Edmonton Oilers G.M. Ken Holland may not be done just yet, after all: 9 Things


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A report earlier this week on America radio suggested that Ken Holland may be “done”, in terms of building this year’s roster.

It understandably upset a few Oilers fans. They quite correctly pointed out some of the remaining gaps in the lineup. Problem is…I don’t believe the assertion that Holland is “done” is actually the case.

Why, and what Mr. Holland may still be up to, in in this week’s edition of…

9 Things

9. Lots of indications that the Oilers are actively pursuing an extension with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. There’s room to do it properly. Even if the cap doesn’t go up next year (and I doubt it will) $23m could come off Edmonton’s books after 2021-22. Now, $6m of that is Nuge. But…

8. When G.M. Ken Holland added a No Trade Clause to the contract of Mike Smith some people started wringing their hands. But it’s not a No Move Clause. Big difference. Holland has options remaining. Besides, if Smith doesn’t work out there IS no trade market for him.


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7. I made my case last week for liking the Kyle Turris signing. But I want to add that in certain game situations, if Dave Tippett wants to move Leon Draisaitl up and stack his first line, Turris competently slides into the #2 slot. You would have to squint pretty hard to see the same potential in Riley Sheahan, last year’s 3C.

6. Jesse Puljujarvi is scoring well above a point per game so far with Karpat of the Finnish league (5-2-7 in 5 games). I won’t be a revisionist. I’ve long maintained that the competition there isn’t what some make it out to be. But it IS good to see him playing with such purpose, as he prepares to return to the fold.

5. My Cult of Hockey colleague Bruce McCurdy points out that Oilers star prospect Philip Broberg has logged over 20:00 of ice-time in 5 of his 6 games so far with Skelleftea this season. Compare that to the average TOI that Broberg posted with them last season in a much-reduced role: 13:59. And wow, does he ever look dynamic. Speaking of D-men…

4. Maturing prospect William Lagesson is off to an excellent start with Vita Hasten AC of the Swedish ice hockey system. He has 3 goals and 5 points in 5 games so far. And he is playing a ton. In their most recent 5-2 loss to Timra, Lagesson logged 25:16 of TOI. That must be exactly what the Oilers brass would have hoped for him over there. Lots of reps.

3. The four newly acquired players likely to see time in Edmonton this season have chosen their jersey numbers. Tyson Barrie will don the #22 that Charlie Huddy used to wear during his storied career. Kyle Turris gets Dave Lumley’s old #8. Alan Quine will be in #26. No less than 24 Oilers have worn that one previously from Pat Price to Brandon Manning. And Anton Forsberg will pull on #33. 19 have worn that one, perhaps most notably fellow goaltender Cam Talbot.


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2. If the National Hockey League opts to realign it’s four divisions for 2020-21 due to COVID and the continued closure of the Canada-U.S. border, it’s very possible that we see an all-Canadian division. It’s a very do-able and frankly quite exciting prospect. But it would present a challenge for the American AHL franchises of Canadian clubs. The 14-day quarantine is a serious impediment for Edmonton when they need a call-up from Bakersfield. And due to what will be a compressed schedule, fitting AHL games into Roger’s Place (or even the community arena) could also be a challenge. What about the Servus Arena in Red Deer? It’s an NHL-sized surface just 90 minutes away. The Oilers have been working at developing ties in that town for years, now.

1. There’s an adage in the National Hockey League that you can never have too many D-men. It is one of the reasons that Ken Holland acquired veteran Mike Green at last Spring’s trading deadline. You can debate the choice of player. But surely you don’t disagree with having an additional veteran right-shot defender heading into the season. And with Matt Benning gone and Evan Bouchard still developing, it is easy to argue that the need still exists in the Oilers organization. Enter (perhaps) RHS Defenceman and Unrestricted Free Agent Madison Bowey. Detroit did not qualify him after his $1m contract expired.

Madison Bowey went 3-14-17 in 53 NHL games for the Red Wings in 2019-20. A former 2nd Round pick, Bowey is both sturdy of frame (6’2, 210) and toolsy. Think a less accomplished, right-handed, budget-friendly Darnell Nurse: Bowey skates, transports the puck effectively and defends with a real edge. Bowey’s addition would both help flesh out the D-corps and buy more time for Edmonton prospects, a very Ken Holland-like approach. Holland knows Bowey from their time together in Detroit. He was also a teammate of Leon Draisaitl in Kelowna in 2014-15.


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But here’s the key: The 25-year old Bowey has also only played 268 professional games. As such, he could be sent to AHL Bakersfield and not count as a veteran, allowing him to play lots and stay sharp. That’s because the AHL Veteran Rule has an exception to the 260-game cut-off, allowing one more player on the rookie list who has played fewer than 320 pro games. The Oilers have used this wrinkle once before, allowing them to send Luke Gazdic to Oklahoma City 5 years ago. But he still counted as a non-veteran.

Further: With Madison Bowey signed through 2021-22, and because he has played the 40 games last season (53), he would also qualify him as Edmonton’s minimum requirement to be exposed in the expansion draft. Bonus.

How would they pay him a <$1m contract, plus sign RFA Ethan Bear? Probably with the $4+ from the Oscar Klefbom which is likely headed to LTIR. And it’s the timing of that which is almost certainly holding up one…

And perhaps both.

Find me on Twitter @KurtLeavins

Recently, at The Cult…

STAPLES: The NHL’s scariest contracts, any Oilers on that list?

McCURDY: The method to Ken Holland’s madness in net

STAPLES: 10 reasons why the Oilers will be better this year


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