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Report: It’s ‘rather unlikely’ Edmonton Oilers re-sign Adam Larsson, but a ‘real chance’ Tyson Barrie returns

It appears that contract negotiations between pending free agent defenceman Adam Larsson will walk to free agency, Daily Faceoff and The Nation Network’s Frank Seravalli reported.

On a Sunday night episode of the DFO Rundown, Seravalli said it now appears more likely the club re-signs Tyson Barrie.

There’s been lots of chatter out there about the Edmonton Oilers and their defence. From my understanding, and this is Sunday night… my understanding is the Oilers and Adam Larsson are rather unlikely at this point to get something done and he’ll be heading to market. Now, I think the development which is really interesting is that Tyson Barrie has a real chance to stay in Edmonton. That’s been the shift that’s occured in the last four or five days and I think it’s really interesting for a number of reasons. I think a number of people had written off Tyson Barrie and the chance to come back just because whatever number he may or may not be looking for and I think he actually really enjoyed his time in Edmonton. He wants to come back, and also sees how good of a fit it was and why change it. I think that both sides are open to the idea, the question is how does the pecking order go around the league. Where does Dougie Hamilton go? How much does he sign for? All those things kind of go into it, but Tyson Barrie has a real strong chance to stay. 

Negotiations between Larsson and the team have been ongoing since February, but the two sides have been unable to put pen to paper on a deal. Now, just nine days before free agency opens, it appears a deal is unlikely to happen.

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Larsson, 28, joined the Oilers in exchange for Taylor Hall in 2016. His game has struggled to stay steady during his time in Edmonton but has rebounded very nicely with strong campaigns in 2019-20, and this year in 2020-21.

Not known for offence, Larsson has been a steady defenceman for the Oilers. With him on the ice this year at 5×5, the Oilers controlled 46 percent of the shot attempts, 47.46 percent of the goals and 48.12 percent of the expected goals.

According to hockeyviz.com, Larsson provided even-strength offence at a seven percent rate below league average and even-strength defence at an 11 percent rate above league average.

Larsson’s even-strength defensive wins above replace him put him in the 98th percentile, according to JFresh Hockey, with his overall wins above replacement land him in the 87th percentile. He’s clearly a very valuable part of the Oilers backend and the team would instantly need to look at replacing him in free agency. Earlier this month I looked at a few players that could replace him. Dallas Stars defenceman Mark Pysyk, for example, could be a solid candidate.

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Barrie, meanwhile, is an interesting case. He joined the Oilers on a one-year prove-it deal and while he brought lots of offence, his defence was absent. So much so that he became the first defenceman in NHL history to lead all rearguards in points and not receive a single vote for the Norris Trophy.

He scored 48 points in 56 games and according to hockeyviz.com, he provided even-strength offence at a two percent rate below league average and even-strength defence at a 13 percent rate below league average. JFresh Hockey’s even-strength offensive WAR has him in the 62nd percentile and even-strength defensive WAR in the 1st percentile. Overall? His WAR is in the 15th percentile.

You can listen to the full DFO Rundown podcast wherever you find your podcasts.


Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at [email protected]