An old friend’s name made its way around the Internetz this past week after Jim Matheson tweeted about the Oilers being interested in bringing Anton Slepyshev back for another tour of duty. In this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday (Saturday edition), I want to know what you think is a fair price for 6’2″ 225-pound winger?
Believe the Oilers have talked to Slepyshev's agent Dan Milstein about a one-year contract to return but, of course, it's a "for how much?" question. They certainly want him back but as a role player, third or fourth-line.
— Jim Matheson (@NHLbyMatty) March 15, 2020
Drafted in the third round (88th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft, Anton Slepyshev spent two post-draft seasons in the KHL before splitting the next three seasons in North America between the Bakersfield Condors and Edmonton Oilers. During that run, Slepyshev played in 102 games for the Oilers, putting up 10 goals and 13 assists for 23 points. By no means were those mindblowing totals, but he was finding a way to chip in a little bit while averaging only 11:12 in TOI. For a lot of Oilers fans, it was in the 2017 playoffs where he really started to gain some attention after potting a trio of goals that always seemed to come at clutch moments, and while things didn’t work out for him all that well in his last season in Edmonton, many folks still see him as a potentially valuable piece on the right side.
Over the past two seasons, Slepyshev’s point production has nearly doubled year over year with CSKA Moscow — he went from 25 points (15G, 10A) in 2018-19 to 45 points (18G, 27A) in 2019-20 — which makes the idea of a return an enticing one that would undoubtedly create more internal competition on the right side. If you look at his NHLe, the 45 points in 54 KHL games that he put up this past year would roughly equate to 55 points over a full 82 game schedule, which would land him in fourth place in Oilers team scoring (Kassian was on pace for 47 points over 82 games before the stoppage). As it stands right now, the Oilers have Zack Kassian, Kailer Yamamoto, Alex Chiasson, and Josh Archibald on the right side of the depth chart, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Tyler Ennis, Andreas Athanasiou, and James Neal on the left side. Regardless of which side he plays on (Slep is listed as LW), Slepyshev would have to battle on his hands if he was going to bump someone out.
So should the team look at bringing him back?
WHAT WILL IT TAKE?
Some discussion out there on Anton Slepyshev.
He has had a really good year with CSKA (18-27-45/54GP/+28) in the KHL.
Oilers control his NHL rights.
Contract is up in Russia.
Makes sense for 2020-21…but price point has to make sense too.
— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) March 18, 2020
For the purposes of this WWYDW (Saturday Edition), let’s assume that the Oilers are indeed interested in bringing Slepyshev back and that they’ll have to make a move to find him a spot on the roster. So what I’m asking all of you to do is put on your GM’s cap and tell me what would be a fair deal for the 25-year-old winger provided he even wants to come back, and also how the team could make space for him? To me, the answer would be to move on from Alex Chiasson, though, I say that not knowing anything about what he means in the dressing room or whether any other team would even want to pick up what’s left of his deal. But maybe there are other solutions? Could it be? Would he even be an upgrade on what we’ve already got? This is where I need all of you to help. I need you fine citizens to decide Slepyshev’s fate with the team and how much it would cost to bring him back, knowing full well that there won’t be a whole lot of cap space to go around.
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