Elliotte Friedman’s 30 Thoughts hit the hockey world early Sunday afternoon and there was plenty of information of interest to Oilers fans. Among the topics? Dean Kukan.

  • Friedman: Hearing Edmonton (among others) has some interest in Dean Kukan, a
    Swiss defenceman. He will be 22-years-old in July and spent the past two
    seasons with Lulea in the Swedish league. Source

There’s more to that Kukan iteam and plenty for you as an Oilers fan, so make sure to click through when you have a chance.


Kirk Luedeke is a frequent guest on the Lowdown and a scout for Red Line. In Kukan’s draft year, Luedeke had this to say about him:

  • This solid all-around player isn’t a flashy offensive guy, nor is he a
    top shutdown defender. But, he’s a fluid skater who understands
    positioning and can move the puck pretty well. The Bruins have no track
    record of drafting a player from Switzerland, and Kukan isn’t likely to
    be a guy who would buck the trend, but you never know.

Elite Prospects is a wonderful resource for any fan and they’re especially effective at filling in the blanks in regard to European players:

  • EP: Kukan
    has good size and is a fairly skilled two-way defenseman. Plays a
    pretty solid defensive game and has good character and work ethics.
    Moves the puck well. Source


It’s tough to know where Kukan would land on the organizational depth chart, but a good guess would be in the AHL for 2015-16.


  1. D Nikita Nikitin
  2. D Justin Schultz (RFA)
  3. D Mark Fayne
  4. D Andrew Ference
  5. D Oscar Klefbom
  6. D Martin Marincin (RFA)
  7. D Keith Aulie (RFA)


  1. D Brad Hunt (RFA)
  2. D Jordan Oesterle
  3. D Brandon Davidson (RFA)
  4. D Dillon Simpson
  5. D Martin Gernat
  6. D David Musil
  7. D Darnell Nurse (turning pro)
  8. D Ben Betker (newly signed)
  9. D Joey Laleggia (newly signed)

There should be plenty of turnover on this list (both Oilers and AHL) and the team will be adding three (Nurse, Betker and Laleggia) no matter what happens—although the ECHL may be an option for some of the new hires. 

Top 4D in Oklahoma City? It sounds to me as though Kukan would be less offensive than Hunt or Oesterle while also being more mobile than David Musil. A player with a range of skills fits the modern game better because a big part of defense now is tracking back, making a quick decision, and then passing the puck tape to tape.

If he can do that? Suspect he’ll be in the NHL at some point. The name is one to keep in mind over the next several weeks as the procurement window opens.

  • Oilfred

    I rather have him on the nhl roster then nikitin and possibly ferrence. So think it would be a good idea to sign him since the defencemen we have are so bad, and if he plays well enough it’s easier to part ways with marincin if need be.

  • Lowetide

    If we can sign a 22-year-old D man who has solid potential to be an NHLer with some seasoning I’m all for it. I almost gagged looking at that defensive depth chart. I presume Chiarelli plans to bring in as close to a top pairing D man as he can get and another solid, reliable Top 4 one. Otherwise, prepare for another season of pain, McGenius or no McGenius.

  • Lowetide

    This guy calling Nikitin our #1 Dman removes all credit from the article. Nikitin is the worst thing to happen to Oilers d-fence since Dennis Garbage-kov

  • The_Angershark_Lives

    In case there was any confusion.

    Belov > Nikitin

    It’s not something Belov should be proud of

    Or maybe I just dislike Nikitin that much

  • Johnnydapunk

    I would think it’s worth a shot to see how he adjusts to the North American game. He is young, seems to be fairly skilled, has some size and would be low risk.

    One player that would be interesting to see invited to an Oiler camp is the French defenceman Antonin Manavian. He is also quite big, seems to be gritty, and one of the reasons why France has been pretty respectable in the WC.

    There has been a fair bit of good hockey being played at the WC and if there are players with any potential, it’s no harm in inviting them out to camp to see what they can do. Tim Thomas was a good example of a player that slogged it out in Europe relatively undetected and lit it up later than most players do. If anything it would make traning camp even more competitive as the Oil need to get that compete level up as they have a real chance to turn it around finally.

  • Johnnydapunk

    Lulea hockey and Oilers fan here, watched Kukan develop over the past few years. Used to be high risk in his own end, gotten a lot better in the last season. Made huge misreads in the defensive zone, tried to hard to make ‘smart’ plays. Now a good offensive and defensive weapon on a mainly defensive team. Sublime skater and puck mover.

    Would rather he stayed in Lulea actually…

  • Johnnydapunk

    Nikolai Stasenko and Yevgeni Lisovets /left D/, plus Ivan Usenko and Oleg Goroshko /right D/ from team Belarus. I’ll invite them to the Oilers’ camp this summer. Game against team Finland will show, is their good or bad

  • TKB2677

    The Oilers need to turn over every stone to improve their defense. All he would have to do is be better than Nikitin and Aulie which isn’t saying much and he would be an upgrade.

    • Joy S. Lee

      I kind of get the disdain for Schultz, though I question letting his potential go without seeing how it looks on the new and improved team…

      …but if you were the GM and you let Mark Fayne walk for nothing, I’d call you some pretty colorful names.