There’s lots to cover in when it comes to news and rumors surrounding the Edmonton Oilers today. From talk about Connor McDavid being unhappy with the team to contract extensions for pending free agents like Tyson Barrie, Adam Larsson and Mike Smith, there’s a ton of ground to cover. GM Ken Holland spoke about what’s next on his list of to-dos and offered his support for Ethan Bear, as do we to close out this article.
McDavid Says Oilers Have Great Core
Fans outside of Edmonton — and unfortunately some within Edmonton — have taken to trolling the Oilers after a disappointing series’ loss to the Winnipeg Jets and suggested their captain and the best player in the world, Connor McDavid might want out. While speaking with the media, McDavid quickly shot down those rumors.
He was asked directly for his take when that kind of talk comes up and noted, “We have a great core here. Leon, Nursey (Nurse), Nuge, Lars (Larsson). These are guys that I’ve kind of grown up with. It’s a big offseason. We have a lot of decisions to make. I don’t have to make them, the higher powers do. It’s a big offseason for us though,”
But as far as a him wanting out goes, he believes in this group and that while it may not feel like it right now, this team is a lot closer to winning than they are being a team that can’t compete when it matters most.
Tyson Barrie Looking for Long-Term Deal
One of the players that may not be back is defenseman Tyson Barrie. He told the media he’s not sure what the future looks like in Edmonton and hasn’t spoken with Holland or his agent about an extension. He’s looking for a long-term deal and noted, “I’m sure we’ll have a couple of discussions and see what their interest level is as well as mine.”
The one thing that seemed obvious from his comments is that Barrie is going to hit free agency and open up the bidding for his services. He wants to play where he’s got a chance to win, but noted he needs to look at taking care of his family and that he’s going to see what offers come to the table after a season where he led all NHL defensemen in scoring.
If the bigger offers come his way, it’s unlikely the Oilers match.
Adam Larsson Loves Everything About the Oilers
When asked if he’s looking to stay put, Larsson said he loves everything about being part of this team and is hoping he’ll be back next season. He too is a pending unrestricted free agent, but there’s already been talk that the Oilers and Larsson’s agent might be close on the details of an extension.
He said: “I love it here. I love the guys, the city, fans. Everything. To give you a better read on it, I honestly haven’t heard much from my agent; I haven’t talked to Ken [Holland] the last month or so.”
Holland Wants to Re-Sign Mike Smith
Holland spoke with the media for over an hour on Wednesday. He talked about which direction he wanted to head with this team and noted he might use a buyout, will see what Oscar Klefbom’s status is and will talk to the agents of the pending free agents.
He noted that veterans were important to the group and says he wants to re-sign goaltender Mike Smith. Noting Smith had a fantastic year, he could be a central part of the team while the Oilers potentially look for a long-term starter. This isn’t a shock considering he said a while back that if Smith continued to play well, age meant very little.
Bear Sent Racist Messages After Game 4 Loss
Holland also touched on the reports that defenseman Ethan Bear was sent messages of discrimination and insults that were racist in their nature and the GM noted he’d be reaching out to Bear after the media conference to offer his support. Calling it totally unacceptable and disgusting, Holland noted there’s no place for that kind of response in today’s society.
** Authors Note:
Those select few individuals who represent the worst in our society and who sent racist messages to Bear after a mistake on a clearing attempt should be ashamed and disgusted with themselves. No player is perfect, and as disappointing as the result of this series is for Edmonton, there’s no place for those types of comments no matter how emotionally fans might be invested in the team’s overall success.
It’s clear from the accounts and support shown by so many in the aftermath of the reports that Bear is a fantastic human being. He’s a role model to many young athletes and an ambassador for the game. He’s also a pretty darn good hockey player too and the Oilers are lucky to have him.
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.”