The Edmonton Oilers are closing in on a new contract for veteran forward Zack Kassian. That was reported by Sportsnet’s Mark Spector on Saturday during the Oilers 7-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes.
According to Elliotte Friedman in this week’s edition of ’31 Thoughts’, the Oilers might not stop there when it comes to contract extensions. The insider reports that the Oilers are also exploring extension options with Joakim Nygard, Riley Sheahan and Josh Archibald.
Nygard was Holland’s first free agent addition, signing him out of the SHL last May. Archibald followed in mid-July, while Sheahan was inked in September just days before main camp opened up.
All three had slow starts to their Oilers careers, but all three have played key roles in depth positions in recent weeks. Both Sheahan and Archibald have settled in nicely as fourth line options and key penalty killers. Archibald has also displayed the ability to play up in the lineup when called upon.
Here’s what Friedman reported on Wednesday in his weekly column.
6. As Mark Spector reported last week, Edmonton is trying to close an extension with Zack Kassian. There’s common ground, but nothing is done until it is done. The Oilers will also investigate the possibility of extending Josh Archibald, Joakim Nygard and Riley Sheahan. These aren’t huge deals, but they’ve played roles in stabilizing their bottom six, which was caved-in last season. There are a few teams who like Archibald. I didn’t realize his father, Jim, played with Dave Tippett at NCAA North Dakota and was involved in a HUGE brawl with Wisconsin in January 1982.
The entire article, as always, is worth your time. Friedman goes into great detail about McDavid’s injury and recovery. I’d recommend every Oilers fan read that.
It’s interesting that Holland is already looking at extensions with three of his bottom six forwards. The bottom six hasn’t been great this season, but they have been a clear improvement over the past few years. With a little pop offensively this month, this group is a big reason why the Oilers are in a good spot in the standings.
Nygard has a solid shot and brings speed and tenacity to the table. In my opinion, the Swedish forward has gotten better as the season has gone on. He’s a decent depth scorer, plays a hard game, and is better defensively than I expected.
Both Sheahan and Archibald are extremely strong on the penalty kill. Sheahan has been a lot better five-on-five since the start of December, while Archibald has flashed the depth scoring that made him an appealing signing in July.
Sheahan is an ideal fourth line center. He’s a veteran, can kill penalties, is strong on the dot and isn’t getting caved at five-on-five now that he is used to the system and his teammates. Archibald, meanwhile, can be seen as a high-level fourth line winger.
All three players are one-year contracts right now and are now making less than $1,000,000 each. If the Oilers can keep even two of them on value deals, they should explore those possibilities immediately.
It seems like GM Ken Holland agrees. There’s no reason to let cheap players who fill a role walk out the door. If cheap, short term deals are in the future for these three, the Oilers need to make it happen. I suspect they will.
Don’t be surprised if one of these three is signed to an extension shortly after Kassian inks his new deal.