Mr. Holland’s Summer

It hasn’t been a mind blowing off-season for Ken Holland but it has been an important one as he attempts to get the Edmonton Oilers on track.

As for notable moves Holland has made, he made one big trade, signed six new faces, retained a couple of guys who will be on the roster, hired a coach, conducted a draft and pulled the trigger on a significant buyout. Let’s rank them!

1. Lucic (750k retained) conditional 3rd to Calgary for James Neal

This has to be the best move he’s made and it’s not even debatable. There was no upside to having Lucic around anymore and I believe Neal is more likely bounce back offensively at this stage of their careers. This trade was by far the highlight of Holland’s summer.

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2. Hiring Dave Tippett

Holland has mentioned several times that he wants the organization to have much more consistency then it has in the past and the hiring of Tippett backs up those words. Tippett’s first head coaching gig lasted for six years in Dallas and then he followed it up with an eight year tenure with the Coyotes. I get the sense that Holland will be taking a very patient approach with Tippett which should allow the coach some time to build solid relationships with his key players.

Jun 21, 2019; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Philip Broberg poses for a photo after being selected as the number eight overall pick to the Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

3. Drafting Philip Broberg and Raphael Lavoie

A number of people were initially frustrated by the Broberg pick and while I won’t go as far as saying it was an A+ draft for the Oilers I did like what they came home with from Vancouver. Broberg has stud potential and if Lavoie can find some consistency he could live up to the first round grades he was getting prior to the draft. I also really liked the selection of overage goaltender Ilya Konovalov. His numbers in the KHL were exceptional and his expected arrival in North America could time out very nicely for the Oilers. I decided to put the draft ahead of the free agent signings because long term it will have a more significant impact.

4. Signing Joakim Nygard (1 year, $925k)

Nygard is the exact type of low risk move the Oilers needed to take. He’s coming off a pretty good offensive season in one of the best secondary leagues in the world. By all accounts Nygard can absolutely fly and should be able to kill penalties in his first year with the Oilers.

5. Signing Josh Archibald (1 year, $1,000,000)

Archibald scored 12 goals while playing limited minutes with the Coyotes last season. His 12 goals came in 68 games which pro-rates to a 14 to 15 goal campaign over a full season, 15 snipes would have tied for 5th on the Oilers last year. He gets around the ice well, plays with a bit of an edge and can kill penalties.

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6. Signing Markus Granlund (1 year, $1,300,000)

I like this Granlund signing based off of experience alone. He’s a forward who has 300 NHL games under his belt and can play on the wing or down the middle. I don’t mind paying 1.3 million bucks for a versatile forward who has experience. It’s also nice that it’s only a one year commitment.

Apr 19, 2019; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames goaltender Mike Smith (41) watches the puck against the Colorado Avalanche during the second period in game five of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

7. Signing Mike Smith (1 year, $2,000,000 plus bonuses)

I probably like this move more than most of you and that’s because of the way it’s structured. If Mike Smith plays well the Oilers will end up paying him close to what Koskinen is making and if he is playing well that probably means they are in the mix for a playoff spot. Smith showed down the stretch in the regular season and in the playoffs that he can still play. I think he could end up winning a lot of Oilers fans over this fall.

8. Signing Alex Chiasson (2 years, $2,150,000)

Chiasson is the best player on this list so this signing’s placement at eight may be too low on the list for many of you but give me a chance to explain. If the Oilers get the Chiasson we saw in the first half of last season I’d be very happy with a cap hit of 2.15 and probably have in the top five on this list. The downside here is if you get two years of Chiasson performing like he did in the second half of the 18-19 campaign he ends up being a player you don’t want at four million over two years. I guess I’m just more of a fan of one year deals with the way this team is currently constructed. In a perfect world I would have liked to have seen this $2,150,000 plus some of their remain cap space spent on a better forward but he actually wants to be an Oiler so I’ll let it slide

9. Signing Tomas Jurco (1 year, $750k)

Once again this is all about the dollars and sense. I’m fully on board with the Jurco signing and it’s probably because I was a fan of his in junior. I was shocked when he didn’t get taken in the first round of the 2011 draft and was left on the board for the Wings at 35. I hope he gets a chance to play with some offensive talent in the pre-season because I think this 26-year old could end up contributing this year.

