Based on reports Adam Larsson is heading to free agency and that’s a concern. We can argue about the pricetag for Duncan Keith, but the premise of the deal (as I see it) would be running a veteran (and probably effective) second pairing of Keith-Larsson behind Darnell Nurse-Ethan Bear and ahead of Kris Russell-Evan Bouchard.
Is this Larsson thing real? If it is, what can Edmonton do about it?
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’s the latest!
- New Lowetide: 5 players outside the NHL who could help the Oilers
- New DNB: Adam Larsson and free agency? Who’s on the expansion list?
- New DNB: Oilers talking to Zach Hyman’s camp
- Lowetide: Lessons learned from Oilers’ previous drafts
- Lowetide: What did the Oilers sacrifice in sending Caleb Jones to Chicago in the Duncan Keith trade?
- Jonathan Willis: Duncan Keith, by the numbers
- DNB: How Ken Holland’s overpay for Duncan Keith limits the Oilers’ offseason options
- Lowetide: 10 free agents for the Oilers to target this offseason
- Jonathan Willis: Yes or no? Have your say on 10 hypothetical Oilers trades
- Lowetide: Is this the year the Oilers find a world-class agitator in the draft?
- Lowetide: Which draft prospects will be available when the Oilers pick at No. 19?
- Lowetide: Oilers 2021-22 roster projection, including trade and free agent targets
- DNB: How do Oilers fans feel about their team’s 2020-21 season?
- Lowetide: What is a reasonable trade price for Oilers to pay for Duncan Keith?
- Lowetide: Will the Oilers draft from the OHL after a season that never happened?
- Lowetide: Finding the ideal No. 3 centre for the Edmonton Oilers
- New DNB: What I’m hearing about the Oilers offseason
- Lowetide: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ future value to the Oilers will be defined by his adaptability
- DNB: How re-signing Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for eight years could help and hurt the Oilers
- DNB: Five offseason scenarios that could upend the Oilers’ best-laid plans
- Lowetide: Why Oilers defenceman Evan Bouchard is poised to exceed expectations
- Jonathan Willis: How the Oilers could make a Jack Eichel-level trade happen this offseason
- Lowetide: The 7 Oilers roster spots GM Ken Holland must improve this offseason
- DNB: Ten teams the Oilers should be targeting for trades ahead of the Kraken expansion draft
- Lowetide: Why huge Oil Kings goalie Sebastian Cossa could be the perfect first-round fit for the Oilers
Many on this blog were not in favour of signing Larsson, and many balked at my assertion that $4 million times four years would be required. Now? That may not be enough to get him. Larsson will be a unique free agent, a RH shutdown defender on the good side of 30.
It’s difficult to know if this is a blessing or a travesty, as Larsson’s injuries (including back) make a long-term deal risky. I’d sign him to 4×4 this instant and figure out the protected list (you’d have to trade Kailer Yamamoto) before 3pm this afternoon and the final list deadline.
The list of possible replacements isn’t promising. A quick glance at the free-agent pile gives up Mike Stone and dozens of other candidates who boil down to six levels of Dylan McIlrath. Not going to be easy. No sir.
Edmonton will be in a spot of bother. I’ll miss Larsson, but am pleased Ethan Bear’s job security went through the roof. How will the Oilers depth chart look on defense opening night? Stay tuned.
PROTECTED LIST (LIKELY)
- Goal: Stuart Skinner
- Defense: Darnell Nurse, Ethan Bear, Duncan Keith
- Forwards: Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jesse Puljujarvi, Kailer Yamamoto, Josh Archibald, Zack Kassian
I would protect Benson over Kassian and Stalock over Skinner but the die is cast. If I was Seattle, Dominik Kahun would be the choice and signing him to a reasonable contract would be the priority. He’s going to be the best plug and play forward available and the expansion draft isn’t giving the Kraken many.
POSSIBLE OILERS ROSTER
There’s $1.2 million remaining, Koskinen to Nashville for Borocop, Kyle Turris and William Lagesson are in Bakersfield. Tyler Benson is checking out Pike’s Place Market, Adam Larsson is in Philadelphia, Cooper Marody was the last cut.
What can Ken Holland do today before the trade deadline (1 this afternoon, Edmonton time). He could add a goalie (Jake Allen has been mentioned several times as being dealt to various NHL cities) or he could deal for a forward (Zack Kassian and Josh Archibald could be exposed).
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, Tyler Benson isn’t the next Ryan Smyth. However, the Oilers don’t know what he is yet, having deployed him in just seven NHL games.
Josh Archibald can be replaced in free agency, Zack Kassian’s contract means he won’t be chosen and even if he was those dollars could be used elsewhere.
Benson is a value contract, offers Edmonton a player at a position of weakness, and can make plays with depth linemates (shown with a lovely pass to Archibald for his only NHL point.
If Benson doesn’t get protected today, it’s still possible the Kraken choose another (Kahun would be my choice). The pipeline is producing talent now, not all of it easily placed into the lineup. Benson has proven everything he can in the AHL, it’s now time for an NHL opportunity.
Seattle or Edmonton, that is the question.