The Oilers have to sign Ethan Bear to a new contract in the coming days and don’t have much room to wheel. Many want an “Oscar Klefbom” deal but that may have to wait until next year. How important is getting Bear signed long-term? If the Oilers believe he has a Klefbom-quality future, it’s a big damned deal.
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.
- New Lowetide: Tyson Barrie’s skills and how Oilers coach Dave Tippett will deploy him
- New Jonathan Willis: Can Oilers unlock James Neal’s scoring potential at five on five?
- Lowetide: Why is Ilya Konovalov no longer starting in the KHL?
- Lowetide: Oilers Top 20 prospects, post-draft edition.
- Lowetide: Finding Connor McDavid’s optimal linemates among 2020-21 Oilers
- Jonathan Willis: A cautious free agent period boosts an Oilers team still on the upswing
- Lowetide: Oilers prospects poised to benefit after offseason news.
- Lowetide: Oilers bring back Mike Smith for another year.
- Lowetide: Oilers sign Tyson Barrie to a team-friendly deal.
- Lowetide: Oilers sign Kyle Turris, Tyler Ennis in early hours of free agency.
- Lowetide: Ken Holland will need to be creative in free agency
- Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi signing overshadows a strong day for Oilers at draft
- Lowetide: Oilers draft Dylan Holloway on Day 1, with trades possible Wednesday
- Lisa Dillman: Dylan Holloway could be a ‘difference-maker’ for the Oilers
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers could benefit both now and in the future by adding a right-shot defender
- Lowetide: Ken Holland’s work week: Get good players, keep good players
- Lowetide: Oilers’ defence prospects are pushing, and changes are coming
- Lowetide: Potential trades and partners for the Oilers’ offseason
- Lowetide: Dealing a defenceman? Taking stock of Oilers’ blueline assets
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Oilers GM Ken Holland on improving internally, the flat cap and goaltending
I wrote the following on September 19, 2015, on the day Peter Chiarelli and the Oilers signed Oscar Klefbom to a long-term deal. At the time, Klefbom had played just 77 NHL games, 12 fewer than Ethan Bear has to this point in his career.
The Edmonton Oilers have signed Oscar Klefbom to a seven-year deal at what is being reported at $4.167 million per season—the Jonas Brodin deal looks like it might have been the model. Brodin’s six-year, $4.1 million dollar contract was signed in October of 2014—at a point when the young Minnesota defenseman had played 126 games at the time of the deal, Klefbom has just 77 under his belt as he cashes.
The lack of NHL experience is a concern but the price point and number of free-agent seasons purchased gives this a little extra appeal. Klefbom led the Oilers in EV time-on-ice, 19:47, as a rookie, also had 1:44 SH and 27 seconds on the power play. He played nine games in OKC in 2014-15, we’ll call sending him out stupid is as stupid does.
Klefbom’s role last season was to play with chaos blue Justin Schultz—while getting a zone start push—and those two things turned Schultz into a positive in possession. In Justin Schultz’ three NHL seasons, his primary partner had a Corsi 5×5 For % of 45.4 (Nick Schultz, 12-13), 42.1 (Andrew Ference 13-14) and 51.4% (Oscar Klefbom, 14-15) when on the ice with him. I think Klefbom might want to buy Tyler Dellow a beer today, but that’s a guess and maybe Dallas Eakins figured it out without Dellow.
The money is dear—I’m not sure how much offensive value he brings—but the FA seasons purchased make this a deal I think we can be reasonably satisfied with in terms of cap weight. The Oilogosphere often differs in opinions on these things, I think the main worries are injury (Oscar had some concussion issues in the past) and range of skills (he may not hit 30 points in an NHL season). A bridge deal for two years may have made the next deal far more expensive—and as Jeff Petry’s experience shows perhaps locking these young men up miles from freedom is the right play for a struggling Oilers organization.
This is 22 men (Joakim Nygard is in the minors) and there’s about $250,000 left over. I don’t think this is a reasonable path. A one-year deal for Bear kicks the problem down the road, but next year over $23 million comes off the books.
Oscar Klefbom versus elites 2014-15: 388 minutes (34.4 percent of his overall five on five time), 44.0 percent DFF%, 3.50 DFF%RC, 10-17 goals, 2.63 GA-60.
Ethan Bear versus elites 2019-20: 468 minutes (36.1 percent of his overall five on five time), 45.3 percent DFF%, 0.00 DFF%RC, 25-19 goals, 2.43 GA-60.
Both are rock solid performances by young blue. I am not against signing Bear long term, just don’t see a path forward. Puck IQ. I think the play here is to wait a year and then go long on a deal for Bear.
Bruce McCurdy will be my guest on the Lowdown today, he has a fine article up at the Cult of Hockey in regard to coach Tippett’s interview wit Bob Stauffer yesterday. Bruce’s take on Tippett’s verbal is here. The Puljujarvi and Barrie takes were the most interesting from here.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy morning, TSN1260, maybe we’ll have an Oilers signing to discuss. McCurdy hits the air at 10:20, and Joe Osborne from OddsShark talks World Series and NFL weekend plus your comments. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio! PS, Queen Elizabeth is on the Canadian $1,000 bill. I have seven of them to give away at 10:15 this morning.