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7. Oilers rookie D-man Ethan Bear finished 10th Calder in the NHL’s Calder Trophy balloting for Rookie of the Year. Bear received 1 – 3rd Place vote, 1 -4th Place vote and 1 – 5th place vote. I expect the pending RFA will get an austere, short-term bridge deal. There’ll be more cap space for a long-term deal in Spring 2021.
6. 2-time Oilers F Sam Gagner has signed a 1-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings. I’m thrilled for Sam. He’s one of the good guys in the game and it’s great to see and his family rewarded with another contract. The announcement, however, shone a slightly different light on the deal that sent him to the Motor City from the Oilers at the NHL trade deadline. More on that situation in Edmonton in a minute…
5. Veteran center Mikko Koivu is training in Finland and weighing his options, after Minnesota did not return him. Koivu has not decided to retire, at least not yet. One imagines that his ultimate decision will depend on who comes along with what. I’ve written in this space how I felt Koivu would be a smart stopgap at 3C in Edmonton and I still have no reason to rule it out. Another Center is right below a Goalie on Ken Holland’s “to-do” list as I don’t expect Riley Sheahan (a very good 4C UFA who is likely asking for 3C dollars) back.
4. More Oilers prospects with deals to get the over-seas ice time: William Lagesson inks a 1-year deal with HC Vita Hasten. Patrick Russell loaned to Rungsted Seier Capital of the Danish pro league for the beginning of 2020-21. Raphael Lavoie goes to Vasby IK of Sweden’s HockeyAllsenskan. And Tyler Benson heads to the GCK Lions of the Swiss League. That last one is the most important signing of the 4. The Oilers would love to get a full NHL season from a couple of ELC players like Benson and/or Evan Bouchard(who’s in Sweden). The ETA’s for both players to either sink or swim is nearly upon us. If they could, it would free up some much-needed cash (perhaps Matt Benning and Alex Chiasson’s contracts, or others) to spend elsewhere.
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