The Edmonton Oilers may have found another skilled defenseman to add to the blue line, as Ryan Rishaug of TSN tweets that the team has “locked up” Joel Persson. Persson played this season for Vaxjo of the SHL, where he recorded 34 points in 51 games during his first year at the highest level in Sweden. He was a big part of getting that club to a SHL Championship, while also leading all defensemen in Champions League scoring.
Persson, 24, was quite a surprise for Vaxjo this season and continued to improve on a near-daily basis. The young defenseman will immediately inject some more puck-moving skill into the Edmonton system, though it’s not clear if he’ll make the NHL team out of camp. Even more importantly perhaps for the Oilers is that the 5’11” defender is right-handed, giving them another option behind Adam Larsson and Matt Benning. Though others including Kris Russell have played the right side, there was a distinct lack of depth throughout the organization.
At Persson’s age, a one-year entry-level contract would be necessary which would send him to restricted free agency in 2019. That’s very little risk for a player who has taken such huge strides this season, and could continue to get even better in a short period of time.