Over at TSN, both Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun offered up some fresh speculation about what Ken Holland may be up to when it comes to upgrading his roster in the latest edition of the Insiders. This time around, we’re looking at the latest in the Oliver Ekman-Larsson rumours and a potential stopgap goaltending option from Carolina.
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When it comes to the 2020 offseason, I legitimately think we’re in line for one of the weirder breaks between seasons that we’ve ever seen, and we’re already seeing the effects. With so many teams up against the cap (nearly half?), I believe there’s going to be a laundry list of interesting decisions happening all over the league and I’m genuinely looking forward to the chaos of it all even though it’s starting to give me heart palpitations. Seeing as the Oilers fell completely flat in their play-in round against Chicago, they’re a team that many will be looking at to see how or if they’ll be able to improve despite a tight cap situation. So when it comes to finding a way for Oliver Ekman-Larsson and his $8.25 million AAV, I’m having a seriously hard time imagining how Ken Holland plans to pull this off and the thought of what he would need to do to make the math works is actually kinda scary. OEL and the Edmonton Oilers? It just can’t be, right? Anybody?
Darren Dreger looked at the situation:
“They’ve inquired, certainly. There’s been discussions on Oliver Ekman-Larsson. This is a big-ticket and a long term coming back the other way. There has significant trade interest expressed in the captain of the Arizona Coyotes and the Edmonton Oilers are among the teams with some interest. Now, it’s in the preliminary phases and given the cap hit that Oliver Ekman-Larsson brings back, this is not going to be an easy transaction for Ken Holland and the Edmonton Oilers. It’s in the preliminary stages, I would put Boston in that group as well with teams of interest, but also keep in mind, Ekman-Larsson has trade protection so he is, to some degree, going to manage this process. But Edmonton is most definitely in the mix.”
I know we’ve written about the Oilers being in on OEL before, Tyler looked at the idea for the first time in his weekly rumours roundup about a month ago, but I still can’t actually see this happening. Can you? If anything, one of the biggest areas of strength that the Oilers have on their depth chart is at LHD, and it’s surprising to me that it would be an area of interest for Holland, especially for a deal of this magnitude. Are they unhappy with Klefbom? Nurse? You’d think that one of them would have to be going back the other way to make this work, right? Even if that was the case, Ekman-Larsson would still be bringing in an additional $3+ million on top of what went out so even more work would have to get done to make the math work. The mind, it boggles.
OEL’S 2019-20 Season
Without a doubt, one of the biggest questions on everyone’s minds here on the site has been what the Oilers are going to do with their goaltending. We know that Holland’s been out kicking tires on the goalie market but when it comes to some of the names he’s chasing, the rumour mill has gone quiet over the past little while. Will he trade for a younger guy? Will he dive into free agency for one of the big dawgs? That’s when Pierre LeBrun throws another name in the mix:
“The Oilers have to figure out there goaltending, and we’ve reported before that they’ve spoken to Pittsburgh about Matt Murray. We believe they’ve shown interest in Darcy Kuemper in Arizona. I can also tell you that they’ve shown interest in Petr Mrazek of the Carolina Hurricanes. I think in Mrazek’s case, a goalie that Ken Holland in Edmonton knows well from his days in Detroit, that would be more of a Plan B. If they can’t upgrade in a more serious fashion, perhaps they could circle back to Carolina and some point and end up with Mrazek. Keep in mind as well that the Oilers are keeping a close eye on what’s happening with Jacob Markstrom and his negotiations with the Canucks.”
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen the goaltending market flush with as many legitimate options as there will be this offseason, and I think that means a wonderful opportunity for Holland to shore up the position for the foreseeable future provided that he can make some magic happen. But once again, money is the problem we must face and conquer. With Koskinen already locked in at $4.5 million for another two years, you also have to wonder how much Old Dutch would be willing to spend on his netminding, which is why it’s understandable to have Mrazek on the list as a potential stopgap option considering he only has one year left on his deal that carries a $3.125 million AAV. If they draft Askarov at 14th overall, do they start thinking shorter term on finding a backup? Does it matter? Either way, watching the goaltending situation reach its conclusion is going to be one of the most fascinating stories of the
In 40 appearances with the Hurricanes this past season, Mrazek posted a record of 21-16-2 to go along with a 2.69 GAA, .905 save%, and three shutouts.
Mrazek’s 2019-20 Season