In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, there is news the team may look to recently-signed prospect Filip Berglund, the Oilers may be thinking about who to protect in expansion, and one scribe looks at what lineup the Oilers could deploy against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Oilers Could Need Berglund Sooner Than Expected
The Edmonton Oilers signed top Swede prospect Filip Berglund, now 23, to deal in late April. It was a two-year entry-level contract that will likely kick in for the 2021-22 season. Now, as teams are looking at the salary cap situation, rosters, and the new rules about the CBA, especially as it pertains to the Seattle expansion draft, the Oilers are realizing Berglund might be someone to keep a close eye on.
Berglund was drafted in the third round in 2016 and would have been an unrestricted free agent if the Oilers hadn’t signed him. Now, because the Oilers could lose Adam Larsson in the Seattle expansion draft or as a UFA in 2020-21 season (thanks to a flat cap), Berglund may get an early look.
What About Lagesson or Jones and Expansion?
If Larsson doesn’t pique Seattle’s interest, Caleb Jones might be a player who is exposed. Should the Oilers choose to protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and a goalie, Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse, and Ethan Bear (extension pending) are the likeliest of names protected. But, there is another way to get around losing Jones should he take a big step next season.
As Bruce McCurdy of the Edmonton Journal points out:
But another scenario sees the Oilers protecting 4-4-1 with Jones being the fourth d-man to be sheltered. If so they will need a fifth blueliner under contract for 2021-22. With a two-year extension, not to mention 40 games played in the upcoming season, that could be Willie Lagesson. It’s easy to imagine such a player being of interest to Seattle GM Ron Francis.source – ‘Might Edmonton Oilers’ perma-prospect William Lagesson be a factor in Seattle expansion draft?’ Bruce McCurdy – Edmonton Journal – 07/09/2020
Every team will have tough choices to make except the Vegas Golden Knights who are exempt from expansion. The Oilers have been patient with Lagesson and it would be a shame to lose him, but if the choices are Jones or Lagesson, it doesn’t seem like a tough choice at all.
Oilers Welcome More Players Back
As the NHL gears up for training camps (originally slated to start today), the Edmonton Oilers continue to post videos of players returning to the ice at Rogers Place. Among the names today were Josh Archibald and Mikko Koskinen.
The Oilers have close to a full roster skating now and trying to get ready for a play-in round against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Predicting Oilers Lineup vs. Blackhawks
Allan Mitchell of The Athletic looked at what the Edmonton Oilers might do versus the Blackhawks in their five-game play-in series and the strategy coach Dave Tippet could take. Some media are picking the Blackhawks to pull off an upset, with others suggesting there’s no home-ice advantage for the Oilers despite Rogers Place and Edmonton being chosen as a hub city.
Thinking the team will go with veterans and double-shift Connor McDavid to get him open space away from Duncan Keith, Mitchell writes:
The coach also has the option of playing two big wingers with McDavid (Athanasiou and Kassian), and those two players might be able to punish Keith and Murphy early and often.
Elsewhere, he should put veterans on defence and in goal, and run the daylights out of that Draisaitl trio.source – ‘Lowetide: Dave Tippett’s postseason strategy against the Blackhawks’ – Allan Mitchell – The Athletic – 07/09/2020
He believes the coach could ice the following lineup:
- Line 1: Andreas Athanasiou-Connor McDavid-Zack Kassian
- Line 2: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins-Leon Draisaitl-Kailer Yamamoto
- Line 3: James Neal-Jujhar Khaira-Alex Chiasson
- Line 4: Tyler Ennis-Riley Sheahan-Josh Archibald
- Top pair: Oscar Klefbom-Adam Larsson
- Second pair: Darnell Nurse-Ethan Bear
- Third pair: Kris Russell-Mike Green
- Goalie: Mike Smith (Mikko Koskinen)
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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.”