Report: Oilers linked to two free agent defencemen

More tinkering from GM Ken Holland?


According to a report from Edmonton Oilers insider Kurt Leavins of The Edmonton Journal, the team is expected to add at least one more veteran defenceman. In particular, Leavins points to free agents Slater Koekkoek and Jordie Benn as likely options.

From Leavin's most recent column for The Edmonton Journal:

5. Expect the Oilers will add at least 1 more veteran depth D-man between now and training camp. They’re probably looking to spend Trevor van Riemsdyk money ($950k). Two primary names to keep an eye on are Slater Koekkoek and Jordie Benn. We should assume the Oilers and agent Rich Winter have already chatted about returning the 27-year old Koekkoek. He made $850k last year. 34-year old Jordie Benn could also be an option. Might his agent J.P. Barry be interested in doing the Oilers a favor after one of his other clients, Adam Larsson, suddenly departed Edmonton in the off-season? Benn made $2m last year. More on the Defence coming up…

For what it's worth, the 27 year old Koekkoek put up just one goal and two penalty minutes in 18 games for the Oilers last season. He also played in all four of the team's opening round playoff series in which the team was swept by the Winnipeg Jets. He's a former 1st round pick (10th overall, 2012) but has struggled to make a real impact at the NHL level with the Oilers, Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning. Still, on a reasonable contract and with limited minutes, he can be a contributor for any NHL team.

As for Benn, the 34 year old Victoria, BC native was on the opposite end of the same Oilers/Jets series that Koekkoek played in after being acquired by the Jets from the Vancouver Canucks at the trade deadline. Benn put up one goal and 10 points in 39 games split between the Canucks and the Jets last season. He's a prototypical, stay at home, no nonsense kind of defenceman. He'll never wow you with an end to end rush and he'll never be the point man on the powerplay, but he can clear the front of the net and he does good work along the boards.