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Edmonton Oilers' GM Holland discusses Larsson, Smith, Hyman, buyouts, RFAs and the Draft – Edmonton Journal

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Edmonton Oilers General Manager Ken Holland held an on-line media avail on Thursday morning, answering and/or evading a number of questions posed about the current state of his Edmonton Oilers.

The highlights:

“We’ve got a two-year deal with Mike Smith” with details to be announced later today. A few sources have already beaten him to that punch, citing a cap hit of $2.2 million per year, no bonuses.

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“No trades in the books. Potential buyouts, probably we’ll do one.” No specification as to whether it would by James Neal or Mikko Koskinen.

On the departure of Adam Larsson: “I thought we were really close. I made four or five different offers in June and July. I added a year and ultimately a week ago I went to Barry and gave them green light to explore options. Yesterday morning I found out Adam signed in Seattle.” Holland didn’t address that part of the question as to reasons Larsson may have reached that decision.

On a possible replacement for Larsson: “Obviously, Adam was an important part of our team on and off the ice. Important players are hard to replace if you don’t have them internally. Maybe I’ll have an answer for you a week from now. We have to find a defenceman.” He would consider a trade as well as the open market. But he also confirmed the Oilers will not be “big game hunting”, meaning that dreamers like myself can forget about Dougie Hamilton.

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On internal possibilities: “Tyson Barrie is an unrestricted free agent. He and Larsson played about 40 minute a night. Barrie is UFA, Dmitry Kulikov is UFA, Larsson’s gone to Seattle. Our expectation are that Evan Bouchard is going to be an every day player. Between now and training camp we need to make some additions.” [Note: Darren Dreger reports the Oilers are offering 3 years, Barrie prefers 4.]

On pending free agent Zach Hyman. “Certainly he’s a player we’re very interested in. I think first off Zach Hyman has to make his decision. Would I give term to get a cap number that I like? Certainly that’s something I would consider.”

Oilers likely will not be issuing qualifying offers to forwards Jujhar Khaira and Dominik Kahun. Other depth forwards like UFA’s Tyler Ennis and Patrick Russell will not be renewed.

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“Certainly a 3C would be a priority. I’d love to have a 3C that can chip in 10-15 goals and 30-40 points, can kill penalties… That’s fantasy hockey material, I have a cap… Ultimately, as I whittle my way through, we’ll do the best we can to get a guy that can play 3C.” 

On this weekend’s NHL Draft: “We won’t draft a defenceman, probably. If things go the way the way we think they’re going to go we’ll probably take a forward. The first round pick won’t be in trade for a rental. In a hockey trade? Yes.”

“In the cap world, you need younger players, cheaper players. Filling from within has to be part of the equation, that the young players take a bit of a step.”

Holland went to some length to explain the cap situation re: Oscar Klefbom‘s expected status on Long Term Injured Reserve. He also spoke of needing to keep some cap space available for contracts coming due in 2022, specifically mentioning Darnell Nurse, Ethan Bear and Jesse Puljujarvi. “I see us spending as much as we can in the off-season and trying to leave a cushion.”

When asked how what losing two key defencemen in Klefbom in Larsson in short order did to his long-term plan: “Make a new plan.”

Recently at the Cult of Hockey

STAPLES: $40 million for Zach Hyman may soon be a done deal

STAPLES: 10 consolations for Oilers fans jilted by Adam Larsson to Seattle

McCURDY: Swirling Hyman rumours link him to Oilers

STAPLES: Smith reportedly signs for two more years

STAPLES: Larsson leaves for Kraken a gut punch to the Oilers

McCURDY: Mass speculation on Larsson leaving Edmonton

Follow me on Twitter @BruceMcCurdy

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Tokyo 2020: Canada wins first medal after swimming to silver in women's 4×100 freestyle relay – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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The Canadian Press


Published Saturday, July 24, 2021 10:55PM EDT


Last Updated Saturday, July 24, 2021 10:55PM EDT

TOKYO — Canada has its first medal of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after the women’s 4×100 freestyle relay team raced to silver.

Penny Oleksiak and Kayla Sanchez of Toronto, Margaret Mac Neil of London, Ont., and Rebecca Smith of Red Deer, Alta., finished in a time of three minutes 32.78 seconds as Canada picked up a medal in the event for a second straight Games.

Australia won gold in a world-record time of 3:29.69, while the United States finished third in 3:32.81.

