This is going to be a big day in the life of the Edmonton Oilers franchise, and based on what was flying around last night I’d say there is a mixture of good and bad on the way down the transaction wire.
I’m writing this at 10:30 on Tuesday night, and the current guesses are Zach Hyman, Tyson Barrie, Cody Ceci and something coming back for Ethan Bear. Ken Holland and Dave Tippett are entering their summer of spending, and there is no do-over in hockey team building. A signed Zach Hyman is forever. Trading Ethan Bear is final. Many story lines rolling out over the next decade will have their beginnings now, today.
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: Oilers targets for early and late in NHL free agency
- New DNB: Oilers buy out James Neal
- Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects, summer 2021
- DNB: Oilers draft day notebook
- DNB: Oilers come under the microscope after passing on Jesper Wallstedt
- Jonathan Willis: Zach Hyman, by the numbers
- Lowetide: If the UFA market fails, can the Oilers find their 3rd-line centre internally?
- New DNB: What I’m hearing about the Oilers offseason
- New DNB: The Oilers must act fast to address their hole on defence
- DNB: Replacing Adam Larsson
- Lowetide: 5 players outside the NHL who could help the Oilers
- 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: Oilers 2021-22 roster projection, including trade and free agent targets
- DNB: How do Oilers fans feel about their team’s 2020-21 season?
- DNB: Five offseason scenarios that could upend the Oilers’ best-laid plans
- Lowetide: Why Oilers defenceman Evan Bouchard is poised to exceed expectations
- Lowetide: The 7 Oilers roster spots GM Ken Holland must improve this offseason
CURRENT 50-MAN LIST (37)
- Goalies (6): Mike Smith, Mikko Koskinen, Alex Stalock, Stuart Skinner, Ilya Konovalov, Olivier Rodrigue
- Left Defense (8): Darnell Nurse, Duncan Keith, Kris Russell, William Lagesson, Philip Broberg, Dmitri Samorukov, Markus Niemelainen, Oscar Klefbom (inj)
- Right Defense (5): Ethan Bear, Evan Bouchard, Filip Berglund, Phil Kemp, Mike Kesselring
- Center (5): Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan McLeod, Tim Soderlund, Seth Griffith
- Left Wing (6): Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Devin Shore, Tyler Benson, Dylan Holloway, Raphael Lavoie, Ostap Safin
- Right Wing (7): Jesse Puljujarvi, Kailer Yamamoto, Zack Kassian, Kyle Turris, Josh Archibald, Cooper Marody, Kirill Maksimov
The Oilers could add one dozen players today and still have room on the 50-man list. Almost every position has a story line, including goal where Holland would have to offload Mikko Koskinen before bringing in a replacement. Here’s a guess what Holland would like this team to resemble at the NHL level by tonight:
- Mike Smith, Mikko Koskinen
- Darnell Nurse, Duncan Keith, Ryan Murray, Kris Russell
- Tyson Barrie, Cody Ceci, Evan Bouchard
- Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan McLeod
- Zach Hyman, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Tomas Tatar, Jordan Martinook, Devin Shore
- Jesse Puljujarvi, Kailer Yamamoto, Zack Kassian, Josh Archibald, Kyle Turris
Holland won’t get all of that done, and the defense is more porous while the goaltending song remains the same. The top three lines would be improved, I don’t know if this team is better with Adam Larsson and Ethan Bear gone. Evan Bouchard’s main skill will be suppressed by the Barrie signing. Holland and Tippett have different answers than I do to the problems at hand, doesn’t mean they can’t succeed. They better be right, because much of this roster is now locked in for the next four seasons. What you hope for is that Holland and Tippett are still in their positions in 2026, because success has come to this roster. Dmitri Samorukov and Philip Broberg are suddenly far more important.
I can see the Oilers dealing any player not named McDavid or Draisaitl, but a value deal like Bear ($2 million) is almost guaranteed to work out for the other team. If the Oilers trade Bear and Koskinen for Kuemper, and Arizona retains, plus Edmonton gets Kuemper signed long-term before the deal? You can justify it. Bear for DeBrusk? That isn’t a deal that makes sense. I like DeBrusk, but he’s a winger, and Bear can play top-four minutes on defense in a two-way role. The die is apparently cast, Bear is heading out of town. I don’t think it’s a good idea, and the chances of this deal landing in the Cogliano-Petry file is enormous. You can see it coming for miles.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we cover free agency wall to wall. Just one guest, the brilliant Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal, he’ll pop in at 10:40. Hyman and Barrie are done, there’s plenty to come. This will be a day that lives in infamy, one way or another. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon! And often!