Oilers News & Rumors: Hyman, Larsson, Keith, Kassian

In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, the Oilers are absolutely one of the teams talking to Zach Hyman’s agent about the player’s interest in potentially coming to the Oilers this offseason. Are they a frontrunner? In other news, there are updates about Adam Larsson’s potential extension with the team. Is there any chance he extends before the NHL Expansion Draft? GM Ken Holland continues to defend his trade for Duncan Keith and there’s buzz about which depth forwards the Oilers will protect from the Seattle Kraken.

Hyman Definitely on Oilers Radar

Holland has hinted he might need to over-term or over-salary a player if the team wants to be in the free agent market for a left-winger. It looks like the general manager of the team is hoping to get out ahead of things. The Oilers are rumored to be one of three front-running teams talking Hyman’s agent Todd Reynolds and they are one of seven teams who have kicked tires on acquiring the player’s rights ahead of the opening of free agency on July 28th.

Toronto Maple Leafs Zach Hyman
Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Zach Hyman (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn)

Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star writes:

The Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks, and Edmonton Oilers are believed to be the frontrunners in the Hyman sweepstakes with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Florida Panthers, Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings also making inquiries with Hyman’s agent, Todd Reynolds.

source – ‘Zach Hyman wants to stick with Maple Leafs but the offers are rolling in’ – Kevin McGran – Toronto Star – 07/15/2021

McGran also adds that Hyman wanted $5 million over eight seasons from the Maple Leafs. They said no, but a number of teams who have reached out since Hyman’s agent was granted permission to speak with other teams says more than one offer is north of the ask in Toronto.

Holland was on TSN 1050 and said he can’t name names, but he’s trying to add a forward before free agency opens up, which suggests the GM is working on a trade. Could it be Hyman? Or, will Hyman prove to be too expensive?

Related: NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Bruins, Rangers, Canadiens, Ryan Suter News

Larsson Decision Not Coming Before Expansion Draft

TSN’s Ryan Rishaug is reporting the Oilers have made Larsson a contract offer and he is going to take his time before making a decision. Negotiations between the two sides are ongoing and Holland says he talks to Larsson’s agent every other day and that it’s about the blueliner figuring out what he wants.

According to Daily Faceoff Hockey’s Frank Seravalli, it looks like Larsson won’t be providing an answer for the Oilers until after the upcoming Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft. If he’s keen to re-sign, that works out well for Edmonton anyways as signing him prior to the draft would pose massive protection complications.

Seravalli appeared on The Lowdown With Lowetide on TSN 1260 on Thursday and can’t envision a scenario where the Oilers re-sign Larsson to a new contract until after the draft on July 21.

Holland Continues Defending Keith Trade

During Holland’s Toronto radio appearance he was asked about the trade for Keith. When questioned about how he deals with a very vocal and often critical fan base, the GM said he was still loving the job and that he’s happy the Oilers fans are passionate. It hasn’t changed the way he feels about the player or the fact a number of Oilers fans aren’t pleased with Edmonton taking Keith’s full salary.

Holland stayed consistent on his messaging that he’s betting Keith still has a lot to offer in a more limited role. Playing behind Darnell Nurse, Holland envisions Keith playing fewer minutes, offering leadership, fitness, experience and his winning pedigree is going to offer the team a great deal in terms of off-ice benefits.

Oilers Protect Zack Kassian?

There’s some debate about which forward the Oilers will leave exposed heading into the expansion draft. The consensus seems to be that two of Tyler Benson, Josh Archibald or Zack Kassian will be the final forwards protected after the obvious five — Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jesse Puljujarvi, and Kailer Yamamoto.

Could the Oilers choose to protect the most expensive of those three players in Kassian? Lowetide believes there’s value around the NHL for a player like him and that the Oilers value him too. Because Holland is the one who signed the player to a long-term deal, it’s unlikely Kassian gets plucked off the roster for nothing.

Morning Skate newsletter Click To Subscribe