Official #oilers protection list— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 18, 2021
Protected: Archibald, Draisaitl, Kassian, McDavid, Nugent-Hopkins, Puljujarvi, Yamamoto, Bear, Keith, Nurse, Skinner.
Available: Benson, Neal, Shore, Turris, Klefbom, Larsson, Russell, Koskinen.
The Oilers have submitted their protected list prior to this week’s expansion draft. After having a few days to mull over the probable list, it’s safe to say that there aren’t any real surprises with these picks. It probably would have benefitted the club a little bit to have held off on the Duncan Keith trade for another week so that they could have dropped the needle on an Adam Larsson contract, but we’re left hoping that there’s a handshake deal with the Oilers in place later this week.
Some thoughts on a few players that didn’t make the protected list:
- Mikko Koskinen - I’m pretty sure that the Oilers would take anything in a trade for him and retain half his cap. Koskinen didn’t have a great season in the abbreviated 2021 year, but there’s probably something better than the .899 SV% he finished with. With Montréal exposing Carey Price, I don’t see Koskinen headed to Seattle this week.
- James Neal: Neal’s 5.75MM cap hit would look great on Seattle’s third line from these glasses, though I’ve got realistic expectations that it’s not going to happen. Neal scored ten points in 29 games this season, he has two more years on his deal.
- Oscar Klefbom was left off the protected list after missing the entire 2021 abbreviated season. There’s a chance he could return in 2021-22, but he’s not a player that could come in and offer much to Seattle on day one.
- Kyle Turris: Turris’ name is an interesting one if you can forget his last two seasons. He’s on an inexpensive deal, and stranger things have happened.
- Tyler Benson: I probably would have put Benson’s name on the protected list, but Josh Archibald and Zack Kassian round out the seven forwards kept. There’s an argument here against Benson, but being a point per game player in AHL is a fair sign that there’s an NHL player on the cusp of making it. At just 23 years of age, Benson has just seven games of NHL experience to his name. I think there’s a really good chance he’s the Edmonton player selected in the expansion draft.
- Jujhar Khaira: Khaira seemed to find his game this past season, though he suffered two head injuries just over a month apart. Khaira is an RFA, there might be some interest from Seattle here.
- Devin Shore: He’s not getting picked.
- Cooper Marody: Like Tyler Benson, he’s nearly a point per game player for the Condors this past season (36 points in 39 games played). Marody is a year older than Benson and is a right shot centre. Could he get a break in Seattle?
- Kris Russell: Russell’s gotten a fair share of criticism over the last five years he’s been an Oiler, but his contract is now just 1.25MM which might get a second look from the Kraken.
The Seattle Kraken will make their selections official on Wednesday of this week. I really hope Tyler Benson is still an Oiler come Thursday.