In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, who is a darkhorse player to make the team out of camp? How big of an impact can Ryan McLeod have on this roster next season? Is there a chance Duncan Keith retires before his contract expires? Finally, which players from this Oilers roster will make it to the 2022 Olympics?
Will Dylan Holloway Start Opening Night for the Oilers?
Daniel Nugent-Bowman of The Athletic named Dylan Holloway as a darkhorse player to make the Oilers opening night roster, but he also said not to bet too much money on that happening. Nugent-Bowman writes:
If I were a betting man, I wouldn’t put too much money on it for a few reasons. For one, Holloway hasn’t even made his pro debut in the AHL yet due to injury last season. Also, the forward ranks are much improved, and general manager Ken Holland has said Holloway must be in the top nine to stick around for good. The 2020 first-round pick has his work cut out for him.source – ‘A dark horse candidate to make the Oilers? What happens if Duncan Keith retires? Trade for John Gibson? Mailbag’ – Daniel Nugent-Bowman – The Athletic – 09/04/2021
Holloway impressed at the University of Wisconsin last season (11 goals and 35 points in 23 games) and there are a number of insiders who believe he is NHL ready. The Oilers are deeper this year on the wing so he’ll have to make some noise at training camp to get heavy consideration.
Ryan McLeod Expectations
Speaking of players who will be a big part of training camp, Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal thinks that McLeod could be an impact player for the Oilers this season with some excellent linemates on a much deeper Oilers roster than the team has deployed in some time.
Ryan McLeod is likely to break camp in either the 3 of 4C slot, depending on how the battle with Derek Ryan goes. But the opportunity very much seems to be there for McLeod to grab.source – ‘The curtain draws open wide on Ryan McLeod’s Edmonton Oilers career’ Kurt Leavins – Edmonton Journal – 09/02/2021
He adds, ” a hint that the Oilers are serious in giving McLeod an even shot at the full-time job is the off-season chatter than Kyle Turris (the only other serious contender for one of those 4 center spots) may spend most of camp at Right Wing.”
McLeod turned it on as part of the Bakersfield Condors last season and his speed is absolutely his strength. If he can find a scoring touch or two-way ability to go with that speed, he could be a big part of the Oilers’ success this season.
Could Duncan Keith Retire Early?
When asked if there’s a chance veteran defenseman Duncan Keith could retire before his contract expires, Nugent-Bowman answered that it would be a big win for the Oilers’ salary cap situation, but didn’t see that as a likely scenario. The scribe explained how the cap works for players in Keith’s situation — where penalties to the team that signed the player if he retires with term remaining take the cap penalty — and wrote:
PuckPedia notes the Oilers would gain $3.4 million in cap space on top of ridding themselves of Keith’s cap hit (an $8.9 million swing) if Keith retires after this season. Chicago would take on the cap hit for 2022-23 and be charged $2 million against the cap for 2023-24.”
That said, he adds, there has been no indication that Keith plans on slowing down and the Oilers didn’t bring him in as a cap play. One thing to remember is that Keith changed agents this summer which teased the idea that he’s looking to sign another NHL contract when this current one expires in two seasons. Because Johansson doesn’t get paid unless Keith signs a new deal, it would make no sense for him to take Keith on as a client.
As much as fans might be hoping Keith’s deal isn’t on the books for the Oilers over the next two seasons, the reality is GM Ken Holland brought him here for a reason and believes he’ll be an asset to the team in the right situation. Keith believes he can still play and has something to prove. Early retirement isn’t likely in the cards unless he comes out this season and is a shell of his former self.
Which Oilers Will Play in the 2022 Olympics?
The shoo-in selections for the Oilers if NHL players do make it to the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing are Connor McDavid for Team Canada and Leon Draisaitl for Team Germany. There’s also a pretty good chance Jesse Puljujarvi gets a look for Finland, Darnell Nurse gets a look for Canada, as might Zach Hyman in a utility-type role.
For McDavid, he said:
“Just to be able to represent Canada at the Olympics and compete for a gold medal would be an absolute dream come true. It’s kind of been a long time since we’ve been able to play best-on-best internationally. I think for me and I think for a lot of guys that were on that team, it’s been a long time coming. We’re obviously looking forward to going to the Olympics if we’re all lucky enough to make it.”
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.”