Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett

Speculation: Oilers targeting Ekman-Larsson?

This morning, Darren Dreger did a radio hit on TSN 690 in Montreal to talk all things hockey, and part of his appearance touched on what the hell is happening here in Edmonton. With the season going off the rails, the masses are looking for answers and Dreger spoke a little bit about what he thinks the Oilers are going to do moving forward. A name he touched on specifically, was Coyotes’ d-man Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

As we’ve discussed many times this season, the Oilers had lofty expectations placed upon them before the season started and the way things played out could not have been more opposite to what we wanted. Some people, including our own Robin Brownlee, had the Oilers as Cup contenders this year so for them to be in lottery contention (again) is obviously disappointing.

“I thought that they were poised to make a huge step forward. I thought they’d contend for the Western Conference title. So things went completely sideways pretty much out of the gate.”

Me too, Dregs. I think we can all agree with that. Know what I mean?

“There were some injury factors, poor goaltending obviously, they just didn’t seem to have the same type of pizazz or speed aside from Connor McDavid up front. So there are a lot of factors that have contributed to a woeful season.”

Death by 1000 cuts is the quote Chiarelli used for that, I believe. Though many of those cuts may have been self-inflicted, but that’s a story for another day. At the end of the day, a lot of things went wrong this year that went right last year and those deficiencies (PK, PP, goaltending, downgraded skill) dragged the team down like an anchor.

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“Such a list of things that Peter Chiarelli needs to address. And I touched on a couple of them. Yeah, they need a mobile puck-moving defenseman. No question about that.”

My friend, the Oilers have a hell of a list that needs to get done and not a lot of cap space to make it all happen. It will be interesting to see how things shake out for the rest of the season and also how much of that to-do list actually gets checked off as we progress into the summer. Needless to say, upgrading the wings and defence won’t be easy.

“The Oliver Ekman-Larsson rumours, speculation, all of that are going to become more of a storyline, I would think.”

OEL, huh? Go on. Do you think there’s a chance?

“Not going into the playoffs, because Arizona isn’t headed there, but coming out of the Stanley Cup and preparing for the draft. What’s (OEL) going to do? Is he going to deliver the message to the Coyotes that it’s unlikely he’s going to sign?”

Wait, why wouldn’t Ekman-Larsson want to sign with a team that has only given him 16 playoff games in his eight-year career? I don’t get it. *looks at Edmonton’s playoff record over that same period* Ah hell.

“All very speculative, but I think that’s what Edmonton is hoping for. So as much as Vegas and maybe Tampa Bay were in on Erik Karlsson, I look at the Oilers kind of targeting OEL if there’s even potential opportunity to do that.”

I can definitely understand why the Oilers would go fishing for OEL but there are a lot of layers to this story. There’s his contract status, the cost to acquire, and how it will affect the depth chart. Which lefty gets moved to make it work?

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“If they can land that piece, and I’m not sure how they do it, but if they could, that’d be a huge step in the right direction.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you don’t get OEL if you can swing it but this isn’t a simple transaction either. As we’ve seen over the past couple years, the Oilers haven’t exactly fared well with these big swing deals and the idea of doing another is enough to keep me up at night.

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To me, this almost feels like another one of those bits of speculation that almost seem too good to be true. Remember last summer when the Oilers were basically linked to every single defenceman under the sun and nothing ever came of it? This feels a lot like watching that same movie over again. Regardless, Oliver Ekman-Larsson is exactly the kind of puck moving defenceman that the Oilers would love to have, but there are still some wrinkles here.

Ekman-Larsson only has a year left on his contract after this season so the Oilers would have to be to talk to him about his willingness to re-sign with the team or make sure that what’s offered for him wouldn’t be crazy. My point is, you can’t be selling the farm for a guy that will end up bouncing after a single season. That said, this is also the kind of guy that would make a huge difference. He has the ability to skate the puck out of the zone or make a clean pass, he has a history of producing points at a higher rate than any of the current d-men the Oilers have, and would certainly upgrade the offence from the backend.

