Ken Holland addressed the media on Thursday and offered a lot of information for Edmonton Oilers fans, while leaving a few questions unanswered. He was asked about a deal for Zach Hyman and could only say so much, but he did talk about what happened with Adam Larsson, where the team is at with Mike Smith and the young players on this team and where they fit in the overall plans for the franchise.
Multiple Offers on Table for Adam Larsson
Holland walked the media through the process that was Larsson leaving the team and signing with the Seattle Kraken. The GM noted the Oilers had multiple offers on the table for Larsson, even adding another year to one of their offers to make sure the player knew the team was interested in retaining him.
Eventually, Larsson’s camp said they wanted to shut down negotiations and take some time to determine what he wanted to do. It became a situation where both sides agreed to have Larsson check out the market and hopefully determine his best option was to return to Edmonton. Holland said he woke up to a text that the defenseman had agreed to a deal with Seattle.
When asked how that affects his plans for the blue line now, Holland said, “Make a new plan.”
Holland Won’t Be Big Game Hunting on Defense
However Holland tries to readjust, what’s clear is that he won’t be signing a player like Dougie Hamilton. Holland said the Oilers won’t be going big-game hunting on the back end. Holland talked about having to make sure that he keeps in mind the future contracts for players like Darnell Nurse, Ethan Bear, Jesse Puljujarvi and others.
“Internally, I have to make sure that I have some money set aside that is going to come off the books.” The Oilers will not be looking to spend $7 or $8 million for a defenseman. Holland did acknowledge that the team has looked into the trade market and could potential improve the right side of his defense via trade instead of through free agency. He wouldn’t give any sort of indication (not that he can anyways) as to whom he might targeting.
Mike Smith Two-Year Deal Done
Holland said the deal will be announced later today but the team has come to a two-year deal with goaltender Mike Smith. He didn’t say whether or not he was hesitant to give two seasons to the veteran netminder, but it is a two-year deal. PuckPedia has the deal coming in at a $2.2 million cap hitl: Yr 1: $1.9M Base Yr 2: $2.5M Base.
As for what happens with Mikko Koskinen and having a goaltender work with Smith, Holland did acknowledge there would be one buy out this offseason. Koskinen could be that player.
Evan Bouchard Will Play Every Night
Holland said the team’s expectation is that Evan Bouchard will be on the roster every night and be a regular player. He talked about the fact that he needs to do something on the blue line considering Larsson is now gone. “Between now a training camp, I need to make an addition or two on the back end.”
The team has talked to Tyson Barrie but it’s not clear where those negotiations are at. Darren Dreger reports, “Oilers continue to push a 3 year deal. Barrie prefers 4. Also, Oilers have kicked tires on Ristolainen.”
Holland Expects to Sign a Number of Depth Players
Holland also said he told a number of the players he signed to one-year deals that he won’t be re-signing them. He’ll hit the market and look for depth pieces like he’s done the past two seasons. Holland says he is not like to offer qualifying offers to Dominik Kahun or Jujhar Khaira.
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.”