The Edmonton Oilers have some interesting moves to make this offseason as they (once again) look to rebuild a roster that wasn’t good enough to get it done in the playoffs. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have shown they can only carry the group so far in the postseason, meaning the rest need to be more competitive.
One bright spot from this season was the emergence of Klim Kostin, a 2017 first-round pick of the St. Louis Blues who had struggled to make an impact at the NHL level. In Edmonton, he scored 11 goals and 21 points in 57 games, while racking up 157 hits and 66 penalty minutes. That kind of well-rounded depth player is valuable for a club like the Oilers, especially given that he is just 24 years old.
Unfortunately for general manager Ken Holland, Kostin is also eligible for arbitration, a process that could result in a much higher contract than the $750K he played under this year. With every dollar meaning so much to Edmonton, getting to a hearing might not be ideal.
Daniel Nugent-Bowman of The Athletic suggests that a two-year bridge contract with a cap hit no higher than $1.5MM could be an ideal compromise but also throws some chum in the water for frustrated Oilers fans. The scribe writes there “could be some interest in the 24-year-old winger from KHL teams.”
Given that Holland has already confirmed he will qualify Kostin, the Oilers won’t lose his rights either way. But watching him head to Russia after a breakout season (however limited) would be disappointing. Even if he played ten minutes a night, he made an impact for Edmonton—something not many role players have done over the last few years.