The Expansion Draft Changes Contract Extensions | - Edmonton Oilers News and Rumours

The Expansion Draft Changes Contract Extensions

I wrote an earlier piece about how the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft may change the way the Edmonton Oilers approach any potential trades this season. I suggested that the Oilers would need to consider what contracts they'd be bringing in and that any terms longer than ones ending this year, could be counter-productive considering they stand to lose those players in expansion or must alter their protected list as a result.

You can see that post here.

It sparked some interesting discussion on Facebook in that there is some uncertainty as to how the rules of trading for players by Las Vegas will affect who is actually still eligible to be drafted. If there is truth to the news that if Vegas makes a trade for a player, that team from which that player arrives will no longer be eligible as a draft accessible team. It opens up the possibility for some very creative managing.


What isn't affected by this potential detail are contract extensions. Any team that extends a player during the season, would then have to consider how it affects their protected list. Case in point would be the Oilers and Kris Russell. Scott Oake of Rogers Sportsnet made a comment during a Hockey Night in Canada broadcast that the Oilers and Russell were working on a way to keep Russell in Edmonton.

“He’s played so well here that resigning him would seem to be a priority, otherwise Russell becomes a free agent again this coming summer. There’s also a chance Edmonton could lose him in Vegas expansion draft. But what the Oilers have going for him is Russell is an Alberta boy, a genuine cowboy from Caroline, who plays his best hockey in his home province…The expectation there is a deal to be made with Russel here.”

For the most part, I'm sure many fans would like to see Russell extended if the terms are right. However, extending Russell now changes the dynamic of which defensemen the Oilers can protect come expansion.

If Edmonton signs Russell, they would likely want to protect him. That leaves exposed either Adam Larsson or Oscar Klefbom if the Oilers stick with the 7-3-1 position protection plan that works the most in their favor (Oilers are forced to protect Sekera). Seven forwards, three defensemen and a goaltender allow the Oilers to protect the highest quantity of players. If the Oilers then have to protect four blue-liners, a good forward will be exposed.


Could the Oilers work out a deal with the Vegas Golden Knights to swing a trade prior to the expansion, making it so that Edmonton isn't one of the teams Vegas selects from? If the news and rumors about the draft are correct, possibly.

Edmonton might ship a pick and a player to Vegas for a pick in return and while they give up an asset or lose that trade, take themselves out of the running to lose a player via the draft. The trick will be to convince Vegas that this is something that benefits the Golden Knights.

Where the Oilers will have room for extensions is in the forward position. Right now, with the 7-3-1 rule and should Edmonton stick to a list that includes players like Tyler Pitlick, they could extend Pitlick without worry of losing him or putting another player at risk.

There will be some interesting maneuvering that goes on in the final months of the season and just before the expansion. One thing that seems certain, is that if Edmonton extends Kris Russell between January and before the expansion draft, another move is required to keep the defensive core together.

But, who cares what I think right? For now, I'll just keep my mouth shut until I feel like spilling my guts again.

Jim Parsons is a business owner, husband, father and sports fan. For more information about founder and Oil Spill articles author Jim Parsons, click here.

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