The Oilers have signed defenseman Slater Koekkoek.

Details inside.


I must say it is rather unusual to see a player in the National Hockey League sign a brand new contract the day after Christmas, but in these strange times created by the ongoing pandemic that is exactly what we got on Saturday.

Although there has been no official announcement on the part of the Edmonton Oilers organization, NHL insider Darren Dreger is reporting that the Oilers have in fact signed veteran defenseman Slater Koekkoek to a new deal. Dreger reports that the deal is a 1 year contract, although he has not shared any of the financial details surrounding this deal.

Update: We still don't know the full details of this new deal for Koekkoek, however Oilers insider Ryan Rishaug reports that this deal will be under $1 million, a big deal for an Oilers franchise that has relatively little salary cap space to work with.

Koekkoek is a 26 year old Canadian defenseman who was originally drafted 10th overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Although he spent several seasons with that organization he was never able to secure a regular spot on the main roster and this eventually led to him being dealt to the Chicago Blackhawks. Koekkoek spent two seasons with that organization, playing just under half of his 149 career games in their organization over that stretch, but again failed to establish himself on the main roster and as a result hit in the open market this offseason when the Blackhawks elected not to extend the restricted free agent a qualifying offer and effectively relinquished his rights in the process. 

Although the Oilers in theory have very little cap room to work with, the season ending injury to defenseman Oscar Klefbom, one that will see him placed on long term injury reserve for the duration of the 2021 NHL season, will free up some space for general manager Ken Holland and the Oilers. I suspect that the decision to sign Koekkoek was in response to the injury to Klefbom announced earlier in the week, however fans in Edmonton will be far from satisfied if this is the best the Oilers can do to shore up their blueline with Klefbom out. 

That being said this late into the offseason the Oilers may not have a great deal of options available.