Oilers News & Rumors: Larsson, Bear, Kassian, Neal, More

In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, now that the NHL Expansion Draft protected lists have been delivered to the Seattle Kraken, are there any surprises as far as the Oilers are concerned? Who is the most likely to be selected and why did GM Ken Holland choose to protect the players he did? Meanwhile, does the list have any affect on a possible deal with Adam Larsson or could there be a trade in the works for Ethan Bear? Finally, did the Andrew Ladd trade offer an indication as to what it would take the Oilers to trade James Neal?

Oilers Submit Their Protection List to Kraken

The Oilers didn’t surprise too many people when they submitted their list the to Kraken. That said, there’s been a bit of pushback from some fans who thought Edmonton shouldn’t have protected Zack Kassian and his $3.2 million salary. He’s a player the Oilers really value and a player Holland signed personally. There’s a lot of time for him in Edmonton.

Zack Kassian Edmonton Oilers
Zack Kassian, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

As for who the Oilers might lose, the consensus seems to be that Seattle will select either Jujhar Khaira or Tyler Benson. For some reason, a good portion of fans are really quite upset at the notion of losing Benson, even though he’s not done anything at the NHL level and may never be a player the Oilers rely on.


Forwards (7): Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jesse Puljujarvi, Josh Archibald, Kailer Yamamoto, Zack Kassian
Defensemen (3): Darnell Nurse, Ethan Bear, Duncan Keith
Goaltender (1): Stuart Skinner


Forwards: Dominik Kahun, Jujhar Khaira, James Neal, Devin Shore, Kyle Turris
Defensemen:, Oscar Klefbom, Kris Russell,
Goalies: Mikko Koskinen, Alex Stalock

Ethan Bear Used to Land a Player Seattle Selects?

Lowetide (Allan Mitchell) tweeted something interesting on Sunday after Edmonton submitted its protection and exposed list. He hinted that the Oilers might consider a trade with the Kraken that would occur after the selections were made.

He wrote:

Not to ruin everyone’s day, but the player on Edmonton’s roster who might have appeal to Seattle is Ethan Bear. Played junior there, would be remembered by city’s hockey fans. ?: Is there anyone on the available list for Seattle you would consider in a trade involving Bear?

Ethan Bear Edmonton Oilers
Ethan Bear, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Keep in mind, Edmonton chose to protect Bear, thus any deal would have to be done after Seattle makes their selections. The question becomes, is there any player the Kraken might take that would be intriguing to the Oilers? And, would it require the Kraken retain some salary in the deal to make that player more affordable?

For example, could Seattle select Vladimir Tarasenko, then turn and flip him to the Oilers for Ethan Bear? There might be some no-trade contract details to work out, but if Seattle retained $2 million on Tarasenko’s contract, it would be like getting Bear for $4 million (not terrible for a top-four defenseman), while the Oilers get Tarasenko for $5.5 million.

That kind of deal is a long-shot, but Lowetide suggests a player like Nino Niederreiter would be more likely. In the end, Lowetide didn’t think the Oilers would make a move like this. They like Bear and his $2 million contract too much.

Related: NHL Rumors: Canadiens, Blues, Avalanche, Kings, More

What’s Next for Adam Larsson?

There are still conflicting reports regarding Larsson and what could happen next. Some believe he’s destined to test the free agent waters while others believe there’s a deal already in the bag and it will be announced after the expansion draft.

Edmonton Oilers Adam Larsson
Edmonton Oilers’ Adam Larsson (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson)

Mark Spector is among those who believe a deal is done in principle. He believes the pending UFA defenseman will sign for four years and $3.9 million per season. One of the teams rumored to be a concern for Edmonton was Philadelphia. They were an obvious potential destination for Larsson but the Flyers addition of Ryan Ellis might presumably take them out of the mix.

James Neal Trade Value Now Set?

Jonathan Willis points out that the Ladd deal might be an indicator for those hoping the Oilers can successfully trade James Neal this offseason. Ladd was traded to the Arizona Coyotes for no return and it cost the New York Islanders three draft picks (two conditional) to convince Arizona to take him.

Willis writes, “For people wanting the Edmonton Oilers to trade James Neal who has two years left on his deal totaling $11.5 million in salary and cap space. The Islanders had to pay two second-round picks and a third-round pick to move two years totaling $11 million cap space and $8 million in salary.”

If this is accurate, it suggests a trade isn’t likely and either keeping the player or a buy out makes more sense.