On paper, the transactions should give the Oilers an improved look heading into the 2021 NHL season.
Here is an analysis of some of the key moves the Oilers made this off-season. Along with an overview of the type of impact, some of these new additions can make on the roster this coming season.
Edmonton Oilers Roster Moves Include a Forward Group Facelift
Key Additions: Kyle Turris, Dominik Kahun, Jesse Puljujarvi
Kyle Turris Adds Bottom-Six Scoring Depth
He is a former 25-goal-60-point player and is a proven two-way center at the NHL level. With over 700 games of experience, Turris should give the Oilers’ bottom-six forward group a nice boost overall. When needed he could move up in the lineup and be a solid complementary piece in the top-six.
At the same time, having Turris at the 3C spot gives the Oilers’ offense even more options in their top-six. One likely scenario will be to make Ryan Nugent-Hopkins a full-time winger playing alongside either Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl.
Turris’ offensive upside should also make him a key candidate to run the Oilers’ second powerplay unit. Potentially making Edmonton’s special teams even stronger.
Dominik Kahun Adds Scoring Depth On The Wing
The Oilers were also able to sign forward Dominik Kahun on a one-year, $975,000 deal. Perhaps one of the more underrated moves this off-season, Edmonton might get more than bargain for with this signing.
Despite a small sample size and limited top-six minutes in his NHL career, Kahun has shown some offensive flair to his game. As a rookie in 2018-19, he put up decent numbers, scoring 13 goals and 37 points for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Overall, Kahun is a skilled, speedy forward that will give the Oilers more scoring depth on the wing. Complimentary scoring was a problem last year, as only three players on the team scored 20 of more goals last year, so Kahun should be able to help in that regard.
It also doesn’t hurt that Kahun was a former teammate of Leon Draisaitl in Germany, so perhaps the pair may be able to find chemistry quickly.
It is too early to tell how much of an impact Kahun can make on this team early. But at only 25, and an opportunity to play with either McDavid, Draisaitl or Nugent-Hopkins doesn’t hurt his chances of setting new career-highs.
If Kahun is able to come in and chip in around 15-20 goals and 40-45 points, it will be considered a huge win for the Oilers.
Oilers Bring Jesse Puljujarvi Back For Another Go
Jesse Puljujarvi was another low-risk signing for the Oilers this season. Edmonton brought their former fourth overall pick back on a two-year deal at a $1.175 cap-hit.
This seems to be the trend for Holland and Oilers’ management this off-season. Banking on players to outplay their potential on cap-friendly deals.
No question Puljujarvi had a rocky start to his NHL career and things didn’t end well for him and the Oilers during his first go-round.
All aside it seems like the season spent in Karpat might have been beneficial for his development. Puljujarvi led his team in scoring, with 24 goals and 53 points in 56 games. He appears a more mature and improved player.
Over his past three seasons with the Oilers organization, Puljujarvi has shown flashes of his skill, speed, and offensive upside. It remains to be seen if he is able to finally figure things out at the NHL level.
Ideally, the Oilers would want him to be a high-impact winger on the team’s top-six. But if he becomes a consistent third-line player this season who can chip in around 15 goals and 40 points for the team, it would be considered a step forward.
We can’t forget that Puljujarvi is still only 22 so there is still time for him to develop before he takes a huge step forward. All in all, the Oilers did not break the bank or commit long term to Puljujarvi. So if things go south, this signing shouldn’t hurt them too much in the grand scheme of things.
Oilers’ Defence Gets More Offence With Tyson Barrie
Tyson Barrie is arguably the Oiler’s biggest acquisition this off-season. Once again Edmonton was able to come to terms with a proven player on a reasonable contract. Signing Barrie to a one-year, $3.75-million contract.
Barrie is an experienced NHL player and was arguably the best offensive defenceman available this off-season. Despite coming off a down year with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the 29-year-old has hit the 50-point-plateau three of his five seasons from 2014 to 2019.
Barrie is not the best defender by any means, but should give the Oilers defence a huge offensive boost. As a powerplay specialist, Barrie should make an already potent powerplay even stronger.
Another part of Barrie’s game that should intrigue a lot of Oiler fans is his puck-moving ability. They have been lacking a good puck-moving defenceman for a while. Adding Barrie to the lineup should help in that regard.
With the amount of talent around him and the ability to play top powerplay minutes; there is a good chance Barrie can hit the 50-point-plateau once again. Aside from that, he should be able to give Edmonton a solid 20-22 minutes a night in a top-four role and help this team generate more offence from the blueline.
How The Oilers Fair Going Into Next Season
They have made several intriguing moves and seem to have addressed some issues in their lineup. That includes more scoring depth on the wing, an upgrade at the 3C position, and a high-end offensive puck-mover on the blueline.
So, it is not unreasonable to see them be a playoff team. But heading into the new season a few questions remain intact.
Will goaltending be a problem? Is their defence good enough? And will young players like Jesse Puljujarvi, Kailer Yamamoto, Ethan Bear, and Caleb Jones continue to improve and help bring this team to the next level?