Never Kept a Dollar Past Sunset

by Lowetide
Photo by Mark Williams (William Lagesson)

Free agency is the empty calories of the hockey experience. It’s like dessert at a fancy restaurant. You’ve had wine, a fine meal, good company, and more wine. You’re content, this is good, we should do this more often. Suddenly, the dessert tray rolls by and your date notices a chocolate something-or-other.

That’s free agency day. Hard to say no to those empty calories.

The shopping and trading we see in the coming hours will inform us about the future, and about individual members of the department of youth. Some young prospects are going to get great news, others will see roadblocks appear that make NHL time next season difficult or impossible. Today, more than anything, is Ken Holland’s report card on his roster. What does he consider a priority? What impact will that have on the kids in the pipeline?

THE ATHLETIC!

I’m proud to be writing for The Athletic, and pleased to be part of a great team with Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis. Here is our recent work.

YOUNG BLOOD

RW Jesse Puljujarvi has a new contract and the Oilers will make room for him in the coming days by trading a veteran. This is a good time for him to return to the NHL. He has man strength (22 now), over a season of successful play in the Liiga and an organization that can use his range of skills. For those who have forgotten, he is 6.04, 201, skates well and drives to the net with abandon. Needs to make quicker decisions, learn to find quiet spaces in the offensive end and work on consistency. A lot of those words are a match for every kid at 22 who entered the NHL. Puljujarvi has real talent, he could be here for a decade if things rhyme.

RD Evan Bouchard got some good news this week, as the organization has cleared the way for him to begin his NHL career. Matt Benning’s exit means there’s an opening on RH side (third pair) for 2020-21. He will have competition, including Kris Russell and Caleb Jones, but Edmonton wants to add puck movers and Bouchard’s ability to pass the puck is exceptional.

LD William Lagesson is still hanging by a thread as a roster player for next season (I have him No. 8 on the depth chart) but the team qualified him so the two-way defender will get a second contract. We’re just beginning the roster tweaks, only Puljujarvi’s addition and the exits of Andreas Athanasiou and Benning represent significant change. Today and this coming month will tell us much about Lagesson’s future.

50-MAN LIST (38)

LW Tyler Benson sits No. 4 on the current depth chart and that’s good. What is bad? Edmonton is likely to add a left winger (maybe more) in the coming days. Benson’s final entry-level season is coming, I’m going to bet he plays in both the AHL and NHL this year.

LC Ryan McLeod sits No. 5 or 6 as we begin the process, but one of the priorities for Holland is a No. 3 center. Like Benson, he’ll likely split time between AHL and NHL in 2020-21.

Kris Russell is the only Oilers player on the list (No. 34), but I have heard Koskinen, Larsson, Neal, Khaira, Kassian and Chiasson mentioned in recent days.

As for possible acquisitions on the list, there are plenty who fit but I’m not sure if any are real options. Andreas Johnsson seems attainable, Jake DeBrusk would be ideal. Darcy Kuemper remains an option, although I had heard he was heading east before the draft.

I think the play here is to use some of Klefbom’s cap to address needs in free agency. I did some ciphering in my piece for The Athletic above and Holland may need it to make things go in free agency. Nurse-Jones-Russell on the LH side with Larsson-Bear-Bouchard (Lagesson No. 7) will definitely need some help, but the Klefbom status makes it impossible to throw any dollars at the problem. Maybe Philip Broberg saves the world.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we kickstart the long weekend with a grand show! Free agency 2020 in the NHL begins right at 10 and we have you covered. Guests include Steve Lansky from Inside the Truck Podcast and BigMouthSports, we’ll chat about the NHL draft and free agency (coverage) and MLB playoffs. Corey Graham, Edmonton Oil Kings play by play man will pop by to talk about Jake Neighbours going in the first round of the 2020 draft and when we’ll hear his voice calling OK games. Matt Iwanyk will pop in at 11, we’ll talk about the Lakers winning another championship, and comparing this team to great LA basketball clubs of the past. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Hang on man, this free agency day is going to be wild!

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Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

Kahun time! Come on, Kenneth!

Also toss us a couple Swedish Cs in Larsson and Wallmark alongside a a lil bit o’ Merrill! Top it off with a backup goalie that’s an improvement on Smith and I’m content!

