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Oilers’ Mattias Janmark showed up ready to play with A-Game effort in Stanley Cup Final

Oilers Mattias Janmark scores goal
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Sean Panganiban
20 days ago
Many years from now, when Edmonton Oilers fans reminisce about Mattias Janmark, some will surely categorize him under the old cliché of being simply, ‘a beauty.’
Last June, Janmark took a pay cut, signing a one-year, $1 million AAV contract to stay in Edmonton because he felt the team had something special brewing, even though they lost to the Vegas Golden Knights in the second round of the 2023 playoffs. This past regular season, he did everything asked of him and more.
He played in the bottom six, was a leader in PK minutes, and when asked to fill in on the first line in a pinch, he had no problems doing so. When Zach Hyman came down with an illness in November against the Golden Knights, Janmark was bumped up to play on Connor McDavid’s line. Despite some fanbase skepticism about his suitability to play on the first line, the 31-year-old proved the doubters wrong by scoring his first goal of the season.
Moreover, he did whatever he could to impact the team in his 12 minutes of ice time, which included stepping out of his comfort zone. He stunned Oil Country with his knack for fisticuffs by throwing punches at Calgary Flames’ Blake Coleman’s face last February, and he also took on a tough customer in Max Domi of the Toronto Maple Leafs last March.
Janmark showed the Oilers’ faithful that he bleeds orange and blue. He took a pay cut to stay in Edmonton, went the extra mile to help his team win, had one heckuva postseason and played his heart out in the Stanley Cup Final against the Florida Panthers.

Janmark Played a Crucial Role on the PK for Oilers in Playoffs

Janmark recorded eight points in 25 postseason games, was a plus/minus +6 and was instrumental on the Oilers’ penalty-killing unit, which went 94.3%, the best in NHL history, playing the second minutes among forwards (49:45). What’s even more impressive is that while shorthanded and with him on the ice, the Oilers scored 3GF and allowed only 2GA, with the Oilers’ forward scoring two of those shorthanded tallies himself.
A postseason highlight was in Game 4 against the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference Final, the Oilers were down 2-1 in the series with the game tied 2-2. Derek Ryan was given a holding penalty, and while shorthanded, Janmark’s PK sidekick, Connor Brown, picked up the loose puck, created a 2-on-1 opportunity, and passed the puck over the Stars’ D-man’s stick to Janmark.
Janmark made no mistake, burying the puck past a sprawling Jake Oettinger. The shorthanded goal erupted the crowd at Rogers Place and turned out to be the game-winner in a 5-2 victory to even the series 2-2.

Janmark Elevated His Game in the Stanley Cup Final

When we look back at the 2024 Stanley Cup Final years from now, Janmark will, or at least should, be remembered as an Oiler who rose to the occasion. While the Swedish forward only recorded eight points the entire postseason— half of them, two goals and two assists, came during the Finals in seven games against the Panthers.
Moreover, Janmark’s second shorthanded goal of the playoffs was scored in Game 4 against Florida. Edmonton was down 0-3 in the series and on the brink of elimination, but the shorthanded dynamic duo of Brown and Janmark connected again. While on the PK, Brown chipped the puck out of the zone and off the boards, maneuvered around the sprawled Sergei Bobrovsky, and centered the puck to Janmark, who scored into the open cage to open the scoring. Less than five minutes later, Janmark assisted on a goal by Adam Henrique as the Oilers won Game 4 by a score of 8-1.
Game 7 against the Panthers ended in a disappointing 2-1 loss for the Oilers. While Edmonton’s key players struggled to find the back of the net, Janmark stepped up once more, scoring a breakaway goal just over two minutes after Florida’s first goal. Also, the Oilers’ winger showed bite in his game all night and the way his legs were moving on some shifts, it was easy to mistake him for #97.

Oilers Should Bring Back Janmark Next Season

Janmark is set to become an unrestricted free agent and has not been re-signed at the time of this writing. What we do know is that he’s a gamer— he found that extra gear and rose to the occasion in big playoff moments. He’s not the flashiest player on the ice, but the “Janitor” gets the job done defensively and earned the trust of his coach, often being sent out in the last few minutes of games to protect leads this past postseason.
The way he performed in the playoffs, especially during the Stanley Cup Final, any Cup contending team would be eager to have the 31-year-old on their roster, and, it remains uncertain whether Janmark will return to Edmonton next season. That said, it was noted recently that the Oilers are looking to bring back three or four of their pending unrestricted free agents.
I certainly hope Janmark and Brown are two of those players Edmonton is looking to bring back, given their crucial role on the PK and their strong chemistry. Additionally, they formed a solid line with Adam Henrique, and of course, it would be ideal for the 34-year-old Henrique to return to Edmonton as well. However, it remains to be seen if the Oilers will be able to afford him under their salary cap.
Still, Janmark took somewhat of a discount last year to stay in Edmonton because he saw something special in the team. As they were just one win away from winning it all this past season, there’s hope that he and his recent linemates might opt to return on a reduced salary for another run at the Cup next season. He mentioned in the year-end press conference:
“To be honest, with the year I’ve had, I haven’t thought about the future. I wasn’t expecting to have a lot of offers with the way the year went, but I salvaged that a little bit in the playoffs. You have look at your options. I want to win.”
With that in mind, what are your thoughts on Janmark’s season, especially in the playoffs? Would you welcome him back next season?

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