The Edmonton Oilers have rewarded a young defenseman after a strong camp, even though he’s headed back to junior hockey. The team has announced a three-year, entry-level contract for Max Wanner who was sent back to the Moose Jaw Warriors earlier this week.
Wanner, 19, was one of the last few picks of the 2021 draft, selected 212th overall. He made his preseason debut on Monday, and now goes back to the WHL with an NHL contract in hand. Standing 6’3″, Wanner has a blend of size and skating ability that should make him a dominant presence for the Warriors this year, even if he does still have some work to do before making an impact at the professional level.
Because of his age, Wanner’s contract will slide forward this year, meaning it extends through 2025-26. He won’t be eligible to play in the AHL until his season is over but can join the Bakersfield Condors in 2023-24. Not every seventh-round pick earns a contract, meaning the young defenseman is already ahead of projections. If he can continue to develop, perhaps the Oilers have found a bit of value at the end of the draft.