Photo Credit: vaxjolakers.se

Joel Persson will play in Sweden next year

The Edmonton Oilers officially announced that they’ve signed defenceman Joel Persson to a one-year contract. That said, he won’t be joining the team in North America next season. Instead, the Swedish defender will continue to play for the Växjö Lakers of the SHL.

This is somewhat of a surprise as many expected Persson to come to North America and immediately compete for the sixth or seventh spot on the Oilers’ blueline. Even if he didn’t crack the team, you’d expect the team to have him developing in the AHL to learn the North American game. But that won’t be the case as Persson will continue to play on the team with which he enjoyed a breakout season last year.

Persson is an interesting story. According to Uffe Bodin, the Editor-in-Chief of Hockey Svergie, Persson played in the Swedish equivalent of the ECHL up until last year while working part-time at a school. His rookie year was a Cinderella story as he scored 34 points in 51 games.

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With that in mind, you can see why the Oilers would want to take it slow with this player. He clearly has some talent and is a late bloomer, so rather than rushing him into a brand new situation, they’re letting him develop in a familiar environment. Regardless, it’s a one-year deal and there’s virtually zero rick attacked to the signing. Also, once it’s over, since Persson is only 24 years old, he’ll still be an RFA controlled by the Oilers. That means if he has a breakout season in Sweden, another NHL team can’t swoop in and grab him.


2015-16 Tyringe SoSS Division 1 31 6 10 16 10 1
2016-17 Kristianstads IK Division 1 38 10 30 40 6 23 14 2 11 13 4 2
2017-18 Växjö Lakers HC SHL 51 6 28 34 8 17 13 1 4 5 0 6

Source: Edmonton Oilers, Verified Twitter Account, 5/18/2018 – 8:32 am MST

  • Moneyball

    Could be a good find. Again nice work by the scouting and oilers management to jump on this opportunity. Much like getting a free draft pick that has developed a bit.

    • RexHolez

      I can only assume your joking. ‘Again nice work by the scouting and oilers management’? That’s a joke right. When was the last time they found a gem? This will most likely be another dart that misses the target. Only reason why they’re throwing darts in the dark is because they don’t know how to draft and develop properly. If they did, they wouldn’t be throwing darts

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    What sorcery is this? The Oilers signing a developing player and having actually…develop!? Aren’t they supposed to slot him into the opening day lineup? Great move by PC! This is what we need!

  • toprightcorner

    I think this is very smart. He took a huge step in his development. Sign him before he is too hot of a commodity and see if he can maintain that level or even take a step forward. If he does, you already have him locked up for the following season, if not, it does not affect the Oilers cap or shows on the contract list because he is still on loan to Europe.

    Statistically, Persson has about the same chance to become a PP specialist with the Oilers as a #10 pick does. If he was 20 and put up 70% of the numbers he did, he is likely ranked in the first round as an over-ager.

    • Kepler62c

      Fact is, he’s not 20. He’s 24. That’s like saying Jujhar would be a late 1st Round pick if he was 20 because he just had a nice bottom six season in the NHL.

      Also, “statistically” means based in stats… where is this statement about same chance as a #10 to be a PP specialist?

  • nqmt

    PC may be horrible at trades but him and Keith Gretzky have had a good track record of drafting and developing well. Most of the Bruins lineup is procured by them.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      agreed! they are very strong in the drafting and developing and scouting of unsigned and undrafted free agents! if only Chia could learn how to do an NHL trade properly !

    • The prospect pipeline has some good names. The Ethan Bear pick was pure gold. Yamamoto played well for a 22nd overall tookie. Marody and Benson have both looked good in their first few games in the AHL while Stuart Skinner was an absolute stud in the WHL playoffs. Safin, Maksimov, Vessel, Benson, and Marody all in Bakersfield next year, nice to see we actually have a handful of prospects who’ve made it to that point.

  • Big Nuggets

    I like the move, but I was also happy when I thought Ethan Bear would have another player in front of him to have to leapfrog in order to play on the Oilers next season. I’m a Bear fan and want the best for his development which is why I want him in Bakersfield next year. If he plays amazing and forces his way into Edmonton that would be great, just don’t let him be called up because of lack of depth.

