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Oilers May Invite a Couple of Depth Defensemen to Camp on PTO Basis

Michael Stone and Sami Vatanen are two defensemen who haven’t landed jobs in the NHL yet and the Edmonton Oilers could see as PTO options.

Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal writes that he expects the Edmonton Oilers to take advantage of the professional tryout process and potentially invite one of couple of defensemen to camp prior to the start of the 2021-22 NHL season. After signing Slater Koekkoek to a two-year extension, the Oilers a pretty much set, but that doesn’t mean competition for jobs is a bad thing.

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Every once and a while, teams will pick up some pretty useful players on a PTO. The Oilers have used the process in the past and with not much cap space left to really improve an already deeper team, GM Ken Holland may do so again. This year, Leavins believes the Oilers will wait until a lot closer to the start of training camp, but there are few names he believes the organization has in mind.

Leavins writes:

One need is a veteran #4 RHS D-man, at a league minimum. A guy who can play in the AHL but be capable of NHL TOI. Names to perhaps keep in mind: Michael Stone, 6’3 210 LBS and from Winnipeg. 30-year old Sami Vatanen might not come for $750k, but has come up in the past. As its been pointed out to me, what’s left in the UFA market for RHD is slim pickin’s.

Michael Stone and Sami Vatanen Edmonton Oilers PTO candidates

The reason the Oilers might be looking for a righ-handed d-man is because the team lost Adam Larsson during the NHL Expansion Draft to the Seattle Kraken and then traded Ethan Bear to the Carolina Hurricanes for forward Warren Foegele. That leaves the team with recently-extended Tyson Barrie, newly-signed Cody Ceci and prospect Evan Bouchard. It could be a strong trio, but there are also a ton of question marks there.

Holland likely knows that it would be helpful to have a ‘break glass in case of emergency’ option.

Will either of these players be someone the Oilers actually sign? Perhaps not. That’s the point of a tryout. The Oilers can get a closer look at a couple of players without having to commit to them. If it turns out that they’re worth investing in, the Oilers can then sign them to a short-term deal at a low cost that works within their salary cap restrictions.

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