For the Oilers, bringing in a guy like Ekman-Larsson would scratch an itch that’s been lingering for years. Will it happen? It’s possible, but I won’t be holding my breath. Over the years, I’ve found that getting excited about Oilers rumours is akin to taking dick pills off the Internet and hoping for inches being added to your schmeckle. Sure it’s possible, but it still seems unlikely. We wait.

Oilersnation Pre Game Podcast - Game One vs Chicago


2017-2018 62 8 22 30 -38 28 4 11 1 150 5.3
NHL Career 556 96 182 278 -83 344 44 117 2 2 26 7 1,284 7.5


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    • Kneedroptalbot

      Peter Chiarelli likes dealing with the Islanders.
      Garth Snow would like to send a big thank you to the Oilers:
      Barzal 18 G – 49 A -67 PTS
      Eberle 22 G – 24A – 46 PTS
      Beauviller 14G – 10 A – 24 PTS
      Thank you Chia how are Reinhart and Strome doing for your Oilers my dear friend?
      (call me anytime)
      Your Friend,
      Garth Snow

      • Bacon!


        The oilers weren’t going to draft him anyways. 15 other teams also passed over him.

        Eberle and Reinhard trades were horrible. Yes.

        But Barzal wouldn’t be an Oiler anyways. ENOUGH!!

        • MrBung

          The fact the Oilers wouldn’t have picked Barzal is even more of indictment of oilers scouting. His name was constantly coming up as being picked by most teams

          • Rock11

            Oh for &$&%$ sake. There was not a single person that would not have crushed the Oilers had they picked Barzal. Everybody, and that includes you Bung, was screaming about how stupid the Oilers were for drafting all these smallish skilled forwards. Size and D and toughness was what the Oilers needed. That’s what everybody said when the Oil traded this years Hart trophy favourite for a #3D. The oilers could have picked 5 times in a row and Barzal wasn’t getting picked. The trade was brutal but not because of Barzal.

          • McRaj

            I will complain as much as I want about this trade because I said it at that moment. I screamed at my TV for them to pick Barzal cause I knew how good he was. Then when I heard we are making a trade, all I screamed was please not Griffin Reinhart. So yeah I have all the right to complain cause I called it. Got a problem? S*ck it.

          • fasteddy

            What does that even mean? His name was constantly coming up? They didn’t pick him, and we would have zero insight into what the first 15 teams were saying or thinking, that’s just flat out made up. To cherry pick players that turned out better than others drafted before them is ridiculous. No team gets them all right, period. Every pick that every team makes in the first round they think and hope will do well. They don’t pick them because they think another player will do better.

      • arab05

        Kneedroptalbot – Strome is doing exactly what he was brought to Edmonton to do! He is on pace for 38 points playing mostly on the 3rd line. Did you expect him to step in and replace Ebs? Im guessing you just started watching hockey when Edmonton drafted McDavid and have no clue about the sport.

  • OilersGM

    OEL. Do we dare to dream.
    How about a blockbuster of blockbusters

    RNH, Klefbom, Russell and a 2nd rd. For
    OEL and Domi
    Of course Russell has to waive his NMC.
    RNH, Klefbom, Lucic and our 1st rd 2019 For
    OEL and Domi
    Of course Lucic would have to waive his NMC. The coyotes would get the 1rd 2019 for taking Lucic Alcatraz off our hands.

  • Where's the Lamb Sauce

    It would probably take Nuge + Klefbom maybe even a pick. I’d be fine with that we could expand the deal to include Dome (to replace Nuge in top 6) and Lucic going that way

  • Dan 1919

    EL is stellar but doesn’t fit the RH need. Salary cap expected to rise between $3-$7million next year, what will it be at the following year when Erik Karlsson is UFA? Karlsson will be an Edmonton Oiler. MARK. MY. WORDS.

