The Edmonton Oilers signed defenseman William Lagesson to a two-year contract yesterday, $725,000 cap is about $100,000 less than I’d estimated. Two-way deal first year, one-year deal the next. Lagesson is waiver eligible , but I think it’s wise to keep him in the NHL all year. We’ll see.
You can never have too many defensemen, and an NHL team should be damn good and sure about a young blue before sending him away. History has been teaching that fact forever.
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: Oilers’ reasonable expectations for 2020-21: The Goals
- New Jonathan Willis: Oilers defensive prospects are impressive overseas, but what comes next?
- Lowetide: Oilers pick up an intriguing addition in free agent Dominik Kahun
- Lowetide: How close is Ryan McLeod to an Oilers roster spot?
- Lowetide: Jay Woodcroft oversees a spike in Oilers prospect development
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers’ organizational depth chart: Where does Edmonton stand today?
- Lowetide: Dmitri Samorukov’s KHL impact and what it means to the Oilers
- Lowetide: Oilers extend Kris Russell, solve expansion issue
- Lowetide: Can Kyle Turris centre an outscoring No. 3 line in Edmonton?
- Lowetide: Tyson Barrie’s skills and how Oilers coach Dave Tippett will deploy him
- 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.
He’s rocking the Allsvenskan currently, and that’s a good thing. I was impressed with his numbers when a member of the Bakersfield Condors. In 92 AHL games, Lagesson’s on-ice even strength goal differential was 82-58, +24. In the same two year period, Ethan Bear (43-29, +14 playing just 2018-19) and Caleb Jones (59-46, +13 in a year and 14 games 2019-20) flourished and found NHL employment. His offense is (imo) underrated, at even strength in Bakersfield Lagesson kept pace with his two more famous teammates. He is NHL-ready and NHL-calibre. Now, he just needs to fly some sorties and find the range.
PROJECTED ROSTER ($2.5M CAP ROOM)
No. 7 defensemen play a lot and there are several injury possibilities among the top-six as listed. He could get into 50 games and might be the expansion player lost to the Kraken. You might think that’s a waste of development but every team will lose a player. Lagesson’s value would need to increase this season in order for him to be a viable expansion possibility for Seattle. I can’t imagine his value will increase enough for Edmonton to protect him.
As it stands now, my expansion list is (1-8) Mikko Koskinen, Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse, Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones, Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Kailer Yamamoto and Jesse Puljujarvi. If Ryan Nugent-Hopkins signs, or if Dominik Kahun has a breakout season, JP might not be protected. That leaves Zack Kassian, Kyle Turris, Dominik Kahun and possibly Puljujarvi in the mix with Lagesson for selection.
I’ve mentioned this countless times, but the best example of running through useful defensemen at breakneck speed without getting full value was the 1968-72 Toronto Maple Leafs.
In 1968-69, the rookie defensemen who played for the Leafs were Jim Dorey (a talented wild man), Rick Ley (undersized but tough and strong), Pat Quinn (a horse, big hitter), Mike Pelyk (great skater, defense first) and Jim McKenny (chaos blue, talented offensively).
In 1969-70, Brian Glennie (hard hitter, defensive defenseman) was the only rookie of note. In 1970-71, Brad Selwood (rugged two-way type) completed the group (seven men).
They traded some, lost others to the WHA and by 1973 the team’s shining lights were two brilliant rookies (Borje Salming, Ian Turnbull) and a very few holdovers (Pelyk, McKenny, Glennie).
Ballard didn’t want to pay Dorey (who would have six quality seasons in the WHA, two for the Toronto Toros) so dealt him to the New York Rangers for Pierre Jarry. The Rangers took a chance and lost (Dorey was an early jumper to the new league) but I’d rather do that than trade a player for 10 cents on the dollar.
Lagesson is an important player because has his defensive, shutdown ability. Edmonton’s current shutdown gem Adam Larsson is a year away from free agency. Lagesson joins young Dmitri Samorukov as the great hopes of the future in this area and there’s a possibility Philip Broberg grows into that role (although probably as a ‘two-way’ defender based on his current numbers in the SHL). We don’t know that Lagesson could play the Larsson minutes but it’s worth investing some 2020-21 minutes in this player.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning we are live on TSN1260 with two fabulous guests. Guy Flaming from The Pipeline Show joins us at 10:20 to talk about the WHL lending quality players to the AJHL and what it means. We’ll also chat World Juniors. At 11, Frank Seravalli pops in and we’ll chat offer sheets and Mathew Barzal. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!