Edmonton Oilers General Manager Ken Holland held an on-line media avail on Thursday morning, answering and/or evading a number of questions posed about the current state of his Edmonton Oilers.
“We’ve got a two-year deal with Mike Smith” with details to be announced later today. A few sources have already beaten him to that punch, citing a cap hit of $2.2 million per year, no bonuses.
“No trades in the books. Potential buyouts, probably we’ll do one.” No specification as to whether it would by James Neal or Mikko Koskinen.
On the departure of Adam Larsson: “I thought we were really close. I made four or five different offers in June and July. I added a year and ultimately a week ago I went to Barry and gave them green light to explore options. Yesterday morning I found out Adam signed in Seattle.” Holland didn’t address that part of the question as to reasons Larsson may have reached that decision.
On a possible replacement for Larsson: “Obviously, Adam was an important part of our team on and off the ice. Important players are hard to replace if you don’t have them internally. Maybe I’ll have an answer for you a week from now. We have to find a defenceman.” He would consider a trade as well as the open market. But he also confirmed the Oilers will not be “big game hunting”, meaning that dreamers like myself can forget about Dougie Hamilton.
On internal possibilities: “Tyson Barrie is an unrestricted free agent. He and Larsson played about 40 minute a night. Barrie is UFA, Dmitry Kulikov is UFA, Larsson’s gone to Seattle. Our expectation are that Evan Bouchard is going to be an every day player. Between now and training camp we need to make some additions.” [Note: Darren Dreger reports the Oilers are offering 3 years, Barrie prefers 4.]
On pending free agent Zach Hyman. “Certainly he’s a player we’re very interested in. I think first off Zach Hyman has to make his decision. Would I give term to get a cap number that I like? Certainly that’s something I would consider.”
Oilers likely will not be issuing qualifying offers to forwards Jujhar Khaira and Dominik Kahun. Other depth forwards like UFA’s Tyler Ennis and Patrick Russell will not be renewed.
“Certainly a 3C would be a priority. I’d love to have a 3C that can chip in 10-15 goals and 30-40 points, can kill penalties… That’s fantasy hockey material, I have a cap… Ultimately, as I whittle my way through, we’ll do the best we can to get a guy that can play 3C.”
On this weekend’s NHL Draft: “We won’t draft a defenceman, probably. If things go the way the way we think they’re going to go we’ll probably take a forward. The first round pick won’t be in trade for a rental. In a hockey trade? Yes.”
“In the cap world, you need younger players, cheaper players. Filling from within has to be part of the equation, that the young players take a bit of a step.”
Holland went to some length to explain the cap situation re: Oscar Klefbom‘s expected status on Long Term Injured Reserve. He also spoke of needing to keep some cap space available for contracts coming due in 2022, specifically mentioning Darnell Nurse, Ethan Bear and Jesse Puljujarvi. “I see us spending as much as we can in the off-season and trying to leave a cushion.”
When asked how what losing two key defencemen in Klefbom in Larsson in short order did to his long-term plan: “Make a new plan.”
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