At the 11th hour, the Edmonton Oilers make their final expansion plans: 9 Things – .

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At the 11th hour, the Edmonton Oilers make their final expansion plans: 9 Things – .


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The NHL’s off-season action has accelerated dramatically over the past two days. The rosters for all teams, including the Seattle expansion and the other 31 teams, including the Oilers, will be shaping up quickly, now.

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Some of those details, including a projected list of Protected Oilers, can be found in this new edition of…

9 things

9. Caleb Jones will indeed be protected by the Chicago Black Hawks. I wish the child good luck. He never took the opportunity here. LHD Outlook Philippe Broberg and Dmitry Samoroukov grow rapidly on its heels. And I wasn’t at all sure Jones considered Canada his permanent hockey home.

8. There is no doubt Kyle Turris failed to live up to the Oilers’ expectations in freshman year. But I give him credit for it: the guy never made an apology and has since decided to spend the offseason in Edmonton training in hopes of bouncing back. I respect that. I hope he proves everyone (including me) wrong.

7. Defender Ethan Ours is also back in training in Edmonton. Between a contractual distraction in 2020, COVID-related lockdowns that interrupted everything and a summer training regimen in the Okanagan, Bear was never quite on track last year. Thus, Ethan is back on the scene of the offseason that led to his revolutionary 2019-2020 campaign. I take that as a good sign.

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6. I think it was Jonathan Willis who first raised the possibility of Alex Chiasson as a re-signing at the end of summer in Edmonton for the right price. The suggestion has merit. Thanks to our Hockey cult Game Grades, I have drawn many Chiasson games up close. He has regularly had a positive impact on matches, very rarely a negative one, and he’s a good pro.

5. I mentioned in this space last week that Mike Smith had an Edmonton Oilers contract offer in front of him and the two sides were negotiating. I then heard Elliott Friedman and Bob Stauffer discuss Friday that this is a long term conversation. The customer would prefer 2 years. But only 1 year allows for a bonus structure that helps keep the salary lower. I think it ends up being done.

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4. There are people who are convinced that Adam Larsson is also almost locked up in Edmonton. SportsNetBrand Spector reflected on a 4-year, $ 3.9 million contract on Saturday. I do not disagree with him on the projected range on salary or duration. But I’m getting mixed signals on the state of trading. A source who would have had the opportunity to speak with both sides in this negotiation believes Larsson could actually hit the UFA market, if only to see which way the wind is blowing. When Philadelphia acquired Ryan Ellis Saturday, I believe that took Larsson’s most likely suitor out of the equation. But there could be others, including Seattle. Edmonton is also still in talks with Tyson Barrie. I wonder if in case Larsson is walking, is Barrie signing here instead and filling that hole at 2RD? The price may not be much different. I have pointed out in the past that Barrie believes there is a place for him in Edmonton. And he might not see a potential paycheck like the one his solid offensive 2020-21 campaign would have typically attracted. Finally, based on some conversations I’ve had, I don’t think there’s a side deal for Larsson after the expansion. Maybe I will be wrong.

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3. The news came on Saturday that the Dallas Stars had inked Miro Heiskanen an extension of $ 68 million over 8 years. The AVV will be $ 8.45 million. I will keep this contract in mind when it comes time for Edmonton to close Darnell Nurse on a long term deal. Heiskanen is a fabulous player. I’m not here to compare him to Nurse. But if you don’t think that the 2 players will end up in neighboring zip codes in terms of money and duration, you will be surprised. Heiskanen is younger and therefore has a lot of time to improve further. But Nurse is also already a top-tier D-man who beats Heiskanen when it comes to the things contracts are often built upon: 5 × 5 attack, YOU, situation play, size, competitiveness, leadership, etc. I expect Nurse will get full term (8 years) and if they really sharpen their pencils… maybe $ 7.5 million. But something in the 8 for Nurse is not out of the question. I’m still curious as to why some people belittle Darnell in this way.

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2. I found it curious that a significant portion of the Edmonton fan base was so critical of Ken Hollande last spring for not spending any assets to add a more meaningful experience to the trade deadline. But now when Holland adds a track like Duncan Keith to the list, he is strongly criticized for it. Especially considering that a guy like Keith would seem ideal for the playoffs and only has a 2 year term. It is risky to add a location for the pickaxes. But it’s a little different when you acquire a term. But I also fought against the general outcry over the acquisition of a vocal minority. Do not mistake yourself. The fans are fading. You may be delighted or disappointed with your team’s movements. And I think most would have been better if Chicago had kept a salary. And I understand that. But the villain level was exceptionally high, especially from a small group who seemed to know everything Ken Holland did and didn’t do in this negotiation. But did they really do it? What does one of us regular guys actually know?

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I grew up playing hockey and I played at a good level. My family entered the NHL. I have spent decades covering the game, in various roles and at a high level (NHL). I graduated from college. In my professional life (my day job), I was Vice President in a hugely successful multi-million dollar company. So I have some useful attributes for a CV as a manager. But I would never sign up as the general manager of the NHL. I would never even be a candidate. Why not? Well for starters I don’t have any of that specific brand of experience. I’ve been around enough to know that there are a lot of details that are not always apparent. That it’s a much more difficult concert than it looks, etc. And besides, the 32 people who are GM in this league are way smarter than too many people believe. Spend time with one of them, interview them. It is “work” to follow. In fact, I think that very experience gave me some useful humility on the subject.

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1.We will officially know later this (Sunday) morning which 11 players the Edmonton Oilers will protect for the Seattle expansion draft list. General manager Ken Holland has said he will go 7-3-1. And I don’t hear any indication out of nowhere that this is going to change. It doesn’t mean no. But it seems very unlikely at this 11e hour. So… what names will be on Ken Holland’s list? I expect it to look a lot like this: Connor McDavid, Leon Draisitl, Ryan Nugent Hopkins,Jesse Puljujarvi, Kailer Yamamoto, Zack Kassian and Josh Archibald in the front. Darnell Nurse, Duncan Keith and Ethan Ours will be there on point. And I expect it to be Stuart Skinner in the fillets. I don’t think there are any big surprises here. And I have seen many others report the same. I don’t think I’m announcing news here. No Adam Larsson, Tyson Barrie or Mike Smith because all 3 do not remain signed.

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I think the list makes sense. The likely debates revolve around Kassian and Archibald. And I get the discussion. Both are established NHL players. I’m pretty sure one or the other would be claimed. Archibald comes up with a decent number. Kassian is more expensive but brings a now rare skill mix. And both have commercial value after the draft. Tyler Benson I have time for it. But we still don’t know what it is. No one does. And Benson’s relative lack of speed in his foot makes his ability to decipher an NHL roster suspect. Some have asked why the Oilers would protect Skinner from Alex Stalock. Well… what if you were mad at Kassian and Archibald being protected from Benson? But then you say they should keep an older goalie who hasn’t played for more than a calendar year? Instead of your # 1 goalie prospect that you’ve spent all this time developing? Hmmm.

Who will be caught? Well if Seattle is building from the back like I would, then a D-man is likely. As a result, the Oilers don’t lose Jones for nothing but maybe a Guillaume Lagesson rather? My black horse is Jujhar Khaira. And while I respect both players, the absence of either would leave a gaping hole behind.

We’ll see…

Find me on Twitter @KurtLeavins

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