This morning, Darren Dreger did a radio hit on TSN 690 in Montreal to talk all things hockey, and part of his appearance touched on what the hell is happening here in Edmonton. With the season going off the rails, the masses are looking for answers and Dreger spoke a little bit about what he thinks the Oilers are going to do moving forward. A name he touched on specifically, was Coyotes’ d-man Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
As we’ve discussed many times this season, the Oilers had lofty expectations placed upon them before the season started and the way things played out could not have been more opposite to what we wanted. Some people, including our own Robin Brownlee, had the Oilers as Cup contenders this year so for them to be in lottery contention (again) is obviously disappointing.
“I thought that they were poised to make a huge step forward. I thought they’d contend for the Western Conference title. So things went completely sideways pretty much out of the gate.”
Me too, Dregs. I think we can all agree with that. Know what I mean?
“There were some injury factors, poor goaltending obviously, they just didn’t seem to have the same type of pizazz or speed aside from Connor McDavid up front. So there are a lot of factors that have contributed to a woeful season.”
Death by 1000 cuts is the quote Chiarelli used for that, I believe. Though many of those cuts may have been self-inflicted, but that’s a story for another day. At the end of the day, a lot of things went wrong this year that went right last year and those deficiencies (PK, PP, goaltending, downgraded skill) dragged the team down like an anchor.
“Such a list of things that Peter Chiarelli needs to address. And I touched on a couple of them. Yeah, they need a mobile puck-moving defenseman. No question about that.”
My friend, the Oilers have a hell of a list that needs to get done and not a lot of cap space to make it all happen. It will be interesting to see how things shake out for the rest of the season and also how much of that to-do list actually gets checked off as we progress into the summer. Needless to say, upgrading the wings and defence won’t be easy.
“The Oliver Ekman-Larsson rumours, speculation, all of that are going to become more of a storyline, I would think.”
OEL, huh? Go on. Do you think there’s a chance?
“Not going into the playoffs, because Arizona isn’t headed there, but coming out of the Stanley Cup and preparing for the draft. What’s (OEL) going to do? Is he going to deliver the message to the Coyotes that it’s unlikely he’s going to sign?”
Wait, why wouldn’t Ekman-Larsson want to sign with a team that has only given him 16 playoff games in his eight-year career? I don’t get it. *looks at Edmonton’s playoff record over that same period* Ah hell.
“All very speculative, but I think that’s what Edmonton is hoping for. So as much as Vegas and maybe Tampa Bay were in on Erik Karlsson, I look at the Oilers kind of targeting OEL if there’s even potential opportunity to do that.”
I can definitely understand why the Oilers would go fishing for OEL but there are a lot of layers to this story. There’s his contract status, the cost to acquire, and how it will affect the depth chart. Which lefty gets moved to make it work?
“If they can land that piece, and I’m not sure how they do it, but if they could, that’d be a huge step in the right direction.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you don’t get OEL if you can swing it but this isn’t a simple transaction either. As we’ve seen over the past couple years, the Oilers haven’t exactly fared well with these big swing deals and the idea of doing another is enough to keep me up at night.
To me, this almost feels like another one of those bits of speculation that almost seem too good to be true. Remember last summer when the Oilers were basically linked to every single defenceman under the sun and nothing ever came of it? This feels a lot like watching that same movie over again. Regardless, Oliver Ekman-Larsson is exactly the kind of puck moving defenceman that the Oilers would love to have, but there are still some wrinkles here.
Ekman-Larsson only has a year left on his contract after this season so the Oilers would have to be to talk to him about his willingness to re-sign with the team or make sure that what’s offered for him wouldn’t be crazy. My point is, you can’t be selling the farm for a guy that will end up bouncing after a single season. That said, this is also the kind of guy that would make a huge difference. He has the ability to skate the puck out of the zone or make a clean pass, he has a history of producing points at a higher rate than any of the current d-men the Oilers have, and would certainly upgrade the offence from the backend.
For the Oilers, bringing in a guy like Ekman-Larsson would scratch an itch that’s been lingering for years. Will it happen? It’s possible, but I won’t be holding my breath. Over the years, I’ve found that getting excited about Oilers rumours is akin to taking dick pills off the Internet and hoping for inches being added to your schmeckle. Sure it’s possible, but it still seems unlikely. We wait.
OEL’S SEASON SO FAR
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