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.
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.
JOEL PERSSON’S RECENT STATS
|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