Oilers News and Rumors: Archibald, Athanasiou, Klefbom, More
In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, Josh Archibald has signed an extension with the team, Andreas Athanasiou appears to be finding his rhythm and Oscar Klefbom is slated to come back right away.
Archibald Signs for Two More Seasons
The Edmonton Oilers have extended the contract of forward Josh Archibald on Friday. The deal, according to TSN’s Ryan Rishaug, is worth $1.5 million per season over the next two seasons. The Oilers then confirmed the news Friday afternoon.
The immediate response by fans and media is that the Oilers did well here with this deal. Oilers Now host and color analyst for the team Bob Stauffer called Archibald a “glue guy” and said, “Archibald has already matched his career high with 12 goals. Has been an elite PK’er for an Oilers squad who is 2nd in the NHL. Brings speed, engages physically (150 + hits) and can move up and down the line-up.”
It took Archibald a few games at the start of the season to find his rhythm in Edmonton but once he did, he’s been a fantastic depth player for the team over the second-half of the campaign. He filled in nicely when players went down to injury and Zack Kassian was suspended. He even gets some time alongside Connor McDavid.
Archibald, 27, has appeared in 59 games with the Oilers this season, posting 20 points (12G, 8A). He leads all Oilers forwards in hits with 160.
Related: The NHL 500-Goal Club
Athanasiou Finding His Game
After a good first game, newly acquired Andreas Athanasiou hit a bit of a road bump. He was injured in the third period a game (didn’t require he miss any games) but also hasn’t found a groove on a line with anyone. He’s taken a bit of heat since it cost the Oilers two second-round picks to land him at the NHL Trade Deadline but, there’s a good reason not to be worried if you’re an Oilers fan.
Athanasiou came over from a messy situation in Detroit, a team where he was expected to be a puck carrier and driver a lot of the time. In Edmonton, there are other players designated to take on that role. So, AA (as they call him) had to essentially abandon his game, learn a new system and create chemistry with a whole new set of teammates in a matter of days. That’s not easy to do.
On Thursday, there were signs of him figuring things out. He had one of his better games, was really moving his feet and head coach Dave Tippett said he is starting to see the player get a bit more comfortable.
This is nothing but good news for the Oilers who are finally starting to look like a deep team. Athanasiou hit the post on a great shot against the Blackhawks and his speed was on display. It should only be a matter of time before he starts putting numbers up.
Klefbom Expected Back Saturday
The Oilers sat defenseman Oscar Klefbom for one more game Thursday. He wasn’t quite ready and the Oilers felt they could afford a couple of extra days recuperation time for their top d-man.
Speculation is that he’ll slot back in on Saturday versus the Columbus Blue Jackets. If so, this will give the Oilers their most potent and flexible lineup of the season. In fact, it will require a player who has been playing well will likely sit.
Whether that player is Matt Benning or Caleb Jones is unclear but it will likely be one of those two.
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