Harpers Hair

Paul Stastny traded back to the Jets by Vegas.

jp

Just replying to this from last thread and figure it was equally relevant here.

OriginalPouzar: He had a signing age of 23 so needed 2 years of pro to vest arb rights – he is arb eligible (or was if qualified).

Thanks, I figured arbitration rights considering no qualification. He’s scored pretty well so fearing an arbitration award makes sense.

That leaves us with “3 teams in 2 seasons” as the main red flag.

I looked a bit last night and didn’t see any obvious issues in his numbers. He scored better than 0.5 points/game (and >2.3 points/60) this season for both teams. Basically the same last year. He was a plus player at every stop and the underlying numbers were fine aside for his 6 games with Buffalo. His GF/GA results were better than the underlying ones so likely a bit lucky. He’s not a “driver’ but he’s not bleeding GA or anything.

Seems like a great target assuming he actually is cheap. Would be interested if anyone has more info on him, good or bad.

12 percent body fat

Holland will be the man if he can clear out Neal, Kassian, Russel, Chiasson and Khaira without salary coming back. Imaging stocking picks with these guys for next year, than using those picks to draft skill.

Than use Larsson to get back a roster player!

GordieHoweHatTrick

Rambling thoughts…

With JP now back in the fold (YAY!), moving one of Chiasson or Kassian seems prudent – probably the former, particularly if the Bs want him in exchange for Bjork (some LW insurance coverage for the nagging Nygaard injury). Then there is some better L-R balance in the bottom 6/supply W category. Ennis or Ennis-like contract for another W would be good (Kahun?) to make Benson force his way on to the line-up and have depth for injury cover.

Not sure what to do with the D without having knowledge on Klef’s plans for the next 12 months. This uncertainty is annoying to say the least – I hope KH knows what is going to happen. Would still like to see KRusty moved (e.g., for Raanta) and replaced with an alternative lower CAP cost LD (e.g., Koekkoek??), but IF Klef is gone for the year, then moving KRusty without a solid “plan B” for LD is risky. I have confidence in Jones and 2-3LD and Laggesson as 3 LD, it is the injury risk that causes problems and Nurse is best as 2LD, not 1 LD, but I don’t see getting a legit 1LD as an option right now. Lennström could probably get some looks on an injury basis for 3LD. I think some insurance for 3RD is warranted for injury cover and for cover if Bouch struggles. IF Larsson is moved, need to get another tough, home plate protector, e.g., Gudas?. I don’t want to see Barrie. We don’t need to get a PP D man with Nurse, Bear and Bouch available PLUS the way the team runs the PP, it is driven by the F, not the D currently. Barrie’s cost and D liabilities are prohibitive.

I’m OK with Koivu at 3C for ~2Mx 1yr, but there are many options on the FA market…all will have some upsides and downsides…I don’t think they can find the perfect 3C right now. Haas is a low budget, higher risk option for the next year, if $ is required elsewhere…

G-Spot. I continue to believe that MK is still trending in the right direction, but the team does not show confidence in him…and that is a problem for all. He isn’t that bad, but an upgrade would of course be “good”. Also many options for 1B (Khodobin, Griess, etc). I don’t want to see a big ticket, long-term contract unless it is a home run. I would prefer some minor moves here, unless Neal-MAF could be done, which I think has an ultimate net positive for the team over the next 2-3 year time frame.

I think the aquistions in the next few days will provide insights into KH thinking on their perceived readiness of the kids…

Buckle up!

dessert1111

I see the needs today as, in order:

G
C
LW
RD

A second G and some more forward depth wouldn’t go amiss either.

Virtually any trade of a roster player, except maybe a RW, would also create another spot to fill.

Hoping for lots of low, short term bets today, if there are any medium to big moves, Holland better be right.

Harpers Hair

Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) Tweeted:
Vegas clears Stastny’s $6.5M AAV. Stastny has a 10-team No-trade list but Winnipeg wasn’t among the No teams. Didn’t need to waive.

Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) Tweeted:
Pending a trade call, the VGK have traded Paul Statsny to Wpg for a 4th in 2022 and Carl Dahlstrom

Kraz

I think some players are in for a wake up call today. Torrey Krug turning down a 6 x 6.5 contract from the bruins which seems crazy to me.

