Welcome, friends, to another edition of the Monday Mailbag where we answer all of your Oilers related questions and give you a few minutes of time killing distraction from whatever you have going on today. With the NHL Draft coming up tomorrow and Wednesday, there’s plenty to talk about as the Oilers will look to add another valuable piece to their prospect pool. This week, we’re looking at the draft, Oscar Klefbom’s situation, rumours that are flying around the league, and a whole lot more. As always, I need your questions to make this work. If you’ve got one, email it to me at [email protected] or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk and I’ll get to you as soon as we can.
Jan 11, 2020; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom (77) against the Calgary Flames during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
1) Trent asks – This week’s Klefbom news makes me think the Oilers need to consider trading him when he’s finally healthy again because of his injury issues. Does anyone else think it’s time to move on?
Jason Gregor:
I said earlier this summer, if the right deal is there I’d trade him. This recent injury news doesn’t make me think it is more of a rush to move him, but his injury history can’t be overlooked.
Robin Brownlee:
That’s not an unreasonable consideration, but there’s a lot of factors at play. What surgery, exactly, does he need? Is a full recovery expected or is the shoulder going to continue to be an issue? When healthy, which isn’t often enough, Klefbom is a very good player with a good contract. Another question is why would another team be willing to take a chance that he can stay healthy if it looks like the Oilers aren’t willing to? That will diminish the return in any trade talks.
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Tyler Yaremchuk:
I’m going to disagree with this. When he’s healthy, he’s their best defenseman and with a cap hit that’s barely more $4 million, he’s a huge bargain. Even if it takes a year for him to fully recover, he’s worth holding onto for the final two years of his deal. Also, his value will be at an all-time low.
Nation Dan:
I mean, it’s hard to argue this feeling as a guttural/instinctual reaction to the fact that Klefbom is once again banged up. The problem, of course, is you’re talking about trading a player who is hurt (and the league knows it) so you’re not getting the value you should for a player of Klefbom’s calibre, and so you have to replace him from within/FA that I just don’t think exists right now. On top of that, Larsson is also banged up and showing some wear and tear. I don’t think trading Klef is going to work out for us in the long haul.
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Baggedmilk:
I completely understand why you’d ask this question and I hate it. When he’s healthy, which isn’t nearly enough, Klefbom is unquestionably the Oilers’ best defenceman and this latest problem with his shoulder is an issue that Holland just didn’t need right now. The problem would be that trading him now means that you’d only get pennies on the dollar and that just can’t keep happening.
Mar 3, 2020; Dallas, Texas, USA; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Ethan Bear (74) during the game between the Stars and the Oilers at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
2) Bentley asks – I had maybe thought that we’d see an @Ethan Bear contract get done by now, and I’m wondering what everyone thinks it might look like in regards to term and dollars?
Jason Gregor:
Oilers will qualify him, so there isn’t a big rush. I see a short-term deal in place…possibly at $2m.
Robin Brownlee:
The Oilers have the hammer here and they should use it. Bear doesn’t have arbitration rights and we’re into a flat cap era for at least two more years, maybe more. That sucks for him, but that’s the reality. It makes sense for the Oilers and for Bear to limit the next contract to two years and re-visit. If Bear continues to develop on the track he’s on, he’s going to get paid down the road and likely in a long-term deal in which the Oilers will have to buy some UFA years. I could see something like $1.2M X2 for now.
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Tyler Yaremchuk:
I think it will be a two-year deal worth around $1.5 million a season. Seems like a fair deal for a player who’s coming off an impressive rookie season. I bet it gets done this week.
Nation Dan:
I’m happy to admit when I just plain don’t know. I would love to refer you to our friends at Puckpedia.com and the group they partnered up with called “the Hockey Code” to try and project contracts using comparables. They have him projected at signing a 2 x $2,593,886 deal and I think that would be pretty darn reasonable for a guy who I *knocks on wood* think will be able to avoid the sophomore slump.
Baggedmilk:
I’m thinking he’ll come in around $2-2.25 but I’m obviously just guessing. As for being concerned nothing is done yet, I haven’t even thought about it until just now. Holland will get this done.
