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Last Week in Hockey: August 3

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Free agency signings, Oilers updates, NHL’s legal tapdancing, etc

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Vancouver Canucks Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Back again from the previous offseason, I’m here to update you all on the “Last Week in Hockey”. While Oilers news may be scarce, I’ll be working to bring you the latest from around the NHL and hockey.

If there’s ever anything you think I’m missing, don’t be shy. Let me know on Twitter or in the comments.

The biggest news from the last week...

FREE AGENCY

With over $116,000,000 spent, 2021 free agency allowed teams to begin spending bigger than they have in the past few years.

  • Blake Coleman C Flames (6 years, $29.4 million)
  • Gabriel Landeskog LW Avalanche (7 years, $56 million)
  • Philipp Grubauer G Kraken (6 years, $35.4 million)
  • Dougie Hamilton D Devils (7 years, $63 million)
  • Zach Hyman LW Oilers (7 years, $38.5 million)
  • Phillip Danault C Kings (6 years, $33 million)
  • Tyson Barrie D Oilers (3 years, $13.5 million)
  • Petr Mrazek G Maple Leafs (3 years, $11.4 million)
  • David Savard D Canadiens (4 years, $14 million)
  • Alec Martinez D Golden Knights (3 years, $15.75 million)
  • Frederik Andersen G Hurricanes (2 years, $9 million)
  • Kyle Palmieri RW Islanders (reported)
  • Nick Foligno LW Bruins (2 years, $7.6 million)
  • Brandon Saad LW Blues (5 years, $22.5 million)
  • Corey Perry RW Lightning (2 years, $2 million)
  • Jaroslav Halak G Canucks (1 year, $1.5 million)
  • Keith Yandle* D Flyers (1 year, $900,000)
  • Mike Hoffman C Canadiens (3 years, $13.5 million)
  • Mike Reilly D Bruins (3 years, $9 million)
  • Mikael Granlund C Predators (4 years, $20 million)
  • Braden Holtby* G Stars (1 year, $2 million)
  • Erik Haula LW Bruins (2 years, $4.75 million)
  • Zach Parise* LW Islanders (reported)
  • Nick Bonino C Sharks (2 years, $4.1 million)
  • Jaden Schwartz LW Kraken (5 years, $27.5 million)
  • Linus Ullmark G Bruins (4 years, $20 million)
  • Antti Raanta G Hurricanes (2 years, $4 million)
  • Ryan Suter* D Stars (4 years, $14.6 million)
  • Derek Ryan C Oilers (2 years, $2.5 million)
  • Alex Edler D Kings (1 year, $3.5 million)
  • Michael Bunting LW Maple Leafs (2 years, $1.9 million)
  • Jujhar Khaira LW Blackhawks (2 years, $1.95 million)
  • Travis Hamonic D Canucks (2 years, $6 million)
  • Alex Goligoski D Wild (1 year, $5 million)
  • Alexander Wennberg C Kraken (3 years, $13.5 million)
  • Derek Forbort D Bruins (3 years, $9 million)
  • Jonathan Bernier G Devils (2 years, $8.25 million)

Chicago Blackhawks scandal

In Rick Westhead’s recent reporting, a recognizable name has now made additional waves in the ongoing investigation into the alleged coverup of a sexual assault within the Chicago Blackhawks organization.

Former Chicago Blackhawks player Nick Boynton joined a Zoom call with lawyers hired by the franchise to share his memories of abuse allegations that first surfaced during the team’s 2010 playoff run.

Boynton told four attorneys that he remembered how a former Blackhawks forward had first told him during the 2010 NHL playoffs that two of their teammates had been sexually assaulted by Brad Aldrich, who was then Chicago’s video coach.

Boynton told investigators that, at the request of those teammates, he approached skills coach Paul Vincent, hoping that the retired police officer would convince the club’s management to fire Aldrich and report the allegations to police. Boynton also said in his Zoom interview that many of Chicago’s top stars knew about the abuse, based on their conversations in the locker room.

“They asked me who knew and I gave them names, basically everybody on the team,” Boynton told TSN in an interview on Wednesday. “I said everybody f---ing knew about it. I said you can talk to the coaches. …I said talk to Torch [former assistant coach John Torchetti]. I called out , and said talk to and talk to Kaner []. …The training staff knew. I’m sick of this wall of silence.”

One lawsuit, filed by a former Blackhawks player referred to as John Doe 1, alleges the team’s management covered up the sexual abuse of two players at the hands of Aldrich. A second lawsuit alleges that, after he was quietly fired in the summer of 2010, Aldrich was still given a positive job reference that allowed him to find other victims, including a teenaged hockey player in Michigan whom Aldrich was convicted of sexually assaulting in 2013.

None of the allegations against the Blackhawks have been proven in court. For more on this story, please continue Rick Westhead’s story over on TSN.

Jack Eichel’s power move

With no trade happening before Eichel’s self-imposed deadline on the Sabres, the Buffalo captain’s agents took to Twitter to make their disappointment with the Sabres public.

Edmonton Oilers updates

The Oilers were BUSY on the first day of free agency, first re-signing RD Tyson Barrie to a 3 years/$4.5 AAV deal before signing LW Zach Hyman (7 years/$5.5 AAV), RD Cody Ceci (4 years/$3.25 AAV) and C Derek Ryan (2 years/$1.25 AAV). With Barrie back in the fold and the signing of Cody Ceci, Edmonton also dealt fan-favourite Ethan Bear to Carolina in exchange for RFA LW Warren Foegele. Shortly after, he was also re-signed to a 3 years/$2.75 AAV contract.

The Oil were also in on G Darcy Kuemper and D Ryan Murray, but unfortunately lost out on both to the Colorado Avalanche. After missing on those players, the Oilers are essentially done now – here’s what the current lineup is looking like going into next season.

Hyman-McDavid-Puljujarvi
RNH-Draisaitl-Yamamoto
Foegele-McLeod-Kassian
Shore-Ryan-Archibald
Benson-Turris

Nurse-Barrie
Keith-Ceci
Russell-Bouchard
Lagesson

Smith
Koskinen

While the forward group has improved, the defence is shaping up to be one of the worst in the NHL. It’s going to be a wild ride. Of all defensemen who played a minimum of 600 minutes last season, the Oilers will have three defensemen who ranked in the bottom 11 of xGA/60:

  • 1st of 156 Duncan Keith xGA/60: 2.93
  • 8th of 156 Tyson Barrie xGA/60: 2.67
  • 11th of 156 Darnell Nurse xGA/60: 2.57

Data via @NatStatTrick

I think the Oilers need to be working the phones this offeason with two main goals in mind – 1) Flip Koskinen out for another goalie who can better handle half a season’s worth of games 2) Put next year’s first round pick in play for a Top 4 defenseman. If they can improve those position groups effectively (which I greatly worry about), then perhaps this is a team that can compete.

Links:

Rating the Oilers’ offseason – The Athletic

Ideal defence pairings – The Athletic

How prospect defensemen may be thrust into action – The Athletic

Korpisalo talk – Oilers Nation

Anyways! Until next week, folks.