One week after the opening of free agency and the Edmonton Oilers have made a few adjustments in an attempt to add depth to their roster, but there’s certainly no sign they’ve narrowed in on any big-fish free agents. In fact, one Oilers scribe believes the organization isn’t in on any free agents at this time.
Still, there are news items worth noting. Newly drafted defenseman Philip Broberg has his immediate future planned out, Alex Chiasson spoke of his journey back to the Edmonton Oilers, newly signed Gaetan Haas has high expectations, and Connor McDavid is back on the ice after a serious injury.
Philip Broberg to Play in Sweden
The first-round draft pick for the Edmonton Oilers — 8th overall draft pick Philip Broberg — will play next season in the Swedish Hockey League, according to Swedish outlet Hockey Sverige.
A recent article quoted Skellefteå GM Erik Forssell who said, “We just got that message. That Philip plays with us. It feels good that it is clear. And we are happy that he plays with us this winter.”
This isn’t exactly surprising news as there was very little to suggest the Oilers had Broberg pegged to make the NHL roster this season. From an Oilers perspective, the idea was to have him play as many minutes as possible. He’ll get minutes in Sweden, otherwise, GM Ken Holland would have been against the move and suggested he’d rather he be in North America playing.
Chiasson Wasn’t Looking to Go Anywhere Else
The Oilers signed Alex Chiasson to a two-year contract on the first day of free agency and despite him possibly not being the first option the Oilers were looking at, he’s extremely happy to be sticking in Edmonton.
“I wasn’t really looking at anywhere else,” Chiasson said when asked about his new deal. Chiasson added that he’d had multiple discussions with new Oilers GM Ken Holland and that he wasn’t sure about where he sat in terms of what the Oilers wanted to do moving forward. Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid both spoke highly of what he brought to the team and the locker room and Holland realized that it might not be best to lose him.
“Those guys want me to be a part of the next couple of years, and it was kind of how I felt with the organization, so the rest was negotiations,” Chiasson said. Clearly, the Oilers felt Chiasson brought more to the table than just the 22 goals he scored last season.
Oilers Not in On Free Agents, At Least Not Yet
As was reported by Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal, the Oilers are not believed to be in on discussions for any of the bigger-name free agents on the market.
“Even in a buyer’s market, it is far more likely that the Oilers will fill a hole up front via trade. Why? Well, for one thing I am led to believe that the club could have more wiggle room to do something substantial in another 10 days or so.”source – ‘A bigger role for Gaetan Haas, a deadline for Milan Lucic and a waiting game for Jesse Puljujarvi: 9 Things’ – Kurt Leavins – The Edmonton Journal – 07/07/2019
What Leavins was referring to is the bonus due to Milan Lucic on July 17, 2019. Leavins says more teams may be interested in Lucic once that bonus is paid and if Lucic is off the books, it becomes a bit more likely the Oilers go after a free agent and spend some money.
McDavid Skating Again
Leavins also reports that Connor McDavid is back skating. With his first session this past week, he’s doing well to be ready for the start of training camp and should be good to go in advance of the start of the regular season.
Gaetan Haas Expects to Be Part of Oilers Main Roster
The Edmonton Oilers signed Euro free agent Gaetan Haas under the assumption he would possibly crack the Oilers lineup as a center on the team. Haas is under the same expectation.
During an interview with the Journal du Jura, Haas said. “My agent has stipulated that if I crossed the Atlantic, it was out of the question that I spend the season in the AHL.” “If it is necessary to get used to the play over there, it is clear that I will go down for one or two weeks. But if this stay were to continue, a solution would be found for me to return to SC Bern.”
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”