The Flames may have won the offseason, but the Oilers aren’t far behind
Other DGs who have done good work over the summer include Ken holland.
The boss of Oilers didn’t have to face the same challenges as his counterpart in the south of the province, but he was able to meet the needs of his team, despite a very limited budget.
He got along with free agents Jack Campbell, Evader Kane, Brett Kulak and Mattias Janmark, in addition to renewing the contracts of Kailer Yamamoto and jesse Puljujarvi, at reasonable costs.
He finally traded zack Kasian and his $3.2 million contract to the Coyotes.
A number one goalkeeper
The number one criticism of the Oilers for years was the team’s lack of consistency in goal.
Although the tandem made up of Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen wasn’t as bad as some believe, both men fell short in critical moments.
In the summer of 2020, Ken holland tried to convince Jacob Markstrom to sign with the Oilersbut he had rather preferred to get along with the Flames. Faced with the lack of options, holland offered a new one-season contract to Mike Smith.
Last summer, holland again turned to Mike Smiththis time offering him a two-year deal.
Everything now seems to indicate that Mike Smith will spend the second year of his contract on the injured list. Mikko Koskinen, for his part, has chosen to pursue his career in Switzerland.
Ken holland therefore no longer had the choice to take action by bringing at least one new cerberus within his formation.
His choice fell on the ex-keeper of the Maple Leaves, Jack Campbell. This one may not have the stuff of Jacob Markstrom, but he represented the best option available in the free agent market.
Who is Jack Campbell?
Campbell is an American who was selected in the first round, 11e in total, by stars of dallas in the 2010 draft.
Its development has not taken place at the speed desired by the stars, with whom he only played one game; it was during the 2013-2014 season.
Traded to Kings in the summer of 2016, he spent three full seasons with the California organization before being traded to the Maple Leaves in February 2020.
With The bone Angeleshe played 57 games, mainly as second or third goalkeeper behind jonathan Quick. His four season record was 20-24-5 with a 2.51 GAA and .912 save percentage.
With Toronto, he was expected to play second fiddle, behind Frederik Andersen, but in his first full season with the team he finished ahead of the Danish keeper in every statistical column, which convinced the team to make him his number one keeper for the following season.
He started the season brilliantly before suffering a rib injury in March. He then had a 24-9-4 record.
His injury caused him to miss 10 games. Upon his return he compiled nine wins and two losses in overtime.
In the playoffs, he defended the net of Leaves in the seven games of the series opposing them to Lightning. His save percentage was .914.
Campbell turns 31 in January. His contract of five million per season binds him to Oilers for five seasons.
His deputy will be Stuart Skinner, who played 13 games in the NHL last season. He had six wins and six losses with a .913 save percentage.
The Oilers also agreed with calvin pikarda goaltender with 116 games of NHL experience who will provide depth in net.
The return of Evander Kane
Signature by Evander Kane was perhaps the best move made by Ken holland over the past few months.
The forward joined the Oilers in January after the Sharks terminated his contract. The chemistry between him and Connor McDavid was instantaneous.
In 43 meetings, Kane scored 22 goals and added 17 assists. In 15 playoff games, he scored 17 points, including 13 goals.
Became an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, Kane agreed to a four-year contract at $5,125,000 per season.
For comparison, Nazem Kadri’s contract with the Flames is worth seven million per season and is valid for seven years.
The presence of Kane on one of the Oilers’ top two lines offers plenty of opportunities for the head coach Jay Woodcroftin particular that of using Ryannugent–Hopkins in the center of the third line, rather than on the wing within one of the first two.
Holland also signed another forward, Mattias Janmark, who had 25 points in 67 games with the Golden Knights. The 29-year-old Swede already had two 15-or-more goal seasons with the Stars early in his career.
Janmark is seen as a center player, but is mostly used as a winger. He can play shorthanded.
Kulak also comes back
The defender Brett Kulak was acquired by the Oilers on the trade deadline. He rendered great service to the team, especially during the absence of Darnell Nurseinjured at the end of the season.
Best known for his defensive style, Kulak nonetheless scored two goals and six assists in 18 games. He added five assists in 16 playoff games.
The player, from Stony Plainwest of Edmonton, has agreed to a new four-year pact that will bring in $2,750,000 annually.
The ex-first-round pick (second overall) Ryan Murray was added to the Oilers staff last week. The one who spent last season in Colorado signed a one-season deal for $750,000.
His presence in the roster probably means there won’t be a fight in camp for the position of seventh defender.
Dmitri Samorukov, Markus Niemelainen and Vincent Desharnais were three potential candidates for this role.
Still work to do
Despite the task accomplished by the GM of the Oilers, the work is not finished. the attacker Ryan McLeod is still without a contract. The Oilers must offer him a new contract, but already exceed the limit established by the salary cap.
holland will likely have to compromise in order to get rid of a contract. The candidates most likely to be traded before the start of the season are forwards jesse Puljujarvi and warren Foegele as well as the defender Tyson Barrie.
During the season, holland will also probably move to bring more bite to his defensive unit. It would not be surprising to see him acquire a defender who can play in one of the first two pairs.
So far, the GM has managed to improve his training without having to give up his young hopefuls. This time, he will probably have no choice but to sacrifice one or two young players, if he feels his team is on the right track.
If he had to part with a player like Xavier Bourgault or Carter Savoywithout the Oilers enjoying playoff success, the jury would probably be a little tougher on Ken holland.
For now, it’s hard to criticize the work the Oilers GM has done over the past few months. His training is better than it was last season, and the longest contract he offered this summer was a five-year one.
Last summer, holland had received some criticism for his work.
The signing of Darnell Nurse for eight seasons, at an average salary of $9.25 million, the acquisition of duncan Keith and his salary of more than $5.5 million, the signatures of Zach Hyman, Cody This, Tyson Barrie and Mike Smith as well as the exchange of Ethan Bear were not unanimous.