If you’ve been reading this blog every week, then you’ll know that there were really only three things that I was expecting Oilers GM Ken Holland to do before the start of the season. He needed to get Ethan Bear resigned, add a depth defenseman, and add a centreman for the taxi squad. Well, Holland got to work and checked all three of those items off his list this week.
The new deal for Ethan Bear gives them some cost certainty on their blueline. I don’t think you’d find a single Oilers fan who doesn’t love Bear and doesn’t want him to be in Edmonton for a long time. I was happily surprised that this was a two-year deal.
As for the additions that Holland made this week, it’s hard to dislike either of those moves. Slater Koekoek can be a good third-pairing defenseman if needed and considering his low cap hit, it’s perfectly fine if he’s their seventh defenseman on most nights. I also like the addition of Devin Shore, who I’m hoping can stick around and earn a contract after the Oilers brought him in on a PTO. He would be a perfect player to have on your taxi squad. He can play centre, kill penalties, and has plenty of NHL experience.
With those moves, I think it’s safe to say that Ken Holland is done and the Oilers roster is fairly set. I don’t think we’ll see any more signings or PTO’s before training camp opens up.
There are some teams who still have some unfinished business and there are still some big names that could be moving teams in the next seven to ten days.
LATEST ON JACK ROSLOVIC
Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press reported earlier this week that RFA forward Jack Roslovic will not be at Jets training camp when it opens up in the new year. McIntyre added that Roslovic’s agent, Claude Lemiuex says that Roslovic will stay in Columbus, where he’s training, and wait for either a new contract or a trade out of Winnipeg.
It seems like a trade is likely and when you look at the Jets roster, you could say that they could improve themselves by dealing Roslovic. If they can find a trading partner who has an extra young defenseman and is looking for scoring help, I would imagine that the Jets will be all over it.
Roslovic hasn’t produced a lot over his NHL career but he’s gotten some looks in the Jets top six and looks like a player who could grow into a solid NHL scoring winger. I think he has value on the trade market.
CLOCK TICKING ON RFAs
Aside from Roslovic, there are six other significant RFA’s who still need new contracts.
The biggest name on that list is Matt Barzal and reports are that his camp and the Islanders are not particularly close in their contract negotiations. They should get a deal done and they have some money open with Johnny Boychuk likely going on LTIR. Lou Lamoriello is a tough negotiator though so this could drag out a bit.
Pierre-Luc Dubois is another key RFA that is still un-signed. He was fantastic in the playoff bubble and personally, I think Columbus should be looking to lock him up long-term but that’s from a certainty. GM Jarmo Kekalainen said he wants to get a deal done before January 3rd but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.
Other big names include defenseman Vince Dunn in St. Louis, Devils forward Jesper Bratt, Blackhawks centreman Dylan Strome, and Luke Kunin in Nashville.
- With the news that Kirby Dach will be out long-term and with Jonathan Toews won’t be with the team at the start of the season, some are wondering if the Hawks will go out and make a move. I wouldn’t expect a significant addition anytime soon. They’re a rebuilding team and I don’t think making the playoffs is a massive priority for that front office.
- James Mirtle floated out the idea of the Tampa Bay Lightning adding a cheap free agent now that they’ve solved their cap problems. He said that Sami Vatanen might be a fit.
- It sounds like Travis Hamonic wants to stay in Western Canada. Frank Seravalli connected him to the Oilers but with the signing of Slater Koekoek, that won’t be happening. All three of Vancouver, Calgary, and Winnipeg would make sense.
- Rick Dhaliwal from TSN 1040 in Vancouver is also reporting that the Canucks have checked in on UFA defenseman Sami Vatanen.
- The Senators had an interesting week. They dealt a second-round pick to Arizona in the Derek Stepan deal and then got one back in the deal with Tampa Bay that also landed them Brayden Cobourn and Cedric Paquette. They’ll be a tough team to beat next season and I don’t think it’s a lock that they finish last in the Canadian division. I’ll end this week’s blog with that hot take.
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