Oleksiak swam the anchor leg and narrowly beat out American Simone Manuel at the wall.

Canada’s women are looking to duplicate the success they had in the pool at the 2016 Rio Games, where they picked up six medals.

Earlier on Sunday, Mac Neil also advanced to Monday morning’s 100-metre butterfly final. The 21-year-old world champion in the event posted the sixth-fastest time in the semifinals.

An hour after qualifying for the butterfly final, Mac Neil drew into the relay lineup for Taylor Ruck who swam the heat for Canada. The women posted the third-fastest time in the preliminaries.

Sanchez led off the final followed by Mac Neil and Smith with Oleksiak bringing the team home.

Oleksiak and Ruck won a pair of freestyle relay bronze medals as 16-year-olds in Rio de Janeiro five years ago.

They teamed with Sandrine Mainville and Chantal Van Landeghem in the 4 x 100 to win Canada’s first medal of the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Oleksiak also swam the anchor leg in Rio.

Canada’s women aim for the podium in all three relays in Tokyo after earning three bronze at the world championship in Gwangju, South Korea two years ago.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 24, 2021.

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The Edmonton Oilers select big German defender Luca Munzenberger at #90 overall – Edmonton Journal

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The Edmonton Oilers trading down on Day #1 of the NHL draft was converted not 24 hours later into Defenceman Luca Munzenbeger.

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Gotta love the name! Munzenberger is an 18-year old out of Dusseldorf, Germany. He has a late (November) 2002 birth date.

He’s a big, left-handed shot at 6’3, 194 LBS.

Munzenberger spent the majority of 2020-21 with Kolner Junghaie of the DNL U20. In 6 games he went 1-2-3 and served as Team Captain. His time in junior versus pro left open the door for him to play in college. Munzenberger also played for Team Germany at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Edmonton (0-0-0 in 5GP). More on that in a minute…

Munzenberger is considered to be an excellent PK man, but possesses a big shot which makes him a threat from the point as well. Scouts say he has a soft set of hands and makes an effective first-pass out of his own zone. Those who have seen him play, namely amateur scout Brock Otten, describe the kid as a “suffocating physical defender” with a mean streak. He’s an above-average skater for his size with a massive stride and a big wingspan. He’s effective at clearing the slot and his reach helps him get to pucks ahead of attackers. In my own viewing of his highlights from the WJC’s, Munzenberger closes quickly and effectively on the opposition along the walls. The foot-speed, reach and size are visibly key tools in his ability to break up the cycle.

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A side note from that tournament that may indicate the quality of his intangibles: Munzenberger was in COVID quarantine at the very beginning ot the WJ’s, but emerged from that status prior to Christmas and rebounded with a strong performance. That would seem to speak to the kid’s resilience. The young man in a foreign country responded to a stressful situation and considerable uncertainty extremely well.

Draft analyst Steve Kournianos says of him: “A big bodied vacuum cleaner on defence… He has ideal size but the mobility and agility to cover faster players… He plays a mean, physical brand of hockey and can be considered a throwback… He has soft hands and delivers clean passes to any area in the offensive zone, but what makes Munzenberger dangerous is his lethal shot — he owns a bomb of a shot, not only for its velocity but for the sheer power he generates with little backswing. His wrister is just as nasty.”

It is fair to consider this pick as somewhat “off the board”. Elite Prospects had him at #214. No other service had him listed at all. One wonders if fellow countryman Leon Draisaitl had and offered any insight on the player to the Oilers draft team? He and his father surely know of every sharp prospect in that nation.

Munzenberger is committed to NCAA University of Vermont in 2022-23 which offers another interesting tidbit. Todd Woodcroft is the coach of that program, the brother of Bakersfield Condors bench boss Jay Woodcroft.  So, there may well be some added insight from that connection.

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Montreal Canadiens select Joe Vrbetic with 214th pick – Habs Eyes on the Prize

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After a very long day, the Montreal Canadiens final picks are finally upon us, with 214th overall being up first. The Habs acquired this pick after trading out of an earlier round, and with this pick the team selected Joe Vrbetic from OHL’s North Bay Battalion.

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Unfortunately like many other prospects in the OHL, Vrbetic was not able to play this year due to the Covid pandemic. In his last full season he posted a 4.23 goals against, an .881 save percentage along with a 14-25-1 record on a dreadful North Bay team that won just 17 out of 62 games.

The Habs have the penultimate pick in the draft at 223rd overall this year coming up.

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