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Oilers Still Frontrunners for UFA Connor Brown, But Hurdle Exists

The Edmonton Oilers are still frontrunners to land Connor Brown in free agency, but could there be a hurdle to jump first?

The Edmonton Oilers have emerged as a potential destination for forward Connor Brown, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent after a challenging season with the Washington Capitals. While Brown is expected to generate significant interest in the free agency market, the number of offers and the financial terms he will receive remains uncertain as he explores his options for the future, whether it be a short-term or long-term commitment.

Meanwhile, the Oilers are working on a few things and have some moves potentially on the table, including trades that could see Kailer Yamamoto, Warren Foegele, Klim Kostin, Philip Broberg, or Cody Ceci depart the team if GM Ken Holland can find the right deals.

Related: Connor McDavid Officially “Off the Market” With Big Announcement

Insiders suggest that the Oilers are serious contenders, even considered frontrunners, in the pursuit of Brown’s services. The connection between Brown and Oilers’ star Connor McDavid is evident, making Edmonton an appealing destination. The Athletic’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman reports that there has been considerable discussion surrounding the Oilers’ interest in Brown. However, it is noted that the team would require Brown to accept a lower salary in order to accommodate their roster needs. Jonathan Willis speculates that might not be a problem as Brown could be looking to hit a home run on a short-term deal and sign a much more lucrative contract after a big year and when the salary cap jumps significantly.

At 29 years old, Brown played only four games last season due to injuries, likely making him inclined towards a short-term contract with a reduced pay scale, regardless of where he lands. The Oilers present an attractive opportunity for Brown, as he would likely slot into the top-six forward group and possibly find himself playing alongside McDavid.

Insiders, including Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer, analyst Louie DeBrusk, and Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman (h/t @coopsie39), anticipate that Brown will receive offers in the range of $3 million over three years. To make the financials work, the Oilers would need to structure the contract with a lower base salary, potentially around $1 million, supplemented by performance bonuses. These bonuses could be designed as “no-brainers,” such as earning an additional $2 million for playing a certain number of games, but limited to a one-year term.

Connor Brown Edmonton Oilers rumors
Connor Brown Edmonton Oilers rumors

Oilers Still Frontrunners

Friedman said:

“One of the guys I think there’s a decent chance he ends up in EDM is Connor Brown..[he’s] gonna have a billion teams after him..you guys have a really good chance because he’s got history with a certain guy..on your team..[and] because you’re good.”

Interestingly, McDavid and Brown have a history together as former teammates with the Erie Otters in the Ontario Hockey League from 2012 to 2014. Their on-ice chemistry was impressive, combining for an impressive 362 points during their two seasons together. Now, nearly a decade later, the possibility of a reunion in Edmonton adds an intriguing storyline to the potential acquisition of Brown by the Oilers.

Next: NHL Trade Talk 2023 NHL Draft Guide: Picks, Projections, and Profiles

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