Vincent Desharnais, Edmonton Oilers reportedly pause ongoing contract talks for playoffs

Photo credit:Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
22 days ago
The Edmonton Oilers and pending free agent defenceman Vincent Desharnais have reportedly paused ongoing contract talks for the playoffs.
This, according to TSN’s Ryan Rishaug, who added that talks will resume when the Oilers’ season ends. Desharnais, 27, is one of many pending unrestricted free agents Edmonton will have to deal with this summer.
Drafted by the Oilers in the seventh round of the 2016 draft, Desharnais spent three years after being drafted at the NCAA’s Providence College, where he took steps forward each season. Turning pro ahead of the 2019-20 season, he spent most of his first season in the ECHL before spending the following year with the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors.
His rise to the NHL didn’t take long, as after two and a half seasons with the Condors, the towering 6’7, 226. lb righty was called up to the Oilers. He made his NHL debut on January 11th, 2023, and has remained a mainstay of the blueline since.
The Oilers have consistently dominated the pace of play with him on the ice. Across his 109 games in which he’s played 1371 minutes of 5v5 time, Edmonton has controlled 51.24 percent of the shot attempt share, 54.41 percent of the expected goal share and 55.29 percent of the actual goal share.
While he doesn’t play much offensive hockey, Desharnais is your prototypical shut-down defenceman. According to hockeyviz.com, he provides offence at an 11 percent rate below the league average, defence at a 10 percent rate above the league average, and penalty kill value at an eight percent rate above the league average. His overall impacts are those of a high-end third-pair defenceman or a low-end second-pair defenceman.
There’s no word about what negotiations have looked like, but it wouldn’t be unreasonable for both sides to agree upon a multi-year deal in the two-to-three-year range for around $1.25-$1.5-million. It would provide Desharnais with a substantial raise from his entry-level contract salary of $762,500, and add some affordable stability to the Oilers blueline.
There’s lots of work to be done with other free agents this summer, too. Fellow defenceman Troy Stecher, who the club acquired at the trade deadline, is also a pending unrestricted free agent, as is netminder Calvin Pickard.
The forward group as it currently stands includes pending restricted free agent Dylan Holloway, and six pending unrestricted free agents in Warren Foegele, Adam Henrique, Mattias Janmark, Connor Brown, Corey Perry and Sam Carrick. The Oilers will have roughly $11-million in cap space, accounting for Brown’s $3.25-million bonus, but not accounting for any trades or buyouts this summer to clear more room.

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 zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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