We’re back to getting the news on Oilers’ offseason thinking from Jim Matheson of the EJ, effectively returning to life before Al Gore invented the worldwide web. Yesterday Mr. Matheson dropped a new name for possible procurement:
- Matheson: The Oilers may also be interested in O’Connor’s teammate, Finnish defenceman/forward Ahti Oksanen, also a free-agent. The six-foot-three, 205-pound Oksanen had 25 goals in 40 games this past season when moved from the back-end. Source
Interesting information to be sure and Oksanen has some nice things in his resume. He’s a Finn (we love Finns, they’re basically us with accents and equal or more crazy) and his size/skill would absolutely make him interesting.
- Boston Hockey Blog: Junior winger Ahti Oksanen made the transition from the blue line to the forwards corps this season look almost seamless. He arguably has the best one-timer on the team, and just always seems to be in the right spot with just enough space to create a chance. Source
The one-timer is fascinating, as is his utility—Oilers fans are probably thinking power play and that makes a lot of sense. His NHLE (via Rob Vollman) works out to 82, 17-9-26 suggests offensive ability and his coach saw offensive ability in him early.
- Boston University coach David Quinn: “You know, we had a glaring need up front, and after coaching Ahti for a year, I thought all his strengths were going to be highlighted up front. The way he sees the ice, his shot, his hockey sense, his strength around the puck. I don’t know if anyone has got a stronger stick in college hockey, and we needed a left wing. When I told Ahti that’s what we’re going to do, he didn’t react with a huge smile. There was definitely some reluctance on his part. I had to do some arm twisting. But, like when I told him we were going to move him up front, I told him we were not going to put you on a third or fourth line. We were going to put you up front and we think you’re going to be one of the top six forwards.” Source
We may never hear a thing about him but Oksansen is a prospect of some promise. Edmonton is in the mix and has interest and after that we’ll wait and see.
Patrick C (Chunklets Hockey) has an update for us today in regard to the Slepyshev contract:
- Patrick: Yep – reports today indicate that that is exactly what happened. Link to article. What it means, likely, is that it will cost the Oilers a fair bit of money to buy him out of his KHL contract, if that’s what they want to do. They may, at this point, choose to leave him in Russia for a year, so that they only have to buy out one season. That’s a straight-up guess, though. 🙂
I’d wager that with Matty and Ryan Rishaug having the same story (I wrote about it here) that MacT will come home from the U18’s with a contract in hand. The Oilers are very likely to get him over here if they’re convinced of him.
BARONS PLAY TONIGHT
The Barons play Hamilton at 6 our time tonight at Cox Convention Center in OKC. The defense needed some help and received it in a big way, as Martin Marincin, Brandon Davidson and David Musil came back from Edmonton. The goaltending looks strong again with Richard Bachman and Laurent Brossoit, plus Andrew Miller (who shone in Edmonton) should help the offense. I’ll update the scores in the comments section and pass along junior goals too (most of Edmonton’s top prospects are in action tonight).