The Edmonton Oilers added a quality AHL scorer in Justin Bailey to their organization, bringing him in on a PTO and an AHL deal. That doesn’t mean they’re done adding, though, and The Athletic’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman reports via a team source that the Oilers are considering adding a forward on a league-minimum deal, similar to the contract Ryan Murray recently signed. (subscription link) Per Nugent-Bowman, the Oilers are discussing three players: Zach Aston-Reese, Riley Nash, and Jake Virtanen.
Aston-Reese, 28, is likely the name Oilers fans would most want to see on their roster out of that group of three. Aston-Reese, whose free agency our John Gilroy profiled last month, is a capable defensive winger and someone who could chip in as a safe, reliable bottom-six option. Nash, 33, represents the most experienced option, as he has over 600 NHL games under his belt. Nash split time between the Syracuse Crunch, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Arizona Coyotes last season, and managed to get into eight playoff games on the Lightning’s run to the Stanley Cup Final. The recent not guilty verdict in Virtanen’s sexual assault trial could be the reason why Virtanen’s name is coming up again for NHL opportunities after a year in the KHL. Virtanen, a former top prospect who scored 18 goals in 2019-20, is the player of the three who would likely present the most on-ice upside to the Oilers but also come with his fair share of baggage and controversy.
Now, for some other news from across the Western Conference:
- The Oilers still have restricted free agent Ryan McLeod left to sign, and Nugent-Bowman reports that the deal should come around a $975K cap hit. That’s a relatively small cost, but since the Oilers have little cap space to work with the deal hasn’t been completed yet. Per Nugent-Bowman, the “inability to make a trade” involving one of the Oilers’ higher-priced players such as Tyson Barrie, Jesse Puljujarvi, or Warren Foegele has held up the progress on finalizing McLeod’s deal.
- We recently covered how the San Jose Sharks would be hosting a tournament for prospects from six NHL teams. Today, each of those six teams (the Sharks, Kings, Ducks, Coyotes, Avalanche, and Golden Knights) announced their rosters for the camp. There are quite a few notable names to look forward to at that tournament, including first-round picks Quinton Byfield, Mason McTavish, William Eklund, Conor Geekie, Oskar Olausson, and Brendan Brisson, among others.