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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
THE BIG PICTURE
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.