    • crabman

      A player signed but playing over seas won’t effect the 50 man contract list. Just like Edmonton still has Yakimov’s rights but he doesn’t count against the Oilers’ contract list

          • kelvjn

            Teams are only permitted to have up to 50 players signed to contracts for any given season, including those for the players on the active roster, on loan and injured reserve lists.

            Other players may be signed to contracts but returned to their junior club. Those 18 and 19-year-old players assigned to their junior team in the CHL do not count against the 50-contract maximum until they have played at least 11 NHL games in one season.

    • crabman


      thank you for correcting me and clarifying this rule for me.

      Do you know how this rule applies to players in the KHL since the KHL and NHL don’t have any player loan agreements.
      ie. Kovalchuk signed a 15 year contract with NJ but then fled to the KHL. He hasn’t counted against their 50 man list but they still had his NHL rights and he would have resumed his contract if he had returned to the NHL before turning 35.
      Or Radulov when he fled to the KHL after only 2 years of his ELC. He still owed Nashville 1 year, which they used when they brought him back for a playoff push after several years in the KHL during which time he didn’t count against the Nashville 50 man list.
      Does this rule not apply to KHL players because they aren’t on loan and are breaking their NHL contracts by playing in the KHL? If so this may be my confusion with the 50 man list rule.

      • kelvjn

        The term they use for these mid season departs are “unconditional waiver” and then “mutual termination of contract”. Since there’s no more contract it does not count toward a 50 contracts.

        This route would be counter-productive if the goal is sign and hold.
        A rival team can just claim him.

        I don’t think a team can sign a player to the remaining 2 weeks of 17/18 (big signing bonus ) and have the contract run out June 1, 2018 with the goal making him RFA and not count towards 50 limit.

        Then there is having a contract suspended (failing to report). These players owed remaining terms of service to the team at the teams discretion(50 year old Kovalchuk finally decided to attempt NHL come back for 10M/season anyone?).

        • crabman


          Again thank you for the education on how these contracts work.

          I wasn’t suggesting the Oilers go this route with Persson I was just wanting to know why his situation was different than the Russian players I mentioned. Now I know. Thanks!

  • What’s nice is that he’ll be an RFA after his deal is over. It’ll help him alot knowing his window to the NHL is secured and he can focus on what he needs to work on to make the league.

  • A-Mc

    Wow how incredibly responsible and wise of Chiarelli to leave him in a position where he saw some success. Im both surprised and impressed with the organization doing things like this; Saavy move PC. More please

  • Braindead

    He is 24. He doesn’t fit the criteria of the kind of prospect the Oilers ruin through lack of development. Oilers only destroy 18 year-olds out of the draft lol


    So does this kid come to camp for conditioning and see how he looks with the other prospects? That would be great to see just not sure if that’s normal protocol ?

  • Braindead

    So what if he is an RFA. Like what is the compensation for a player making less than $1 million. Lol.
    You’re a genuis Chia, don’t give up! Lol …. Meathead

    • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

      Yeah that’s a good thing, calling Chiarelli a meathead. God forbid the GM of a team wants to try and develop a prospect rather than throw him to the wolves. Lol this fanbase is hilarious.

      • OilerForLife

        Some fans are more of a hindrance than a help. Getting bent out out of shape and attack very the organization they claim to support is counterproductive and frankly, ridiculous. Oilers already have an army fans from other organizations who attack the Oilers, and individuals within the organization, because they think it will help the Oilers fail. To some degree, it will.

    • crabman

      The good thing about him being an RFA is it gives the Oilers control of the player going forward.
      Sign him for this year and hope he progresses in the SHL. If he does they have the right to recall, maybe as a deadline add to the roster. If he has another good development year and puts up big numbers again this year he would have more teams interested in him but he will be under Oiler control as an RFA. It’s a low risk deal getting in on a player on the ground floor. If it doesn’t work out they can walk away from the player. really no downside to the deal.

  • camdog

    This is a good move. Oilers have space on their 50 man roster, it’s worth a shot. I am more relieved than anything that he isn’t pencilled into the starting line up. The Edmonton media/bloggers won’t get to write another dozen stories selling the prospect of him running the powerplay next year…