Report: Edmonton Oilers want to re-sign Brett Kulak, Evander Kane; discussing possibilities of Jesse Puljujarvi, Josh Anderson trades
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By Zach Laing1 year ago
The Edmonton Oilers have more than a few balls in the air heading into the NHL draft and free agency and things are lining up for them to be one of the busier teams.
They have a cap kerfuffle they find themselves in with just $7.13-million in cap space and more than enough pending RFA’s and UFA’s to deal with.
And on Friday night, The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun dropped some notes about the Oilers’ desire to re-sign Brett Kulak and Evander Kane, and how the club is discussing the potential for a Jesse Puljujarvi trade.
Oilers GM Ken Holland met with Brett Kulak’s agent Gerry Johansson this past week, indicating he wants to try and re-sign the pending UFA. The next step is to make an offer which should come soon enough. Can they make it work under the cap?Holland has also expressed to Evander Kane’s camp that the Oilers are interested in trying to re-sign the pending UFA winger. Agent Dan Milstein is slated to meet with Kane next week to formulate a game plan. I think Kane is interested to hear from the Oilers but there also might be too much allure to hear from the open market.Meanwhile, there’s potential for a Jesse Puljujarvi trade depending on other moves with the Oilers. Not guaranteed they move him but it’s among the possibilities being discussed, which my TSN colleague Ryan Rishaug recently suggested. Puljujarvi’s usage was reduced under new head coach Jay Woodcroft. The 24-year-old is an RFA with salary arbitration rights this summer.
News of the desire for a Brett Kulak re-signing is reassuring. This is the first we’ve heard of the Oilers’ stance on the pending UFA after acquiring him for William Lagesson, a 2022 2nd round pick and a 2024 7th round pick. Kulak was a great pickup for the Oilers and provided some much-needed stability on the backend.
There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of Evander Kane news here and I think it’s safe to say Kane will want to test the open market.
Lastly, the most encouraging thing about the Jesse Puljujarvi note might be “not guaranteed they move him.” He was the Oilers’ strongest defensive forward this past season with opponents scoring just 1.81 goals per hour with him on the ice. Among 171 forwards who played as much as him, that was the fourth-best rate.
It’s also worth noting that LeBrun also reported that the Oilers are one of the teams calling Montreal Canadiens forward Josh Anderson. He noted that Habs GM Kent Hughes is telling teams they don’t intend to move him and want him a part of their rebuild.
Despite that, LeBrun added a serious package “led by a top prospect plus other assets” might be enough to pry him away. “But all things being equal, the Habs don’t really want to move him.”
So uh… let’s hope the Habs stay strong on not wanting to move him. I think there’s a world where Josh Anderson could fit in as a big, physical winger with a good shot on Connor McDavid’s wing, I’m just not sure it’s this world. Maybe somewhere else in the metaverse this is happening.
Nonetheless, Anderson has five years remaining on a deal paying him an AAV of $5.5-million. Since signing the seven-year pact on Oct. 8, 2020, Anderson has scored 36 goals and 56 points in 121 games. At 28 years old, he will be 32 years old when his deal expires.
He’s dealt with injuries in the past and prior to being traded to the Habs, he played in only 26 of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ 70 games in the COVD-shortened 2019-20 season. He only scored one goal and four points that season.
Maybe this is something the Oilers look into a few years down the road when the cap opens up, but right now, I think the team should be focused on spending that $5.5-million elsewhere.
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@example.com.
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