Holland doubles down on desire for Oilers to be a playoff team

Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland was on Sportsnet Toronto’s Fan590 Monday morning where he doubled down on his desire for the Oilers to be a playoff team.

Holland said that the window for the Oilers is now to be a playoff team with the likes of core players Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Darnell Nurse and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

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“When you got Connor McDavid, you got Leon Draisaitl, and other players (like Darnell) Nurse and (Ryan) Nugent-Hopkins, I believe the window to try to be in the playoffs is now,” Holland told the hosts of the show. “We’re in the race.

“I think at my press conference I said my goal on the short-term would be ’19-’20, I’d like to see us compete for a playoff spot and ultimately find a way to play our way in in the month of March.”

Holland, too, spoke about how things change when you make the playoffs referring to not only Edmonton’s two-round run in 2016-17, but also how Tampa Bay and Calgary — two of the league’s top teams last year — were knocked out in round one.

“I look at the Edmonton Oilers two or three years ago they got into the into the playoffs and you got to the second round. And I think against Anaheim they blew a three-goal lead in one of the games, and maybe could’ve gone onto the final four,” said Holland.

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“I look at last year, and you look at the year that Tampa Bay had, and you look at the year that Calgary had they both were the number one seed in the first round of the playoffs. They won one combined playoff game.

“It’s not a reflection of them — it’s a reflection of the parity. Anybody that makes the playoffs, in my opinion, is a good team and is a team that can at least win a round or two, maybe you can’t win the cup, but you certainly can make some you can make some noise.”

Heading into Monday’s games the Oilers are in the midst of a tight race for a wild card spot in the Western Conference. Edmonton holds onto one of two spots in a tie with Calgary with 49 points, but clubs like the Winnipeg Jets (48 points), Minnesota Wild (46 points) and Nashville Predators (45 points) are all knocking on the door. Chicago, too, is near with 44 points.

And over the next month, Edmonton has some really key conference matchups on their slate. Between today and Feb. 11, Edmonton plays Calgary three times, Arizona twice, Nashville twice, and Chicago once.

By Valentine’s Day, we should know where the Edmonton Oilers stand in hopes of making a playoff spot.

On Twitter: @zjlaing

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