Philip Larsen leaves Edmonton Oilers; signs in KHL

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Philip Larsen was one of a group of players filed under “maybe” for the Edmonton Oilers this summer. The slight defender (who played what might have been his best hockey in a late-season stint at right wing) will not be back for next season, having opted to sign a one-year KHL deal instead.

What it means for Larsen

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This was a logical move for Larsen, who had some moments at the NHL level but was without question one of the problems on the Oilers blue line in 2013-14. It was questionable whether Edmonton would choose to qualify him; they would have needed to give him a seven-figure offer and that’s a lot of money for a ‘tweener. 

Larsen’s skill-set should be a fit for the KHL, where teams play a more passive game. There, his strengths (passing, skating the puck) should stand out while his major weaknesses (particularly in front of his own net) should be tested less.

It’s interesting that this is only a one-year contract, because Larsen seems like a guy born to play overseas and he spent four long seasons trying to make the NHL without ever really establishing himself. 

What it means for Edmonton

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Honestly, not much.

Larsen’s skills were not a great fit on a blue line that already possessed his strengths to some degree and that certainly had his weaknesses. He might have slotted in as the No. 7 or No. 8 defender, but there are numerous options in free agency who are better fits in Edmonton. 

This does help frame the Shawn Horcoff trade to Dallas. Larsen’s departure means that all that remains now is a 2016 seventh-round draft pick. Dallas took on Horcoff’s salary and got a disappointing campaign but great playoffs (six points in six games, plus-five) in exchange. 

This may also impact Taylor Fedun’s thinking on a return to Edmonton. Fedun and Larsen were competing for similar minutes, and while Larsen (inexplicably) won them this year he’s now out of the way.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

  • Bucknuck

    That is going to be my mailbag question:

    What else does Fedun have to do to show he deserves a spot?

    The guy had what, 2 games last year and in those games got a goal and an assist. I know he’s not as big and doesn’t play that mean game, but if he keeps the puck out of our end and can make passes, what else does he need to do?

  • TKB2677

    The guys the Oilers are “losing” to the KHL are career AHL guys and players who aren’t good enough to play in the NHL. The problem with the Oilers is they are having to play too many of the Larsen’s in their line up.

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    I would not have qualified Larsen and offered him 750K to be the 23rd player. Sort of a second insert on either the defence or forward.

    If he can make more money in the KHL, good luck to him.

  • Eulers

    The Oilers keep losing their fringe players to the KHL.

    As they say, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Maybe the Oilers would at least be a respectable KHL team. Maybe.

    Sorry, folks, just bitterness speaking.

      • Sorensenator

        Just the wrong type of player on the wrong team. Larsen has an excellent skating ability that is far superior then any “7th” defenseman. He also has a good shot and puck moving skills.

        Its not that he isn’t good enough to play in the NHL, he needs to be on a big team where he can play his game.

        • BLAKPOO

          This.

          Larsen has a great skill set – fast skater, good passer, positionally sound. Not the biggest guy out there, but he shouldn’t have to fill those shoes. On a team with solid defense that lacks scoring, like Nashville, he should be a welcome addition.

          He’ll excel in KHL.