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Next Steps for Holland and the Edmonton Oilers This Offseason

Is there anything the Edmonton Oilers can or will still do in this year’s NHL free agency period?

For all intents and purposes, the Edmonton Oilers are done making moves in NHL free agency. General manager Ken Holland said he checked off most of the items on his to-do list: he landed a defenseman, re-signed his goaltender, found a third-line center and brought in a winger.

Some may argue what Holland did wasn’t enough and others will say that the additions of Kyle Turris, Tyson Barrie and Jesse Puljujarvi make the team better. That’s not a bad thing considering the team was already pretty good. But, is there more the Oilers can do?

With just over $700K remaining on the cap, Holland has noted there are a few things left he needs to tackle.

New Deal For Ethan Bear

Among his priorities is a new deal for restricted free agent defenseman Ethan Bear. The Oilers can realistically do a Bear deal and not need to clear a lot more room since a bridge deal with the defenseman is a definite possibility. Bear has no leverage and one good season from which to negotiate. If a short-term contract, he should come in at a relatively low number.

Ethan Bear Edmonton Oilers
Ethan Bear Edmonton Oilers

But, the Oilers don’t necessarily want to do anything but get Bear done at a reasonable number for a longer-term. As such, the Oilers will explore possible scenarios to keep him committed to the team.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Long-Term Extension

We went into detail about a Nugent-Hopkins deal a couple of days ago. At that time, we wrote: “Holland said, “Well, he’s popular with me too.” He added, “We’ve had lots of conversations.” He added, “I’d like to keep Ryan. I’d like to find a solution that works for Ryan and for us.” 

This too will be a priority for Holland but it isn’t one that will require he make a rush decision. Nuge has one more season on his current deal at $6 million per season.

Grab a Depth Defenseman

Holland admitted to Bob Stauffer on Oilers Now that he’s looking for a depth veteran defenseman that can come up and down between the AHL team and NHL team. He’ll likely wait to sign that player as the market softens and prices drop.

Trades to Clear Out Cap Space

If possible, Holland will also look to potentially move some cap space in an effort clean up the roster and take advantage of great deals that exist on the market. There are still plenty of good forwards available in free agency and Edmonton might want to get in on that action.

In order to do so, they’ll need to clear out salary, including potential names like Alex Chiasson or Zack Kassian.

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