Edmonton Oilers: Looking at expiring contracts – UFA edition

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins #93, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins #93, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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Adam Larsson #6, Edmonton Oilers
Adam Larsson #6, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

Right D Adam Larsson, expiring contract $4.166666 million

Adam Larsson will always be remembered for being part of the Taylor Hall trade. At different times, both players were the ones that tilted the trade towards their current club. Hall has basically fallen off the map since he won the Hart trophy in the 2017-18 season. Both players have had problems staying healthy.

I’d say in the long run this one was a wash. Wouldn’t mind Hall back as an Oiler, but that’s probably wishful thinking as he’d cost too much and it’d be hard to find a roster spot for him, especially if Nuge is re-signed, which as I already indicated I think he will be.

Larsson’s role on the Oilers – and his calling card – is the ability to munch defensive minutes against tough competition while being good for a little bit of secondary offence on occasion. He certainly improved a bit upon last season, finishing 4-6-10 with a +2 in all 56 games. Last season was 1-5-6 with a 0 in 49 games.

He finished sixth on the team in ice time with 19:39 – as depth has improved on this club Larsson’s minutes have gone down. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that Larsson spends virtually no time on the PP and yet is second on the team in PK ice time with 2:18 per game – only Darnell Nurse spends more time on the PK and Josh Archibald is the only other guy with more than two minutes of ice time per game on the PK. Juhjar Khaira and Kris Russell come close, though, at 1:58 apiece.

He’s a pretty physical player too, leading the team in blocked shots with 128 and being second on the team in hits with 166 (only beaten by Josh Archibald).

He even managed to get some boxcars going in the playoffs, going 0-2-2 in the 4 games with a -4. I can’t really blame him for that last stat, considering how many of the games went to overtime. Oh, and because Tippett shortened his bench in the playoffs, Larsson’s ice time went up to 24:22 in the playoffs.

Accounting for all of that, you can see why Dave Tippett likes to put Larsson in the lineup. He’s not a flashy player but he plays valuable minutes and takes a lot of punishment that few others on the roster can duplicate at this time. I don’t anticipate him going anywhere at this point. Maybe once there’s another player who can take more of his minutes in the top 4, then Larsson might be gone. Until then, he’s definitely coming back.

Is there anyone else in the league that could take his spot? That list would be short, and even shorter when you’re looking at right D. Trying to find an upgrade at the spot would cost a lot more. However, with defensive d-man taking a lower profile in the league, combined with the flat cap world, expect Larsson to have to take a bit of a pay cut in order to stay here.

Chances he’s re-signed – 95%

Predicted contract – 4 years, $14.8 million (3.7 million per). Larsson may be 28 right now and can still play but guys who play like him end up taking a ton of punishment on their bodies, and as such you don’t want to sign him too far into his 30s. This contact would take him until 32.  I originally thought 5 years, but there’s a good chance he’s completely cooked by then with his role, so I curbed it to 4 years.