Oilers News & Rumors: Broberg, Smith, Athanasiou, More

In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, there is talk about whether or not the Oilers should try to re-sign Mike Smith now, there is news the team would like prospect Philip Broberg to be a part of their extended roster, and one scribe believes the Oilers aren’t close to giving up on Andreas Athanasiou.

Sign Mike Smith Now or Wait?

Bruce McCurdy of The Edmonton Journal took a look at Mike Smith’s season with the Oilers in 2019-20 and while it’s technically not over, there’s likely enough there to warrant looking at extending the veteran netminder.

Mike Smith Edmonton Oilers
Mike Smith, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Smith’s previous contract with the Oilers was bonus heavy and he hit a number of them. That said, he missed out on some of the more financially rewarding ones thanks to a pause on the season. Could this affect what Smith might ask for? Does it matter if the Oilers aren’t sure his up and down season is cause for another deal?

McCurdy writes:

Smith is the only NHL goalie the Oilers are allowed to negotiate with. Both sides may prefer the security of the devil they know. As mentioned in previous posts about Riley Sheahan and the remaining group of expiring UFA skaters, the negotiating window will be narrow this summer (or fall, or winter, or whenever the next off-season arrives), so I expect more internal re-signings than usual on a league-wide basis. While a strong argument can be made that the Oilers could find a better stopper, the one they got was a pretty decent fit as a 1A/1B on an affordable contract who provided some valuable leadership along the way. He seems popular among his teammates, and from this distance, he has three important allies in Holland, Tippett and Koskinen.

source – ‘Ken Holland’s upcoming dilemma: should Edmonton Oilers bring back Mike Smith?’ Bruce McCurdy – The Edmonton Journal – 05/13/2020

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Oilers Want Broberg on Expanded Roster

On Monday, TSN’s Ryan Rishaug tweeted out that, in the event of a return to play scenario, the Oilers would like to add 2019 first-round pick Philip Broberg to their roster.

Rishaug is noting that an NHL return to play could feature larger than 23-man rosters since the AHL season has been cancelled and there aren’t farm teams to recall players from. As many as 30 players would be allowed on the team under this scenario. The thought isn’t necessarily that Broberg would play, more that the Oilers simply want him around for hands-on coaching with the team. They see this as key for his eventual NHL development.

It would give him a chance to skate with the team, experience an NHL practice, get a chance to get to know the players and coaches a bit. 

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Athanasiou Will Get More Time in Edmonton

Allan Mitchell of the Athletic took a look at the deal to acquire Andreas Athanasiou by the Oilers and how on paper it looks like a gamble that didn’t pay off if the NHL season doesn’t resume. Still, Mitchell believes GM Ken Holland won’t be giving up on the player and the belief is there’s a bright future in Edmonton.

Andreas Athanasiou Edmonton Oilers
Andreas Athanasiou, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Mitchell writes:

Athanasiou will get a contract to play with the Oilers and a real opportunity to find a place on one of Edmonton’s scoring lines. His size and speed are intriguing when applied to McDavid’s speed and creativity, Leon Draisaitl’s power or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ finesse.

… Holland is building for the short and long term, and trading two second-rounders for a rental doesn’t compute.

source ‘Lowetide: How can Andreas Athanasiou — Ken Holland’s big bet — help the Oilers?’ Allan Mitchell – The Athletic – 05/12/2020

Mitchell adds that the acquisition of Athanasiou for picks could be the beginnings of the Oilers plan to send away Jesse Puljujarvi for draft picks this summer. From there, he notes Athanasiou has every possible chance to crack the 30-goal mark again with the Oilers and that’s why Holland brought him in. He sees it too.

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