Oilers make big moves: sign Zach Hyman, Codi Ceci; re-sign Tyson Barrie; trade for Warren Foegele; buyout James Neal

oilers busy in free agency
Feb 27, 2021; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Zach Hyman (11) battles with Edmonton Oilers defensemen Tyson Barrie (22) in front of goaltender Mike Smith (41) during the second period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The Edmonton Oilers have their two offensive stars in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. After years of playoff failures, GM Ken Holland wanted proven winners with character and he identified Zach Hyman as one those players.

Hyman was signed to a seven-year, $38.5 million deal on Wednesday, but that was far from the only thing they did.

Edmonton Oilers make big moves

Edmonton also re-signed defenseman Tyson Barrie to a three-year, $13.5 million extension, and added free-agent defenseman Cody Ceci (four years, $13 million). The Oilers also traded defenseman Ethan Bear to the Carolina Hurricanes for forward Warren Foegele and bought out the final two seasons ($11.5 million) of forward James Neal’s contract.

The 30-year-old Barrie had 48 points (eight goals, 40 assists) in 56 games last season, his first in Edmonton. He has 88 goals and 306 assists (394 points) in 610 games over 10 seasons with the Colorado Avalanche, Toronto Maple Leafs and Oilers.

Tyson Barrie
Apr 10, 2021; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie (22) controls the puck during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Ceci, 27, had four goals and 13 assists (17 points) in 53 games for the Pittsburgh Penguins last season. He has 37 goals and 106 assists (143 points) in 549 games over eight seasons with the Ottawa Senators, Maple Leafs and Penguins.

Foegele, 25, had 10 goals and 10 assists (20 points) in 53 games for Carolina last season. He had 35 goals and 33 assists (68 points) in 200 games over parts of four seasons with the Hurricanes.

Bear, 24, had eight points (two goals, six assists) in 43 games last season. He had eight goals and 25 assists (33 points) in 132 games over three seasons with the Oilers.

Neal, 33, had just five goals and five assists (10 points) in 29 games during his season with the Oilers. Overall, he has 294 goals and 261 assists (555 points) in 13 seasons with the Dallas Stars, Pittsburgh, Nashville Predators, Vegas Golden Knights, Calgary Flames and Edmonton.

Zach Hyman pens farewell letter

Hyman, 29, had 15 goals and 18 assists (33 points) in 43 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. He had 86 goals and 99 assists in 345 games over six seasons with Toronto.

In a letter to Leafs Nation published at The Athletic, he wrote:

Throughout my time in Toronto I can undoubtedly say that every time I put on that sweater I gave everything I had. I want to thank all of you for supporting me, motivating me, and believing in me.

The passion that exudes from Leafs Nation is contagious, and its one of the best places in the world to play because you guys care. So thank you for your continued support, thank you for investing yourselves in the team, and thank you for making a Toronto boy’s dream come true.

I’m excited about joining the Edmonton Oilers in the next chapter of my life, but I’ll always call Toronto home.

–Field Level Media contributed to this article.