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3) Stephen asks – What are you expecting from the Oilers at this week’s draft? If you were to guess, do you think they’ll simply make their selections or do you think Holland will be active in the trade marker?
Jason Gregor:
I don’t see him trading the first round pick for an NHL player, unless a team is willing to give up a player with one or two years of NHL experience. I could see him moving back from 14th overall if none of the four players they really like are there. As for other trades, he is looking to add on the blueline and a winger.
Robin Brownlee:
I Holland will be active, if not at the draft then in the weeks following. At the very least, he’ll try to create some cap room that will allow him to look at UFA and trade opportunities in goal and on defence. The first triggers the second.
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Tyler Yaremchuk:
I think Holland will trade down if Seth Jarvis is off the board. He’ll add an extra pick later in the draft, and/or dump some cap space, and move down to the 20-25 range. It could work out really well since there are some interesting forward options in that range. I personally like Connor Zary from the Kamloops Blazers.
Nation Dan:
We spoke a little about how we think the whole league will behave in this year’s draft on Oilersnation Radio this past Friday. I’ve been having this nagging thought that day two of the draft is when we will see some money move around. I think/hope Uncle Ken will be in the mix there, but no matter what, with the tightness of budgets these days, I think trades are going to be tough.
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Baggedmilk:
I could see them trading down in the first round to try and more picks somewhere along the line, but I’m not expecting a blockbuster deal by any means. I think it’ll be another quiet draft from the Oilers. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I will be.
Photo Credit: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports
4) Jess asks – Looking around the NHL, who has been the most surprising name that has been rumoured to be available so far?
Jason Gregor:
I don’t understand why Laine is potentially available. A legit goal-scorer who just turned 22. Why trade him, because once he is gone you will spend years trying to find another proven goal scorer.
Robin Brownlee:
Probably Patrik Laine followed by Jake DeBrusk. How do you trade away a goal-scorer like Laine and win that deal?
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Tyler Yaremchuk:
Patrik Laine and Oliver Ekman-Larsson are both surprising to me. OEL just signed a long-term extension and I did not expect the Coyotes to be moving him this quickly after locking him up. Laine is one of the best pure goal scorers in the league and if the Jets move him, I can’t really see a scenario where they win the deal.
Nation Dan:
Easily the answer has to be Sergachev out of Tampa. Not often do you get a sniff of a player of his calibre/age coming up not once, but twice (Drouin/Sergachev swap) in his career. Not to mention the fact that he is fresh off his cup win. In hindsight, the Staal brothers that went in two trades this year was surprising too.
Baggedmilk:
I honestly don’t understand why Laine or Sergachev is rumoured to be available. Both of those guys are young difference makers and I can’t see their respective clubs winning a deal that ships either of them out of town. For Laine specifically, I don’t know why the Jets would even entertain this idea unless they know he absolutely hates it there.
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Sep 20, 2018; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers defensemen Evan Bouchard (75) skates during warmup against the Winnipeg Jets at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
5) Oilers fan in Van asks – If the Oilers do not qualify Matt Benning because of salary cap restrictions, do you think that would make Evan Bouchard the defacto third pairing RHD or would you suspect that Holland would try to add a cheaper veteran?
Jason Gregor:
I think Bouchard will come to camp and compete for that spot, but it won’t be given to him, nor should it be. Bear wasn’t given a spot last year. He earned his spot, and when Larsson got injured he played even more. You should have competition for a chance to play every night, and I think Bouchard and another RD will compete for that spot.
Robin Brownlee:
Klefbom’s status and a timeline for his return impacts everything. Bouchard is the cheaper option for sure, but is he ready? We know what Benning is but do the numbers line up so that Holland can keep him at around the $2-million mark? Also, as discussed above, Bear needs a contract.
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Tyler Yaremchuk:
Can I say both? I think Holland will go get a cheap insurance policy but Evan Bouchard will be given every chance to play on a regular basis next season and I expect he will.
Nation Dan:
I think Ken Holland will definitely be adding some scratch ticket D players with the news of Klefbom and Larsson’s nagging issues.
Baggedmilk:
I could see Dad working his way onto the lineup, but I highly doubt that he’ll be on the third-pairing when the season ends. Maybe in past regimes, but it feels unlikely on Ken Holland’s watch.

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