  • Big Jacks Meat

    More verbal garbage from those whom know crap here. This site has become the tabloids , seriously. You just hope people keep reading your …. articles.

  • Glencontrolurstik

    I though Russell could get the puck out cleanly & Nurse shows speed coming out of our end?
    Why don’t we just let Nurse “peculate” a bit & see what Bear has got, before we give away Nuge.
    I have a really bad feeling giving away Nuge. People forget, as he seems like a “grizzled vet” but he’s in his mid 20’s with his best years ahead of him. Who knows, maybe we get 1st overall?

  • ed from edmonton

    OEL is player us Oil faithful have long dreamed about, in part because the Yotes used to beat the Oil for fun. He would check a lot of the boxes on the Oil back end, a high skilled puck mover who can help on the PP. Being LH not an issue. For this to happen the Oil would need an understanding that its not just a one year and done deal. Obviously the Oil would need to send considerable cap dollars back to the Yotes like a LHD (I would hope Klefbom and not Nurse) another roster player in the top 6 which most likely points to RNH and likely a draft pick. We will likley hear lots of speculation on this going forward. BTW Russel does not have a NMC at the moment. He has a modified no movement (i.e. he provide a list of a specified number of teams he would go to) only after next season.

    • fasteddy

      OEL is the Weber of today; Karlsson same thing. Be absolutely foolish to give one of those guys 7 year deals at big $. Their prime is in the rear view mirror.

      • toprightcorner

        OEL is only 26, only 1 year older than Nuge and 2 years older than Klefbom. OEL just entered his prime and will be there for a while. a 7 year contract will not see him become an over paid anchor on any team.

  • Oiler Al

    McLellan will not allow d-men to join the rush is the problem!!! Guys like Nurse and klef could be decent puck movers….its not in TMacs system …period.OEL would be a waste here.

      • Glencontrolurstik

        his stats don’t show it. You have been listening to Dregor & Friedman too much.
        Watch for yourself, and just imagine a different coach…
        Do it, you’ll have an “ahhhhhhaaaaa moment”

        • toprightcorner

          a down year on a trash fire team with zero offence. He has averaged 15 goals and over 40 pts over his career and has led his team in scoring twice. How many dmen lead their team in scoring? None, other than Lidstrom and Karlsson over the past 15 years

    • toprightcorner

      a puck moving dman does not mean he always rushes with the puck. He makes great passes and can skate the puck out of trouble and will rush the puck at the right times. Klefbom doesn’t rush the puck and Nurse is still figuring out when to rush it. Neither are great passers like OEL nor do they have shown the ability to skate out of trouble, they both hurry a pass or turn it over.

      McLellan had Burns and Boyle, both fantastic puck movers and they did it regularly with success. Saying that isn’t how he coaches is just plain wrong.

  • Leo Tard

    If the Oil are not targeting OEL, then management is as stupid as many of us think they are. These kinds of D-men rarely are available and any good team would call and see what it is gonna take to make this happen…I dont believe the Oil have the assets to make this happen but that is another story.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      I have a question, is OEL really that good?
      Look at his stats, nothing great? Is it because HNIC has only seen him a few times?
      I find that HNIC feed of one another. Someone says something out of speculation & it gets researched and blown-up big time over a period. Trade deadline Karlson move as a prime example. Oilers are slow? They were saying last year that OIlers were one of the “fastest teams” and that was a strength. Is it just me, or do all “the flavours of the day” come out of Toronto? Just asking?

      • toprightcorner

        OEL is on one of the worst offensive teams in the league. He has had two 20 goal seasons, averages over 20pts on the PP, has avergaged 15 goals and over 40 pts a season and averages 24 min a night. He is also very good defensively. He has led his team in scoring twice and been in the top three 5 times. On a team with offensive forwards he is a 50+ points a season guy.

        Yes he is very good. top 10 all around dman in the NHL.

