Oilers News & Rumors: Keith, Puljujarvi, Campbell, Giroux, Kessel

In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, there is a lot of talk surrounding the Edmonton Oilers heading into the NHL Entry Draft and NHL Free Agency. As the team tries to clear out cap space in an attempt to make additional moves, the questions of how many players leaving is too many and who will replace them are fair questions to ask.

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There’s talk about Duncan Keith’s future, if the Oilers really have a shot at Jack Campbell, where things stand with Jesse Puljujarvi, whether Claude Giroux to Edmonton is a pipe dream and a surprising name has popped up in the form of Phil Kessel.

Duncan Keith Retirement Talk

As per TSN’s Ryan Rishaug, while hosting the Got Yer’ Back podcast, he was asked if he’d heard anything definitive on the future of Duncan Keith. He responded no, but added, “Duncan Keith is absolutely considering retirement.”

Duncan Keith Edmonton Oilers
Duncan Keith, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The reason he thought so is that Keith has either asked for more time to decide his future or was given it by the Oilers. The initial deadline to let them know his decision was July 1. That has now been pushed back to July 10 and that has led some to believe he’s wrestling more with the decision of retirement than originally expected. Rishaug believes Keith would have informed the Oilers by now of his decision if he knew definitively he was staying and finishing out his deal.

That, of course, will lead to questions about what happens if Keith retires. Who will the Oilers acquire to replace him and does this lower the likelihood that Tyson Barrie is moved? If the Oilers don’t have a backup plan for Keith, does Edmonton really want to lose Barrie and Keith, and potentially Brett Kulak, all in a matter of a week or two?

Latest on Jesse Puljujarvi

Numerous reports suggest the Oilers are still actively talking to teams about a trade that would see Jesse Puljujarvi moved out. Apparently, four teams are kicking tires on the player with Carolina and New Jersey among the potential landing spots. Most reports note that GM Ken Holland has not gotten an offer to his liking and most believe Puljujarvi will not be traded for a draft pick.

Related: 4 Backup UFA Plans for Oilers If Evander Kane Doesn’t Re-Sign

Essentially, this all boils down to where Puljujarvi sees himself versus where the Oilers see him. This isn’t about giving up on Puljujarvi, but realizing each side wants different things. Puljujarvi and his agent are not happy about the prospect of him being a middle-six or third-line player. He believes he’s a top-six guy. He wants to play in a key offensive role and it makes little sense for the Oilers to give him somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 million per season to force him into a role he doesn’t want to play.

If Puljujarvi was willing to work his way back up to the top-six, trading him likely wouldn’t even be a discussion. Since he’s resisting, the team seems ready to move on. They won’t give him away, however, and there’s no rush to get this done before the draft.

Jack Campbell Edmonton’s Top Target?

There is a lot of chatter that Jack Campbell and the Oilers could turn out to be a likely fit on July 13th. He’s one of the bigger-name goalies in a semi-attractive class of goaltenders and it sounds like the Toronto Maple Leafs have pivoted and are not thinking about an extension for the player.

The question the Oilers will have to ask is how much is too much? Does Campbell at $5 million by five years stink of an overpayment? Or, is the solid goaltending he provided in the past a sign he could do more with some solid defense in front of him? If the Oilers can nail down their blue line and work on goals against, Campbell’s numbers could look good and he and Stuart Skinner could make for a nice tandem.

Giroux a Reality?

When Pierre LeBrun dropped Claude Giroux‘s name in connection to the Oilers, many were immediately skeptical that he would agree to come to Edmonton having recently turned down an opportunity to join the Colorado Avalanche at the trade deadline. LeBrun has offered more insight and noted that Giroux is interested and while there are other interested teams, he believes he’s got Edmonton in his top five of possible landing spots.

Claude Giroux Florida Panthers
Claude Giroux, Florida Panthers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The trick here is that Giroux wants more than a one-year deal and the team that offers two or three seasons could have a better shot at him. What the cost would be is unclear, but if Evander Kane doesn’t return and the Oilers are looking for a top-six winger who can help with faceoffs and provide leadership, Giroux at three years by $4.5 or $5 million is possible.

Oilers Doing Due Diligence on Phil Kessel?

It sounds like an odd fit, but Darren Dreger has noted the Oilers are doing their due diligence on pending UFA Phil Kessel ahead of the 13th. Coming off of a massive contract and a down season, there is some belief the Oilers could get him for pennies on the dollar and might see him as a low-cost option.

It would be a bit of a risk/reward signing as Kessel only scored eight goals for Arizona last season and didn’t look at all like his typical consistent self. At 34 years old, his production could go either way. That said, he did still have 52 points in 82 games and with the right linemates could score far more often.