The Edmonton Oilers had made this a top priority for the summer, and it looks like general manager Peter Chiarelli has managed to complete it ahead of time. According to TSN’s Ryan Rishaug, the Oilers may have added another defenseman to their blue liner in the form of Joel Persson, who most recently played for the Vaxjo Lakers of the SHL. In 51 games played with Vaxjo last season, Persson put up six goals and 28 assists for 34 points.
The 24-year-old right-handed Swedish defender put up decent numbers in the past season with the Lakers, and has a reputation of being an impressive power play specialist. Here is what the Elite Prospects webpage has to say on the blue liner:
"Persson is an offensive defenseman with a great shot from the point. With high-end puck skills and vision, he excels on the power play. Not a speedster, but owns decent mobility and can walk the blueline very well. On the downside, he is smallish and not much of a force in his own end."
NHL insider Elliotte Friedman had written about Persson in a January 31 Thoughts column on Sportsnet, pointing the Swede out as a defenseman of interest. Friedman listed Persson as one of a few defenceman playing in the SHL that NHL teams had been paying attention to, but at that time, Friedman had not mentioned the Oilers as a potential destination for Persson.
It looks like the tables have turned.
"Persson is a purely offensive defenseman who is playing a bit of a sheltered role – he’s playing just 16:42 per game which is fifth highest among defensemen on his team, with 2:46 of that on the power play, and he isn’t used on the penalty kill at all. Persson was playing third tier hockey in Sweden last season, so what he’s doing now is impressive but it’s unlikely he can make another jump to the NHL unless someone needs a power play specialist," Dobber Prospects spoke about Persson back in February as a free agent of interest heading into the summer.
Now that has to be exciting for the Edmonton fan base, as GM Chiarelli could have completed one of the important missions on the summer for the Oilers. He can now focused on the second most important order of business: adding a winger to boost the offense up front alongside Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
Photo Credit: Zuma Press