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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – Looking Ahead at the Trade Deadline

Welcome, dear friends, to a fresh edition of the mailbag where our writers take a moment out of their weekend getaways to share a little bit of wisdom with you about all things Edmonton Oilers. As we do every week, we’re back with another round of questions and answers to help you get through your day. Looking ahead, I need you guys for this feature so email me your questions to [email protected] or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. Now sit back, relax, and pretend to look busy for as long as possible. Have a good week, everybody.

1) Hank asks – We’re less than a month away from the NHL Trade Deadline and I’m curious to know what approach the Oilers should take in terms of bringing in some help? Do you think Holland should be aggressive or is this year not the time to go hunting for big additions?

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Robin Brownlee:

Big additions mean bringing bigger money in and, especially in the Oilers’ case, sending bigger money out to balance the books. Those kinds of deals are more difficult to do at the deadline than during the off-season. I don’t think we’ll see that. Holland has already made his inquiries, as most GM’s have, and will circle back on anything that makes sense based on where the Oilers are standings-wise and injury-wise nearer the deadline.

Christian Pagnani:

Nope. If there’s a reasonable deal to be made then it should be considered. But I’d resist trading picks and prospects for a meager second-line guy.

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Nation Dan:

Any team that has Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on it should be competing for the cup, but we’re not yet (thanks Pete). Some tweaks here and there, I want to see an addition of a depth D man perhaps and then you let those two see how far they can drag this team in the big show.

Baggedmilk:

I still don’t think the Oilers are at a point where their shelves are stocked enough to start sending out the assets needed to go big game hunting. I mean, maybe Holland swings a deal for a JG Pageau type but I’m honestly expecting more of a Jared Smithson type of situation.

Sep 24, 2019; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Riley Sheahan (23) protects the puck from Arizona Coyotes forward Vinnie Hinostroza (13) during the first period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

2) Oilers fan in Van asks – This past offseason, Ken Holland brought in several low-cost players on one-year contracts to help bridge the gap and I’m wondering who has been everyone’s favourite addition through 49 games?

Robin Brownlee:

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Close between Riley Sheahan and Josh Archibald.

Christian Pagnani:

I like Archibald. Scoring a 22-point, 12-goal pace for basically nothing. Can skate and play alongside skilled players.

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Nation Dan:

The obvious answers are Archibald and Sheahan for sure. I still really think there is a player in Tomas Jurco, I know he showed flashes of it in his time here but wasn’t able to hang yet. I think he’s a guy you sign to a two-way deal next year and see what he can do.

Baggedmilk:

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My trio would be Riley Sheahan, Gaetan Haas, and Josh Archibald. I hope all three of those guys come back next year because I think that gives you a decent fourth line that can chip in with some offence while also killing penalties.

3) Dustin asks – The Oilers have 33 games left until the end of the season. If you were to guess, what record do they need to have to lock up a playoff spot?

Robin Brownlee:

Loser points make this a meaningless question. Points are what matter. They have 57 points, so they’re likely going to need 33-35 more to have a shot. It doesn’t matter if they go 2-0-31 or 15-14-4 to get there.

Christian Pagnani:

I think 38-40 points more gets them solidly in the playoffs.

Nation Dan:

A record of 18-12-3 gets them there. Not entirely daunting, but can’t have anymore stretches like December.

Baggedmilk:

I think they’ll need 40+ points. To get there, they’ll need to be consistent and not let any losing streaks get extended. If the boys are going to make the playoffs this year then they’re going to need to bring their A-game on a nightly basis regardless of who their opponent is.

4) Chandler asks – I know the biggest needs for the team are a top 6 winger and a 3rd line centre but if the price is right do you see the Oilers maybe making a trade for a goalie (I’m thinking Robin Lehner) to help with a playoff run a la Roli in 2006?

Robin Brownlee:

No. Trying to have a new goaltender settle in behind a team in the stretch is a bad bet. Roloson was average (8-7-4 with .905 and 2.43) in the stretch drive after the deadline before heating up in playoffs. That’s not a model to follow.

Christian Pagnani:

I doubt it. Tippett seems like a Mike Smith fan still and I don’t see them waiving or trading Smith. Koskinen’s not going anywhere with his contract so this is the tandem we’re going to see.

Nation Dan:

I don’t think it’s needed. Smithers had a bad December and has now rounded into form. Koskinen has been solid throughout and will continue to be our number one guy I think.

Baggedmilk:

I mean, I wouldn’t be opposed to upgrading the goalie position but I also feel that way about every spot on the roster (more or less). Doubt it happens, though. Koskinen and Smith are what we’ve got and we need them to shine.

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5) Gregg asks – By the time this gets posted, another All-Star weekend will be in the books and I’m curious to know what everyone’s thoughts are about the event? Personally, I don’t watch it anymore but understand that the ASG is for children and sponsors but I’d like to know how the league could improve the festivities?

Robin Brownlee:

The on-ice product is almost unwatchable for anybody over the age of 12 now. Somebody is going to have to put together a proposal as thick as a phone book to change that, and I’m not about to try that here. I’d scrap it and give everybody a break.

Christian Pagnani:

Take things less seriously. Have more silly events. Embrace the personalities of players. Stop thinking including alumni in events makes it interesting or relevant. I don’t think any league reveres its former players like the NHL does. No one cares to see some 60-year old former Blue or Panther come in and take a few shots or make some passes to younger players. I agree it’s mostly for children and sponsors, but I don’t mind watching the skills competition.

Nation Dan:

If the players don’t mind showing up to the event (Auston Matthews toughed out his wrist injury to be a part of it) then honestly, who cares what you and I think (I personally love the skills comp but I don’t usually tune in)? Including the women’s hockey players (albeit only from one of the two leagues) is great to see, and I hope it’s a catalyst for them to get more from the league. But the same thing for them, if they don’t excite you, then it’s not for you. If it brings in some fans, makes some social media content (Leon jokingly saying “Tkachuk you” kind of thing) then it’s a good thing.

Baggedmilk:

I’d like to see them keep bringing in new events into the skills competition to really show off the puck skills that some of these guys have now. As for the game itself, I actually dig the 3-on-3 and think that was a decent upgrade over what we had before.

PRAY FOR PLAYOFFS

The boys are in the mix and we’re looking ahead to April. Please, Hockey Gords, make it so. Competitive games in January! Exclusively at NationGear.ca.