Oilers News & Rumors: Kahun, Bear, Konovalov, Holland’s Plans

In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, there are reports that Dominik Kahun had better offers and longer-term deals on the table before joining the Oilers. If so, why pick Edmonton? Based on how much he’s not playing, should the Oilers be concerned about goaltending prospect Ilya Konovalov? There’s speculation on Ethan Bear’s strategy for his next deal and talk about future moves Ken Holland might make.

Talks of Early Contract Plans for Dominik Kahun

Discussed briefly in the general news and rumors column on Monday, it’s worth taking a bit of a closer look at the Oilers recent deal with Dominik Kahun. An excellent deal for the team when signed, adding Kahun for one season at $975K could prove to be a steal. Expect the Oilers to be watching closely for early chemistry with either Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl and if things click, an extension offered before Kahun absolutely explodes offensively.

Chicago Blackhawks Dominik Kahun Brandon Saad Artem Anisimov
Chicago Blackhawks center Dominik Kahun celebrates with left wing Brandon Saad and center Artem Anisimov. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

The Edmonton Journal’s Kurt Leavins writes that Kahun is a player the Oilers had interest in early on in free agency but it took some time for the deal to materialize. Leavins adds:

Further, I do not believe that the negotiation between Edmonton and Kahun started off as a discussion over a 1-year contract. I am led to believe that there were talks over a multi-year deal. And that both the club and the player are more than willing to entertain an extension part-way through 2020-21.

source – ‘A glimpse behind how Dominik Kahun became an Edmonton Oiler: 9 Things’ – Kurt Leavins – Edmonton Journal – 11/08/2020

All of this hints at the fact Kahun believes didn’t land the money he thought he might in free agency, so he circled back to the Oilers believing he could boost his numbers in Edmonton. That the Oilers had already considered him a good long-term fit, it’s not likely GM Ken Holland wastes time if Kahun gets off to a good start early.

Ethan Bear Contract Talk Update

When it comes time that the Oilers and defenseman Ethan Bear finally get a deal done, Jim Matheson says Bear should get around $1.1 million or $1.2 million on a new contract with the Oilers. Bear is the last of the restricted free agents Holland needs to sign and that deal would represent a bump from the $700K he earned last season.

Ethan Bear
EDMONTON, AB – MARCH 3: Ethan Bear #74 of the Edmonton Oilers lines up for a face off during the game against the New York Rangers on March 3, 2018 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

There are whispers Ethan Bear’s camp might push for a one-year contract rather than a two or three-year bridge deal because of the players who come off the books at the end of this season for the Oilers. Adam Larsson and Alex Chiasson could be gone, while Kris Russell’s contract gets significantly cheaper. Benoit Pouliot’s buyout comes off the books and players like Evan Bouchard, William Lagesson and Caleb Jones won’t have taken such a big step forward that Bear becomes less important to the blue line.

Related: NHL Rumors: Oilers, Canucks, Jets, Maple Leafs, More

Oilers Fourth Line Center Issues

Expect Holland to keep a close eye on the fourth-line center situation in Edmonton this season. The GM added a lot more speed and skill but there’s a question about team toughness, being built for the playoffs, penalty killing and faceoffs and Holland will be ready to make a move, should he need to. Bob Stauffer said on Friday’s Oilers Now radio show:

“Edmonton can easily add a 4th line center during the course of the season that can check. We’ll see what happens in goal, we’ll see if something happens in that regard and maybe another defenseman with some experience.”

While a solid defensively-minded forward isn’t an addition Holland makes now, it might be one he makes later if players like Gaetan Haas, Alan Quine and Jujhar Khaira don’t step up when given the opportunity.

Stauffer also noted that the Oilers are probably not done making changes. While there’s some discussion the team isn’t going to be hard enough to play against, he believes Holland will address that before the season begins, or at least before the playoffs.

Konovalov Not Playing Much in KHL

There’s some early concern coming out of the KHL that Oilers goaltending prospet Ilya Konovalov is not playing many of Lokomtiv’s games so far. The hope was that he’d see lots of action in the KHL this season, but he’s played less than half of the team’s games.

Fortunately, it’s less about Konovalov and more about Eddie Pasquale, the club’s starting goaltender this year. Pasquale has played 11 games and is 9-0, with a 0.98 GAA, a .960 SV% and 4 shut outs. It’s understandable the team would continue to ride the hot hand.

Next: Oilers’ 3 Worst Contracts for 2021

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