Two years ago, the Edmonton Oilers allowed rugged winger Anton Slepyshev to return to Russia rather than bring him back. The 6-foot-2, 221-pound forward played three seasons for the Oilers, but struggled with injuries and inconsistency throughout that time. The team was eager to move him at the trade deadline in 2018, but was unable to do so. Instead, they let the 25-year-old (23 at the time) to sign a two-year pact with CSKA Moscow in the KHL and made sure to give him a qualifying offer in order to retain his rights.
Fast forward two years and Slepyshev is coming off a breakout year in the KHL with 18 goals and 45 points in 54 games. Now, with his rights still owned by the Oilers, the Edmonton Journal’s Bruce McCurdy writes that sources suggest there is a greater than 50 percent chance that the Oilers will bring back Slepyshev for next season in hopes of finding a better fit with the franchise.
While there was a point where Edmonton had lost interest in the forward, much has changed, according to McCurdy, who notes that management and the coaching staff have both changed. Throw in the fact that Slepyshev has taken that next step and become a key scorer for CSKA Moscow (he has scored in 23 of his last 24 KHL games), the Oilers might also be able to offer more to Slepyshev than the usual fourth-line role that he held for his first three seasons in the league. With the team constantly looking for top-six wingers, this could be a convenient addition.
The forward spent most of his time on the checking line, playing next to players like Drake Caggiula, Milan Lucic and Mark Letestu in his time. In 102 games, Slepyshev scored 10 goals and 23 points. The Oilers have Slepyshev’s rights until he turns 27 years old, which will be on May 25, 2021.