      • toprightcorner

        I would trade Nuge and Klefbom for OEL. Without Klefbom, there is still Sekera and Nurse on the left side, there is not hole created. Nuge is the 3rd best center on the team, trading him does not create a hole on the team. When can you trade for a top 10 dman in the NHL without creating a hole on your team?

        I make that trade 100 out of 100 times.

  • Dapper Dan 3099

    this just sounds like speculation by Dreger, and nothing more than something to talk about….. OEL is not coming to Edmonton, and if ( an a BIG if) he was to re-sign, his new contract wouldn’t be able to work with our lack of cap room….. but you never know with the way Edmonton has traded for the past few years I could see something like McDavid, Nurse, 1 st rounder in 2018, for OEL and a 2nd…… wait no, a 3rd round pick…..

    Sadly I think the only way we improve our roster and start to address some of our many needs is if Chia can all of a sudden figure out how to get rid of Lucic’s contract….. and we all know the chances of that happening is somewhere between never, and no way in hell……

    • toprightcorner

      +/- means noting, especially a #1 dman

      Karlsson – career -42

      Also career – players:
      Erik Johnson

      +/- is more of a product of the team you play on and not the individual, if you play on a bad team, you will have a bad +/-.

      Kessel career -63
      Hall career -28
      Eichel career -43
      Tavares career -38
      Eberle career -46

    • Dan 1919

      All insiders have the same depth now a days. I remember watching the HNIC panel gawk over the Oilers and winning the cup this year. They all just check standings weekly and talk about how good the team is or isn’t based on that. I honestly don’t see much more depth from the average insider than I do from the average hockey fan now-a-days.

      • jultz=2cups!??

        So you’re saying you know as much about hockey and know as many people in the hockey world as bob mckenzie? And you could easily do his job??? ????. Classic oilersnation!!

        • McDavid's Comet

          ??? lol, showing off your superior reading and comprehension skills again bradley? Lol??? Where in that post is Bob MacKenzie mentioned? Lol ??? Since when was McKenzie apart of the Hockey Night In Canada panel? See what I did there, hope that helps you out there little buddy. Lol???

      • toprightcorner

        Have you read the comment section??? The average Oilers fan has no clue about hockey or how to run a team, but they think they are the smartest person while saying the dumbest things.

      • Glencontrolurstik

        yeah, what changed?
        Are we and the players just a bunch of Lemmings, believing what they tell us on HNIC?
        Or are the players actually better than they tell them?

  • Total Points

    A big trade will not work. The best is to sit back and wait for Nurse, Klef, Bear, etc to get better.

    Trading Hall for Larsen, Ebs for Strome, did not work and aquiring OEL for Klef and Nuge or Drai for OEL will not work. trading equals for equals very seldom works … especially with this GM……………..forget about it.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      Mostly I agree, but I think Strome will become a valuable piece for the Edmonton Oilers.
      When are we fans going to just embrace our team & quit “ragging ” on them?
      It’s hard to perform well in any job, if the people you are working for & trying to impress keep tearing you apart.

      • BrandieBear

        I like Strome and I think it took a bit for him to settle in. He will be a great 3C for us in the future. I think the problem for him is he was traded for a top 6 winger and he will always have that as a comparison. We as fans need to see past that and realize any of the blame falls on Chia and not Strome. He is playing exactly as we should have expected.

    • toprightcorner

      So you want to waste 3 more years of McDavid in hopes that Nurse, Klefbom or Bear can be a top pairing, puck moving PP QB??? That’s foolish if you have the opportunity to sign or trade for a proven one.

  • Oilers could use OEL, that’s for sure, but do consider this: Why would Arizona move their top defenseman? That’s like Edmonton moving McD.
    I just don’t see it, unless over paying is part of the deal.

  • Drinking my Oilers problems away...

