Oilers News & Rumors: Kulak, Kane, Campbell, Keith, Brown, Deslauriers

In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, Duncan Keith has officially announced his retirement from the NHL. Meanwhile, there is talk that Brett Kulak will test the free agency market and Jack Campbell is destined to join the team on Wednesday.

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The Oilers told Evander Kane to check out the market, but there’s talk about GM Ken Holland being interested in a few other players when the market opens.

Keith Officially Retires

It was learned a few days ago that Keith would not be coming back to the Oilers or the NHL next season, but it wasn’t until Tuesday that he officially retired from the league. The Oilers released a statement saying, “Thank you, Duncan, for the invaluable veteran leadership you brought to the team during the 2021-22 season & congratulations on an outstanding @NHL career!”

Keith, 38, appeared in 64 games after being acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks on July 12, 2021. He will be a Hall of Famer and while his contract coming off the books does free up a lot of money for the Oilers, make no mistake, his 18-20 minutes on the back end will be missed.

Kulak to Explore Free Agency

The Oilers have shown keen interest in bringing back Brett Kulak on a multi-year deal and while talks have been ongoing, reports that the defenseman will explore the free agency market on Wednesday. Frank Seravalli writes, “#Oilers and Kulak’s camp met on Tuesday in attempt to keep the Stony Plain native in Oil Country, but haven’t found common ground to this point. Edmonton has some decisions to make on the backend.”

Related: NHL Rumors: Penguins, Blues, Oilers, Maple Leafs, Capitals

Sportsnet’s Mark Spector reported over the weekend Kulak’s minimum ask was four years and $2.5 million per season, which is not a bad deal at all. It’s intriguing that the Oilers are choosing not to meet him there considering they are losing Keith and the potential loss of Kulak decimates their left side. That leaves only Darnell Nurse and rookies like Phillip Broberg.

Jack Campbell Joining Oilers?

After the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired Matt Murray in a trade, it seems all but assured that Jack Campbell will be joining the Oilers on Wednesday, according to multiple insiders. Elliotte Friedman said he would be surprised if the Oilers didn’t land him with Darcy Kuemper likely going to the Washington Capitals.

Campbell and Stuart Skinner will be the Oilers one-two punch in net, likely for the next four or five seasons. The hope for a number of Oilers fans is that Campbell’s deal isn’t so long and so expensive that it stops Skinner from really progressing and becoming an eventual starter if he has that ability.

Evander Kane Testing the Market

The Oilers were not able to come to terms with Kane on an extension prior to Wednesday. In fact, reports are they offered four years times $4.75 million and were not prepared to offer more than that. He was told to test the market early to see if there was a demand out there for his services at the price he expects to be paid.

Evander Kane Edmonton Oilers
Evander Kane, Edmonton Oilers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Oilers would like Kane, but only at a certain price point and they must believe they’ll have plenty of other options on the table, including names like Claude Giroux, Ondrej Palat, David Perron, Andre Burakovsky, and others. With more than $20 million in cap space, it is expected the Oilers will be one of the busier teams on Wednesday.

Corey Masisak of The Athletic writes:

“The potential term of Kane’s next contract is an obstacle. Kane turns 31 next month, which is just one of the reasons I’m told the Oilers aren’t willing to offer him close to a max-length deal of eight years… Their pursuit of Kane has been consistent but hasn’t amounted to much. GM Ken Holland was in regular contact with Milstein, but progress was hard to come by. Now he’s on the market.”

source – ‘Evander Kane’s complicated free agency: What you need to know’ – Corey Misisak – The Athletic – 07/12/2022

Oilers In on Nicolas Deslauriers and Connor Brown?

Nicolas Deslauriers and Connor Brown are two more physical forwards the Oilers are rumored to be interested in. There has been chatter that Edmonton has spoken with the Ottawa Senators about a Brown trade and Edmonton will be one of the teams that reaches out about Deslauriers in free agency.

Deslauriers is expected to be a popular player and could get four years by $2 million per. Edmonton sees him as potentially a less expensive version of Zack Kassian, who they traded to the Arizona Coyotes to create salary cap space.