Ben

I think he’s got a few trades in the hopper, will see who he can sign today and pull the trigger to get compliant if and when needed. Which is a smart approach.

trencan

Just small correction. Jesse played in Finnish SM Liiga previous season, not in Russia. That would be great having similar productivity in KHL…

Kraz

Some players are going to get squeezed hard today. If I got offered a fair long term contract I would jump all over it before it’s too late

Harpers Hair

John Shannon (@JShannonhl) Tweeted:
The ECHL announces a Dec 11 season…13 teams will begin a 72 game season…Allen, Florida, Greenville, Indy, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Orlando, Rapid City, South Carolina, Tulsa, Utah, Wheeling and Wichita.

John Shannon (@JShannonhl) Tweeted:
It should be noted the remaining ECHL teams will begin their Season on January 15, 2021, competing in a 62-game season upon jurisdictional approval, but Atlanta will not participate.

Reja

I hoping Kenny can trade some money out but I would definitely sit on the sidelines and go dumpster diving later on. There’s going to be some real steals if you wait. A big fat no to signing Holtby unless it’s 1 year and cheap.

LadiesloveSmid

Vince Dunn is an interesting name, don’t think they could make dollars work. Brodie, too. Can’t see dollars working.

Will guess they sign Derek Forbort, Cody Eakin, and Thomas Greiss.

Harpers Hair

Matt Larkin (@THNMattLarkin) Tweeted:
So hear me out. Assumption is a Stastny trade clears space for Vegas to pursue Pietrangelo.

But defense is not Vegas’ area of need. It needs a No. 1 center.

What if Vegas were to pursue…Mr. Steven Stamkos?

maudite

Damn. Statsny is the player I was hoping the oil might pick up. Lw and center option one year at 6.5 mil would be a killer top 6 or 3 line combo

doritogrande

Put me down for a day of Duclair and Cousins, thanks. Circle back next week on a goalie that didn’t go in the frenzy, I’m thinking its Holtby.

RNH-McD-Kassian
Duclair-Drai-Yam
Khaira-Cousins-Puljujarvi
Nygard-Haas-Archibald
Chaisson/Russell

Nurse-Bear
Jones-Larsson
Russell-Bouchard
Lagesson

Holtby/Koskinen

Victoria Oil

Harpers Hair:
Paul Stastny traded back to the Jets by Vegas.

Looks like VGK didn’t retain any salary, which is a mistake by the Jets IMO who let the Golden Knights off the hook.

Harpers Hair

Lundqvist sighs a one year deal with Washington for $1.1 million.

Eh Team

Harpers Hair: What if Vegas were to pursue…Mr. Steven Stamkos?

Tampa would love to lose Stamkos and his cap hit.

Eh Team

doritogrande: Put me down for a day of Duclair

Oilers issue on the top 2 lines isn’t getting another forward to score points, but getting forwards who play both ends of the ice. Duclair (and AA) are examples of forwards who will score a few goals but give up way more than they get.

Harpers Hair

Bruce McCurdy (@BruceMcCurdy) Tweeted:
Holland: In free agency if you want to land a player & he’s in demand, you have to do one of two things. You either have to give a longer term than you want or a higher cap than you want.

Chia: Hold my beer.

Bob McKenzie saying Oilers will go hard on Markstrom with a max term deal.

McSorley33

12 percent body fat:
Holland will be the man if he can clear out Neal, Kassian, Russel, Chiasson and Khaira without salary coming back.Imaging stocking picks with these guys for next year, than using those picks to draft skill.

Than use Larsson to get back a roster player!

Dream bigger….imagine Kenny *not* signing those contracts for Kass and Chaser in the first place.

Kass 3.2 million…and this one keeps on giving for some time…
Chaser 2.15 Million.

That is not a bad sum of money to have right about now…

Harpers Hair

Eh Team: Tampa would love to lose Stamkos and his cap hit.

Yep.

Would solve most of their cap issues in one deal.

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

Trade Kassian! I’ve seen some word that there are some teams with interest in physicality on their W.

YKOil

Victoria Oil: Looks like VGK didn’t retain any salary, which is a mistake by the Jets IMO who let the Golden Knights off the hook.

Agreed. All the pressure on Vegas and Winnipeg totally clears them.

