The Edmonton Oilers extended Qualifying Offers to RFA defensemen Ethan Bear and William Lagesson on Wednesday afternoon. The Oilers had until 5:00 pm est on Wednesday to extend the offers. This keeps Bear and Lagesson under team control when free agency opens on Friday afternoon.
Bear played in 71 games for the Oilers in 2019-20, emerging as a top-four defenseman when Adam Larsson suffered an injury on opening night. Bear averaged 21:58 per game while mostly playing on the top pairing with Darnell Nurse. Bear scored 21 points (5 g, 16 a) and finished -4.
Lagesson, meanwhile, played in eight games with the Oilers in 2019-20, failing to record a point. Lagesson appeared in 25 AHL games with the Bakersfield Condors, scoring ten points (3 g, 7 a) while playing a featured role.
Neither player is expected to break the bank on their next contract. Bear does not have arbitration rights, and is likely to sign a one or two year bridge deal worth no more than $1,500,000 per season. Lagesson, meanwhile, is also looking at a bridge deal. His AAV is almost certainly going to come in below $1,000,000.
The expectation is that Bear will once again play a top-four role on the Oilers defense in 2020-21, likely as the team’s top right shot defenseman. Lagesson, meanwhile, could fight for third pairing minutes with Caleb Jones and Kris Russell. Lagesson is waiver eligible, and could serve as the seventh defenseman for the club on opening night.
Off To Free Agency:
The Oilers did not qualify a number of players. That includes NHL’ers F Andreas Athanasiou and D Matt Benning. GM Ken Holland confirmed those decisions on Tuesday night.
In addition, F’s Cameron Hebig, Ryan Kuffner and Nolan Vesey did not receive Qualifying Offers. D’s Logan Day and Ryan Mantha, along with goalie Angus Redmond, will also become unrestricted free agents on Friday.
Kuffner, who was acquired with Athanasiou at the trade deadline, could return to the Oilers on an AHL contract. Mantha, unfortunately, is not expected to play professional hockey again.
The Oilers have 35 players under contract on their 50-man list. They will hit 37 when both Bear and Lagesson eventually sign contracts.