    All I know is Pete set the bar low on 95% of trades/ signings he’s made here. He(We) can’t afford to lose another trade or signing. I’m scared to know what the ask is on OEL or any other high end offensive defenseman (or what he thinks is high end) cause Chia will probably take the bait and get suckered into another bad deal. My guess is they wait to see how the draft to see how things play out

  • VegasOilerFan

    OEL will cost too much and create other holes. I would love to see OEL in the Oilers lineup but not at the expense of RNH. I would like the Oilers to sign John Carlson as a free agent this summer if he is available and not lose the little depth and quality they have. Thats unless it is is a New Jersey style trade that sends away Lucic and his cap hit.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      Regarding Lucic, isn’t there an equipment allergy going around?
      Not having Hossa in the NHL is a waste of a great player.
      I wonder if Hossa would be allergic to Oiler equipment?
      Maybe they could switch allergies?

    • toprightcorner

      They can’t afford Carlson and Nuge. The only way to add the puck moving dman is to not have Nuge’s $6 mill on the payroll. You can’t have both and I would pick the top pairing, puck moving dman everytime over the 3rd best center on the team.

  • BrandieBear

    I’m sick of the team not making the playoffs just as much as everyone else. However for the love of god we need to stop making big trades. We might have to suffer another year or two but we need to start developing players and making smart decisions. Nashville and Tampa are great examples of how drafting can build you an amazing team and then you trade to tweak. This idea that we have to make blockbuster trades is ludicrous. We have traded Hall and Ebs away already, we need Nuge and we need to give our D time to developer. Most D really hit their stride around 300 games. Sekera and Russell are well over that mark. Larson just hit the 400 mark and everyone else is well below that. The team could use OEL or EK but what do we give up?!? We have 0 prospects to use so we need draft picks. If you take roster players you are sacrificing on area for another. Time, patience and development are what we need on top of smart moves

      • toprightcorner

        Since October??? After being a Jack Adams finalist and EVERY fan loving how he coached the Oilers to within 1 game of the Western Final?

        You, my friend, are a liar.

      • BrandieBear

        Sadly you are right. Management and Katz want to win now and will try to make it happen. In doing so they will mess things up even more and those players will come back to haunt us even more so. Schultz has two cups, Hallsy is having a career year, Ebs is looking like his old self and Petry is the RD we need. Glad we have made all of those trades. These are all the players we need to fill the gaps we have. This is why we must take the time to develope, make smaller trades and use free agency wisely.

  • Mitch92

    If OEL ever hits the trade market the Oilers might be the first in line but they have precious little to offer compared to some other teams who he might actually want to play for.

  • Dirtbag Daddy

    +/- 38 Career +/-83 Everyone seems to take these numbers as gospel when it comes to the Oilers defencemen but I don’t hear them chirping about OEL. If the trade is made, will the +/- discussions cease?

  • Oil9744

    Why would Arizona move OEL though? Can you imagine what they would get for him at the trade deadline next season?? Look at what The Rangers got for a 32 year old Rick Nash ffs. The only way I can see Edmonton getting him is if they win the 1st overall pick AGAIN and really want to draft Dahlin.

  • percy

    Dont believe we need to make a bunch of trades. We need to acquire a goalie that can challenge Talbot. Also this team has to play at a higher energy level. Next we need a coaching staff to make sure that happens. No excuses, you play or sit. Until the energy level changes making a bunch of trades isn’t going to change things. Our focus should be in finding coaches who can make it happen. I agree in adding to the def but we shouldn’t sell the farm. Least not yet. They have to start to play like they want it. Until that happens nothing will change.

    • Dirtbag Daddy

      @percy – I agree with what you are stating. Glen Sather always had the best goalie that was available. He would give up what it takes. Goalies are the most important player and if the goalie can’t stop the first few shots the team will most likely lose the game. The team loses confidence in the goaie etc. It is not necessarily the defence’s fault.

  • Ko-D

    Terrible idea to get OEL, we have quality LD. Karlsson as a RD maybe. This team needs to acquire as many draft picks as possible as that’s the only way to acquire low cost star defensemen. Proven #1’s will not fit under the cap right now.