Just a mystifying move by Winnipeg.

LMHF#1

I’m against spending big dough on a goalie that isn’t 23-26 and an utter superstar.

Goalie bargains exist every year – especially this one. Go that route.

who

GordieHoweHatTrick:
Rambling thoughts…

With JP now back in the fold (YAY!), moving one of Chiasson or Kassian seems prudent – probably the former, particularly if the Bs want him in exchange for Bjork (some LW insurance coverage for the nagging Nygaard injury). Then there is some better L-R balance in the bottom 6/supply W category. Ennis or Ennis-like contract for another W would be good (Kahun?) to make Benson force his way on to the line-up and have depth for injury cover.

Not sure what to do with the D without having knowledge on Klef’s plans for the next 12 months. This uncertainty is annoying to say the least – I hope KH knows what is going to happen. Would still like to see KRusty moved (e.g., for Raanta) and replaced with an alternative lower CAP cost LD (e.g., Koekkoek??), but IF Klef is gone for the year, then moving KRusty without a solid “plan B” for LD is risky. I have confidence in Jones and 2-3LD and Laggesson as 3 LD, it is the injury risk that causes problems and Nurse is best as 2LD, not 1 LD, but I don’t see getting a legit 1LD as an option right now. Lennström could probably get some looks on an injury basis for 3LD. I think some insurance for 3RD is warranted for injury cover and for cover if Bouch struggles. IF Larsson is moved, need to get another tough, home plate protector, e.g., Gudas?. I don’t want to see Barrie. We don’t need to get a PP D man with Nurse, Bear and Bouch available PLUS the way the team runs the PP, it is driven by the F, not the D currently. Barrie’s cost and D liabilities are prohibitive.

I’m OK with Koivu at 3C for ~2Mx 1yr, but there are many options on the FA market…all will have some upsides and downsides…I don’t think they can find the perfect 3C right now. Haas is a low budget, higher risk option for the next year, if $ is required elsewhere…

G-Spot. I continue to believe that MK is still trending in the right direction, but the team does not show confidence in him…and that is a problem for all. He isn’t that bad, but an upgrade would of course be “good”. Also many options for 1B (Khodobin, Griess, etc). I don’t want to see a big ticket, long-term contract unless it is a home run. I would prefer some minor moves here, unless Neal-MAF could be done, which I think has an ultimate net positive for the team over the next 2-3 year time frame.

I think the aquistions in the next few days will provide insights into KH thinking on their perceived readiness of the kids…

Buckle up!

Now that Vegas has unloaded Stastny, I’m not sure that a Neal for Fleury trade would interest them at all.
But I would offer them Neal, with 2 million retained, for Fleury. I’d even throw in a 3rd round pick if I had to.
Oilers pay their 1B goalie 3.25 million for the next 2 years, and dump the last year of Neals contract.

nelson88

I’m generally supportive of Tippett and all for giving the younger players (bear, Jones , Bouchard, benson, etc.) bigger roles. However, coach never seems to trust koski or Benning even though the numbers are pretty good.

If Kenny goes out and handcuffs this team with an albatross Markstrom contract (love the player don’t love the cost, age and injury risk) and Benning flourishes on a cheap deal elsewhere Tippett better be prepared to take the sword and Kenny should be running out of lives as well.

godot10

Harpers Hair:
Paul Stastny traded back to the Jets by Vegas.

Paul Stastny will have made over $6.5 million per season (in AAV) for 12 seasons when he completes his contract next season. The timing of his good seasons and contract expirations has been optimal.

Winnipeg in the last year of his contract is a pretty good place to go to pump his numbers one more time.

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

who,

So EDM retains 2mil on Neal’s 5.75 for the right to effectively pay Fleury 9mil (7mil + 2m retained). I think you might have some wrong numbers.

Another point, Vegas is still VERY keen on dumping salary. They have 2.8mil and are still aiming for Pietrangelo as far as I’ve seen. They’re apparently even considering Schmidt and Marchessault trades.

JOFA

Harpers Hair:
Bruce McCurdy (@BruceMcCurdy) Tweeted:
Holland: In free agency if you want to land a player & he’s in demand, you have to do one of two things. You either have to give a longer term than you want or a higher cap than you want.

Chia: Hold my beer.

