The Edmonton Oilers have dipped their toes into the European free agent market. The team announced that they have signed 24-year-old defenceman Joel Persson. In an intriguing part of the announcement, the Oilers also announced that Persson will be loaned back to his SHL club, the Vaxjo Lakers, for next season. While it might seem strange to sign a free agent to a one-year deal, and then allow him to play that entire season with a European club, Persson’s rights will remain with the Oilers following the completion of the contract. He will be a restricted free agent next summer.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) May 18, 2018
Persson will be RFA at the end of the season so Oilers will still control his rights. Signing bonus is only cost if he stays in Sweden. More time to develop in a league he had success in
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) May 18, 2018
Joel Persson Signs with the Edmonton Oilers
Persson is a right-handed shooting defenceman listed at 5-foot-11 and 187 pounds. He is known for his offensive skill, and helped Vaxjo to the 2018 SHL Championship. It was his first season in the SHL, previously playing in Division 1 (the third level of Swedish hockey behind the SHL and Allvenskan). Persson scored six goals and 28 assists for 34 points in 51 games with Vaxjo. He also added a goal and four assists for five points in 13 SHL playoff games.
“We are excited to have Joel join our organization”, Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli said in a press conference. “He has progressed rapidly in the last year and has shown a very good offensive side to his game which is compatible with some of our needs. The plan is for Joel to remain with his club team next year. We have the right of recall but want to see him develop his game thoroughly in what will be his second year in the Swedish Elite League.”