As expected, the Edmonton Oilers have added to their defensive group. After officially announcing that Oscar Klefbom is done for the 2020-21 season last week, the Oilers opened a late Christmas gift on Saturday with the signing of defenseman Slater Koekkoek. The contract is a one-year deal that carries a cap hit of $850,000.
Koekkoek played in 42 regular season games with the Chicago Blackhawks a season ago, scoring 10 points (1 g, 9 a) and averaging 16:45 of ice time per game. In addition, Koekkoek posted a 52.4% Corsi For while starting 46.7% of his shifts in the offensive zone. Koekkoek also played in nine playoff games for the Blackhawks, scoring three points (1 g, 2 a).
A strong third-pairing defenseman, Koekkoek posted outstanding possession numbers on a Blackhawks team that struggled defensively during the course of the 2019-20 season. His 52.4% Corsi For was 4.1 relative to his teammates, while his 52.4% Fenwick For was 4.5 relative to his teammates.
A Chicago team that bled goals against, shots against and chances against actually did well when Koekkoek was on the ice a season ago. For those that value the eye test, I thought he was one of the Blackhawks most effective players during the ‘Play-in’ series against the Oilers in August.
Here is a look at Koekkoek’s scouting report via The Sports Forecaster.
|Has awesome skating ability, which truly sets him apart from the others on the ice. Has plenty of puck-moving skills, the ability to quarterback a power play at lower levels and projectable size (6-2). Will need to clean up his defensive-zone coverage and improve his overall play when he doesn’t have the puck in order to maximize output in the NHL. Must also add more bulk to help avoid injuries.|
Koekkoek joins a left-side depth chart that includes Darnell Nurse, Caleb Jones, Kris Russell and William Lagesson. Koekkoek, a consistent third-pairing option throughout his career, will likely compete with Russell and Lagesson for the third-pairing job alongside either Tyson Barrie or Adam Larsson.
The Edmonton Oilers open training camp on January 3rd, and kick off the 2020-21 season on January 13th against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Place in Edmonton.