10. Signing Jujhar Khaira (2 years, $1,200,000)

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike Khaira but I’m not sure why his salary almost doubled. He’s coming off a three goal season and has only scored 15 goals in 150 career game, which works out to about 8 goals over an 82 game season. I’m hoping he can become a solid third line contributor but at this point I still have my doubts.

11. Signing Gaetan Haas (1 year, $925k)

Haas was another no risk signing for Holland. He comes from a good league in Switzerland but it’s not the same level of competition that Nygard was facing in Sweden. As a right shot I think he’s a candidate for the third line center spot and if he can score ten goals in that role the $925,000 will be a good investment. From what I’ve seen online he likes to shoot the puck and can fire it with some power.

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12. Buying Out Andrej Sekera

When Holland first bought out Sekera I expected new found money to be put toward the signing of a legit top six forward, that didn’t happen. With a few young faces on the way on the blueline I understand why he made the move and I guess it was partially justified when Sekera signed for significantly less in Dallas.


When I look back on what Holland has done since taking the reigns of the Oilers I have to stay I’m more impressed than disappointed. Moving Lucic for Neal was a good bet to make and he has followed up on his promise to add more speed and competitiveness to the bottom six. The bottom transaction on the list was the Sekera buyout and I don’t even really have a major issue with it. The best part here is that we still have over two months until the regular season which is a lot time for Holland to continue to tinker.

After having such a blast over the past two years, we absolutely knew that we were going to organize another golf tourney for the summer and, after a few months of planning, we’re psyched to finally be able to launch our third annual golf tournament.

  • When – August 29th, 2019 (Thursday). Tee off at 2 p.m.
  • Where – Cougar Creek Golf Resort
  • How much – $1000/team
  • Teams – Groups of Four (4)
  • How – Book your team here

As always, a portion of all proceeds from your ticket purchase will be donated directly to a local charity. This time we’ve partnered up with the Gregor Foundation to make sure that our kids are at their most handsome.

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  • OilCan2

    Ken has done more in half a year than even us super optimists expected. My bold prediction (again) is that he REALLY gets the Oilers rolling with the cap and roster space he has coming his way NEXT summer.

  • Spydyr

    The biggest need moving forward is a starting goalie.

    This should be the last season the Oilers struggle for a playoff spot. After that they should be good to go for the remainder of Connor’s time here. The defence will finally be playoff caliber.

    I just hope they can win a Cup or two.

  • Neilio

    I think this team will be more competitive than people, mostly sports writers, give them credit for. Internal competition is something that previous regimes have shied away from, it seems. Training camp will be a battle. Even last year, we weren’t out of the playoff picture until we faded at the end. We should be up 10+ goals with the Neal-Lucic trade. And I don’t think its unreasonable to assume Granlund and Archibald are going to score more than Reider and Rattie. Maybe another 25 goals between them. At least one of Benson, Nygard, Haas, Puljujarvi, Gambardella or Marody should take a step forward and produce more than just a bubble NHLer. Gagner was scoring at a 30 point pace, if he played all 82.
    Not all of these bets will pay off. But if everyone is in the correct spot, in a position to succeed, I think we can make the playoffs. LA and Anaheim rebuilds will help with that too.

  • DraiCup

    It has been a good summer. I salute Ken Holland for moving Lucic and signing players with upside to one-year deals. Next summer will be even more exciting with the possibility to hand out at least one larger contract. Nurse will get paid. I wouldn’t mind if Kassian stays. Everyone else can be evaluated after the season. This also applies for goaltending.

  • Abagofpucks

    I don’t know what kind of team were going to have this year but i’ll bet there better than last year. People can speculate all they want, But until we play 10 meaningful games we wont really know what kind of team we have.

    But i will say this, the oilers will be better than last year, how much i don’t know. So far Holland has done as good a job as we could really hope fore this off season. We had at least 8 players on the team that either went to the khl or got signed for minimum contracts elsewhere, traded and bought out and or got returned to their Ahl team.

    I believe our goal tending tandem will have the biggest question marks and will have the biggest impact on the upcoming season, but we all know that. I think it’s going to be an exciting season, and it will likely thrill us and drive us nuts, but i believe with the new players and the new coaches we just might get into the post season buy our finger nails.
    Touch wood.

