Oilers will reportedly leave Vincent Desharnais extension talks until after playoffs

The Edmonton Oilers and Vincent Desharnais have been involved in contract talks of late, but will now put these negotiations on hold.
Vegas Golden Knights v Edmonton Oilers
Vegas Golden Knights v Edmonton Oilers / Leila Devlin/GettyImages

Desharnais may not offer much offensively with just 11 overall points in 74 games, but this is not a particularly issue on a team as talented on the Oilers. His value come on the blue line, with his physical imposing presence and not being afraid to mix it up with opponents; ahead of Saturday's action, he is second on the team in blocks and fourth in hits.

Further, the 27-year-old was recently promoted to the second pairing, alongside Darnell Nurse. He subsequently lost this spot due to injury and has since been moved back down to the third pairing, but the potential remains to form an intriguing duo with Nurse further down the road.

Financial complications

This might be easier said than done though, with Desharnais set to become an unrestricted free agent (UFA) at the conclusion of the 2023-24 campaign. As we've recently written, the Oilers will have a tough time retaining a large portion of their current roster for next season, with only just over $14.2 million projected to be available and with nine pending UFAs.

In respect of Desharnais specifically, the Oilers have actually been discussing a contract extension with him of late. However, as per a report from Ryan Rishaug of TSN, the decision has now been made to pause talks until after the Oilers' season has concluded.

In a lot of respects this makes sense, as the last thing a player wants is to be distracted during the playoffs. In addition, a lack of contract security could well work in the Oilers' favour, with Desharnais motivated to prove himself both for them specifically put the NHL in general, by showing what he can do under the bright lights and intensity of the playoff stage.

The Laval, Quebec native's cap hit for this season is $762,500, and there is no denying he deserves an increased annual value for next season and beyond. Although as per the aforementioned financial limitations, what the Oilers want to pay him and what they can justify, could well cause complications in agreeing any long-term extension.

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As per Sportsnet, Desharnais was recently unveiled by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association as the Oilers' Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy nominee. While it would certainly be special if he took home the overall award, you suspect fans will be more hopeful that he is back in Edmonton for next season, complete with a newly signed contract extension.

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