Bob McKenzie saying Oilers will go hard on Markstrom with a max term deal.

LOL. Let’s hope Kenny decides to change his phone number today.

Harpers Hair

Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) Tweeted:
#tblightning did make offer last night to UFA Kevin Shattenkirk, as @frank_seravalli wrote. Heard it was three years, but veteran d-man still going to market for now. Also sounds like there’s a good chance Maroon and Schenn could return to Tampa Bay.

€√¥£€^$

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual:
Trade Kassian! I’ve seen some word that there are some teams with interest in physicality on their W.

Stauffer hinted Ottawa was in the market for a derrent on the right side
They seem to have cap space, it Kassian their target or someone else?

Only others that come to mind are Reaves and Wilson. Would Vegas move Reaves?

hunter1909

JP is clearly the news of today so far.

JP potentially gives the team a bona fide, big, Gordie Howe injury free, creative winger for McCaptain lol

€√¥£€^$

€√¥£€^$: Stauffer hinted Ottawa was in the market for a derrent on the right side They seem to have cap space, it Kassian their target or someone else?

Only others that come to mind are Reaves and Wilson.Would Vegas move Reaves?

Florida is also looking for toughness…. Not sure if there isuch of a market for Kassian

leadfarmer

Markstrom until 37 i can live with. Thats the age the wheels appear to completely fall off.
Would prefer 36 though.

Kinger_Oil.redux

– The concern with Koivu is that given his age, he’s another Jusi, Cammalleri, Gagner, Roy, Ferrence, etc. I guess Brodziak was ok for awhile, and Hendo

– Bringing in a vet to impart his wisdom and work ethic before sailing off into the sunset is a good fair tail story, but it seems mostly at the expense of the hockey-thing

– IF Koivu can play at a 3rd C level in terms of the hockey try and get. I suspect though he’s probably slow, and not able to perform. And if that’s the case, he takes pool down with him

– Choose your 3C and Pool’s linemates wisely

– I wish we didnt have this truncated/delayed/reushed off-season, I liked doing my yearly off-season poll, and collecting predictions on what we all think the Oil would do in terms of 1st pick, trades, free agents, current players on team, etc…

leadfarmer

I’m getting ready for fireworks. This is going to be nuts. Some teams are like pandemic what pandemic here Josh Anderson have a truck of money. Other teams are pinching pennies

N64

“That’s free agency day. Hard to say no to those empty calories”

Tastes Great. Less Filling.

Who knew Steinbrenner and Martin were talking about Free Agency.

1.2.3.Live.

hunter1909

Hall to Boston is the Hunter1909 pick if he hasn’t signed anywhere.

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

€√¥£€^$,

Would be looking at Ottawa and Florida for sure. Not sure what they want to send back, but either of Brown or Connolly are guys I’d target and add a bit to if it got it done. I’d also take just a mid-to-low pick if it gave us space to add Hinostroza, too.

dustrock

You give a max deal to a Lundqvist, Rask or Vasilevsky when they are 22.

Not Markstrom, not now.

Fuhr and Lowething in Vegreville

Kinger_Oil.redux,

I have a lot of faith in Woodguys analysis.

https://becauseoilers.blogspot.com/2020/09/edmonton-oilers-3rd-line-center-search_20.html?m=1

Koivu actually seems to be one of the more ideal 3c options on a short term deal.

Harpers Hair

Tracey Myers (@Tramyers_NHL) Tweeted:

Blackhawks sign Dominik Kubalik to a two-year extension ($3.7M cap hit) and sign Malcolm Subban to a two-year contract ($850K hit)

John Chambers

If VGK lands Pietrangelo they’re going to run away with the division and it won’t be close.

That would be a 110+ point team.

Harpers Hair

The OEL trade to Vancouver or Boston is dead according to his agent.

godot10

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual:
€√¥£€^$,

Would be looking at Ottawa and Florida for sure. Not sure what they want to send back, but either of Brown or Connolly are guys I’d target and add a bit to if it got it done. I’d also take just a mid-to-low pick if it gave us space to add Hinostroza, too.

Ottawa has three 2nd round picks next year already. I’d ask for one of them for Kassian, and be overjoyed.

Unfriendly Regional Arachnid Individual

Tyler Johnson on waivers!