings, Tobias Rieder and Kevin Gravel, to one-year contracts as well as inking former Oiler Kyle Brodziak to a two-year deal.

Below are quotes from Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli's Sunday media availability.

Video: OILERS TODAY | Free Agency Day

On the signing of Tobias Rieder:

"He's coming off what could be perceived as an average or below average year. He wasn't qualified. He's a motivated, young individual. The one-year deal is a good fit in general. But if he hits it out of the park, we'll be paying for it next year. He's a fast, quick player. He closes on pucks. He didn't kill much with LA but historically he's a good penalty killer. We were looking for some speed up and down the lineup and we were in contact with him over the course of the shopping period. It made sense. We were in on a couple other players - you have to juggle a few balls at the same time - and we acted on that one. We're happy to get him."

Video: AUDIO | Tobias Rieder Interview

On defining the success of NHL Free Agency:

"I thought it was a pretty productive day. We put a lot of time in, as all teams do, in advance to prepare and having the lesser cap space, you have to be a little more direct in your strategy. I thought we added speed, we added to the PK with him (Rieder) and Brodziak. We added to size, leadership and to faceoffs with Brodziak. Walking down here, there's obviously an Edmonton legacy with both those players. That didn't really mean anything to me other than the fact that they fit some needs that we had. They were coming in at a good time for us, as far as cap goes, and for them as far as opportunity goes."

On the roster's right wingers:

"He can play the right side (Rieder). There's not a star player or an established player there (on the right wing). Now that we've kind of shored up our depth and shored up our speed a little bit. In an ideal world, it would be good to have a line with three bonafide stars, for lack of a better word there. Sometimes it doesn't work that way. There are teams that have had success with a two-plus-one formula over the years. We did it for a few years in Ottawa. Sometimes you have to make do with what you have. There's a level of skill there that we've added today that we feel can complement lines. There's a level of fit. We're happy with the upgrade in skill level in general and happy with the upgrade to speed and PK in general."

On other possible moves:

"Possible that we could add another forward. We were close on a couple of things today, including a trade. It's possible that could happen. We could possibly add a centre at the depth position that could be up and down between here and (Bakersfield). We could still add at those minor pieces."

On the team's improvement on paper:

"I think we've improved our team. We've improved our goaltending with (Mikko) Koskinen. We've improved our team speed. We've improved our veteran presence, maybe not from two years ago, but we've improved it. I believe we're headed in the right direction here. I don't know if we're going to be as good as we were two years ago. We're going to be better (than last year). Maybe not every single player will be better than last year but I can assure you that a good number of them will be better due to their age, their pride and what they've done through the course of their career.

"We've improved our penalty kill. We did some analytics on Brodziak. With those PK guys that were over 80 minutes in PK time on ice, I call them 'stick touches' or sticks in lanes or sticks on pucks in lanes and blocked shots… he was ranked 19th amongst the penalty killers in the League. You combine that with his faceoff ability and his historic percentages, we've improved there."

On searching for blueline help:

"We feel we have a player in (Evan) Bouchard who will fill that need. It may not be right away but he's a very heady player. He's a very skilled player with a level of compete and a level of size and skating that's a tremendous fit for us. We have to rely on the other D to pick up the slack and see where Evan fits in. That's the type of player that, when you talk about looking for them in a trade, you have to trade. So, we drafted him."

Video: AUDIO | Kevin Gravel Interview

On his comfort level with the rest of the Oilers defence:

"What I can tell you is as of right now, I'm not searching for a high-end offensive defenceman."

On the roster:

"We're improving our team and have improved those areas I talked about. As a manager, you're never comfortable with your team. I can't assure you of that. We thought we made some good strides today. We thought we drafted well this year. We may have drafted a player that may come into our lineup. I can give you that snapshot right now, it doesn't mean it will be the same team it is in the fall."

On contract negotiations with Darnell Nurse and Ryan Strome:

"Those are things that we've been picking away at and expect them to be done."

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