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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Oilers stand pat on deadline day, team sets groundwork for future deals

On a day where the Edmonton Oilers could’ve moved assets like Zack Kassian, Alex Chiasson, Alex Petrovic and Matt Benning, just to name a few, the team opted to instead stand pat.

Interim GM Keith Gretzky made it clear during his post-deadline press conference that the team did, however, set groundwork for moves down the road.

“There was conversation on a few things that would have helped us,” Gretzky told reporters an hour after the NHL’s trade deadline passed.

“If it didn’t happen today, maybe it’s down the road in the summer time. We laid some groundwork for the salary cap and hopefully we can re-visit it later.”

It’s a clear insinuation that there is much work to be done to this organization — we all know that given the contracts held by Milan Lucic and Kris Russell. Lucic, due $6-million for another four years and Russell, due $4-million for another two, are making much more money than their production is giving.

Both deals won’t be easy to make not only because of the contracts, but the fact that both players carry modified no-trade clauses.

Ottawa, for example, is a team that will struggle to even reach the salary floor. Could there be a chance to convince Russell and or Lucic to waive their clauses to head there?

The Blue Jackets are another team that could be in need of some help reaching the floor next season. They will have big ticket UFA’s in the form of Artemi Panarin, Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel and Sergei Bobrovsky as they enter an offseason with nearly $50-million in cap space.

As a GM of a team on the outside looking in of a playoff berth, Gretzky said he didn’t want to trade players just to say they made a move on deadline day.

“We think that with the players we have, we can still win some games here,” he said.

“We’ve played well lately.. we’re still in the hunt. I talked to a couple players and told them ‘I’m not going to move you just to make a move.'”

He discussed options like Chiasson and Kassian with teams, however, Gretzky said they couldn’t find a deal that worked adding he wasn’t ready to trade players away for futures. Instead, he wanted to hold onto players like the aforementioned two for a playoff push.

Gretzky made it sounds as if the desire was to attain assets that would not only help Edmonton today in their playoff hunt, but also assets that would help them in the near future.

Now sitting eight points out of the final wild card spot heading into Monday’s games, the Oilers will need many hot hands should the team want to make the playoffs.

Follow me on Twitter: @zjlaing