Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Answering the Bigos Question

The Edmonton Oilers are set to begin their 2012 Development Camp having added another wave of prospects to the system after last weekend's draft. Back for his fourth go around at the summer sessions is Merrimack blueliner Kyle Bigos, a 4th round selection back in 2009. 

The question is, with a senior season of college hockey ahead of him and an enticing August 15th, 2013 line in the sand, will this be the last visit to Edmonton for Bigos?

The Oilers opted not to sign a couple of their 2010 draftees last month and in the lead up to that deadline I wrote a piece outlining my thoughts on the subject. In that story I also mentioned Bigos and why it would make sense for Edmonton to get him under contract this summer.

Bigos joined me on The Pipeline Show on Tuesday night and I asked him if there had ever been any contract talk between his advisor and the Oilers since the draft. 

"Yes I have [had talks], not to a contract extent," said Bigos, "We're looking at my overall development and I think last year wasn't a good time for me to try and turn pro. I had a lot of stuff going on in my life and it would have been hard for me to transition with all that going on. I think it would be best for me to keep my blinders on, keep developing in college. I think that would be the best plan for me to help me turn pro after my senior year so i can make the best impact I can for the team."

But that was last year so I asked if he had received a contract offer from the Oilers this summer. 

"No I did not."

The issue here is that once he's completed his 4-year NCAA career, the Oilers will be on the clock to sign him while they still hold his rights. Merrimack's coming season will end no later than mid-April in 2013 and only that late should the Warriors get to the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh.

From then until August 15th, Bigos will technically still be property of the Oilers. However, every day that goes by, that date circled on the calendar could get more and more attractive for the 6'5, 238 lb defender. 

Photo: Merrimack Athletics
Bigos is coming off a career year statistically. He had 4 goals and 17 points through 34 games at Merrimack who, after a hot start, were briefly ranked #1 in the country for the first time in program history. 

The monstrous Californian isn't going to be looked at for point production though but the 125 PIMs should stand out on the stat sheet. The Oilers are clamoring for size and toughness on their blueline - Bigos specializes in both. 

But is he in the big picture? The last time the Oilers got this far with a collegian was with Riley Nash who spoke openly to TPS about how he would consider all options open to him including that August 15th UFA opportunity. The Oilers actually requested the audio of that interview from me before the 2010 draft and subsequently traded Nash to Carolina.  

So, Tuesday night I put the question to Bigos: Is becoming an unrestricted free agent in August (2013) on your mind as something you would consider? 

Photo: Merrimack Athletics
"No, not really," Bigos replied, "Next year I really want to focus on training this summer, then the season and after that I don't think I'd really want to go any where else. I haven't really given it much thought. I was drafted by the Oilers, they saw something in me, they really like me, we have a personal and formal relationship that I really like and hopefully I can land here."

Oiler fan, just because Bigos is returning to Merrimack College this fall does not mean that the 4th rounder is looking to leave the organization. For him, it's about further development on and off the ice. He wants to get his degree and he wants to be ready as a hockey player too. 

So there is no reason for concern here. Right?

"No, absolutely not," he reiterated, "I love Canada, I love Edmonton and the organization has treated me so well. They have me completely right now and I'm very excited to be a part of it, very honoured and I'm just going to work as hard as I can to make the team."


Anonymous said...

I don't think there is much worry about him walking in the end. If he earns a contract, he'll sign it. He's not exactly Justin Shultz or any thing close to that. He's a shut down D who would be 5-7 on any team and as we all know, there is no shortatge of those players in the AHL, NHL etc.

I hope loyalty proves right, and he earns a spot on the team in a couple years.

Guy Flaming said...

Me too. He's enormous in person.

Anonymous said...

Yahh, cause we all know that the Oilers don't need 6'5 shoutdown defencmen, what with their elite defence corps. lol

Of course they should sign Bigos. They get Bigos signed, Musil, Marincin, Laleggia and Schultz and the only MASSIVE HOLE left is in goal.

Dubnyl can havea 950 save percentage at Christmas time and I would still beg Tambellini for a proven guy.

Maybe they don't want to eat years and salaries on a golaie when they are at this stage, but y thoughts are with goalie, they may make the PO's.

Guess that would kill the first overall pick thing though.

Ribs said...

The Oilers actually requested the audio of that interview from me before the 2010 draft and subsequently traded Nash to Carolina.

Wow. That's pretty interesting stuff. Good on the Oilers.

Hope Bigos sticks around!