  • GK1980

    I think Mike Smith is one of the best goalies at handling the puck. Oilers haven’t had that for awhile. This should help the breakouts significantly and hopefully lead to more goals.

  • Ken Holland

    The summer may not be done.

    I do like the fact we will have over 26+ mil in cap space next year with just Nurse to sign. Keeping our salary cap options open and trading our rental vets for draft picks may be the best approach this season.

    Russel makes 2.5 million in actual salary next year, trading him would put us closer to 30 mil.

    With all the one year deals, there is also potential to unload some of the newly signed players as rentals deals at the deadline. Whether it be a heart and soul guy like Russel, or a solid 3rd or 4th line player who can help on the penalty kill like Granlund.

    If we go into the draft next year loaded with picks and 26-30 mil in cap space, we will finally be able to bring in a couple of impact wingers and create some depth upfront.

    Not one of the major impending UFAs of 2020 has re-signed with his team yet.

    It’s a studded class that includes Taylor Hall, Romans Josi, Nicklas Backstrom, Braden Holtby, Alex Pietrangelo, Torey Krug, Brayden Schenn and Tyson Barrie.

    • DraiCup

      Where do you get that number from? All soon-to-be-FAs combined bring me to roughly 18 mil. not factoring in what will happen with JP. So Nurse will get at least a 4 mil contract I’d guess plus bottom six guys and bottom pairing guys need to be signed to some low level contracts. That would leave roughly 10 mil. in cap space to sign a goaltender and one or two wingers.

      • Ken Holland

        We have 57.5 mil committed next season. That leaves us with 24 mil in space. If the cap goes up the standard 2 mil per year we will be sitting at 26 million.

        Its listed and all detailed on Capfriendly.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    So far I like what Holland has done, the guys he signed t deal outside of Chaissons contract are 1 year deals, they are all for pretty much low money and easy to bury in the minors or easily traded. Moving Lucic contract out was a huge move that a lo6t of people thought couldnt get done because of how buyout proof it was. Neal and Looch both had some bad times last year and n one knows how it will work out for either the Value Villagers or us, but time will tell the fact that the Oliers have a few mor options available to us with Neal\s contract and not Looch’s is a huge win.

    I respect Holland for his stance with Poolparty and his agent and the trade us or we go play in Europe stance. I think Chia would have caved like no tomorrow, I said before Poolparty doesnt have a lot of options available to him, and Holland knew it and stood fast, Jesse’s agent back pedalling sure does signal they made the wrong moves, butJesse had to learn a little bit of a lesson here, if he is really smart he finds himself another agent

    I still dont like the signing of Smith, I think I would have went after someone else, but we are stuck with him so its what it is. I really hope the Oilers and Koskinen had him work with a different goaltending coach after some rest on the holes in his game because the Goaltending is one of the biggest question marks for me going into the season and no I still cant believ the Oilers kept Schwartz as the goalie coach, I think he should have been left to tedn after the Oil Kings kids, but no way should he be looking after the guys in the AHL or here.

    So far I like what Holland has done, still things to do, but all in all not too shabby

  • Goaltender Interference

    The ship seems headed in the right direction. Nothing done so far this summer has had me wondering WTF?!! Except for the Lucic trade, but that was more along the lines of ‘WTF?! How did he pull that one off?!’

    Results will have to speak for themselves but so far all the moves this summer seem to be more than just visually better…

    • Kneedroptalbot

      A mop a pail and some Mr Clean. Ken Holland has done a fine job this summer cleaning up the big mess that was left behind. Oiler’s on on the upswing! Just wait till next summer, when more poor contracts are off the books.
      I’m excited, this roster is taking shape.

  • Spaceman Spiff

    The thing I love about Holland’s time so far is that he’s forced several members of the local media/Oilogosphere to eat a poop sandwich with regards to Lucic’s contract.

    It was supposedly immovable – a virtual millstone around the neck of the roster and the franchise for the next few years. No way the Oilers could find anyone to take it on. It was poisonous … it was radioactive …

    … and it was moved … less than three months after Holland took over … to our Number One Rival.

    Obviously, it take a competent GM to do that, but I think it also shows that, as much as all of us non-hockey people think we know about the business of hockey, we really don’t know much of anything.