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Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland talks deadline moves: ‘We’re in a cap world and we did what we could do’

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Photo credit:Jason Franson/Canadian Press
Zach Laing
18 days ago
It was a quiet Friday for the Edmonton Oilers after a busy few days for the team.
On Tuesday, the club made a swing to acquire Mattias Ekholm from the Nashville Predators, before trading for Nick Bjugstad and Cam Dineen on Thursday, but beyond that, the team didn’t make any other moves. Say what you will about potentially looking to make more trades, the Oilers are better now than they were on Monday.
While the Oilers remained quiet Friday, Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland spoke with members about the media bout where the team sits.
On getting everything he wanted to do done: “Obviously, getting a defenceman was a priority and we’re excited to get Mattias. He gives us size and experience… and I think he’s going to be a mentor for our young defencemen.”
On Bjugstad: “He shoots right, can take some faceoffs, he penalty kills… I think we’re deeper. We don’t have a lot of righties here — I traded Puljujarvi to Carolina — so you’re trying to hit some dimensions that I felt needed to be addressed.”
On trusting Evan Bouchard, Vincent Desharnais and Philip Broberg: “You never know. Bouch played last year in the playoffs on the second pair so it’s not like it’s Bouch’s first playoff run… At some point, you have to play some playoff games — you can’t hold them out (forever). At some point in time, you’ve got to give your people some opportunity and I think they’ve earned it. I run in a cap world so it’s a puzzle for me. It’s not only that they contribute but they contribute on a (cheap contract)”
On the cap: “We’re in a cap world and we did what we could do… I think we’ve got $1000 left.”
On acquiring Ekholm: “I think when they started to fall out of it. I talked to David Poile last week and he said that with where they were in the standings that Ekholm could be available. So over the course of a week, we pieced it together.”
On trading Barrie: “Cap related. I said dollar in, dollar out. As you look here today, Jesse makes $3m and Tyson makes $4.5m… and we were running a 20-man roster. I wanted to get a 22-man roster. If we hung onto Tyson I would have had to move out expensive forwards.”
On the playoffs: “My experience is that the management, coaching staff, and players need to be in (the mix for a Stanley Cup) multiple times to be prepared to go on a run. I’m hoping the experience from last year will be very beneficial to our guys.”
On watching other teams load up: “I just try to take care of my own team, and we went into this last two-week period with a defenceman as a priority. We needed a top-four defenceman that could make an impact.”
On Barrie vs. Ekholm: “Tyson Barrie is an offensive defenceman that runs the power play. Mattias Ekholm is a different (type of) defenceman… I tried to make the team different.”
On roster size: “We’re going to get to a 22-man roster because I don’t want to play games where we have 19. I tried to address as many needs as I could.”
On planning for the deadline and summer ahead: “When you make decisions, I have to be aware of what’s going on in the summer time so it’s all part of it.”
On changes to when deals were made this deadline: “If you had asked me a month ago, I would have thought everything would take place March 1, 2, 3, but everything started happening last week and it got the ball rolling. Today was quieter but I don’t really know why.”
On Evander Kane’s injury: “Evander is making the trip, and the plan is that he’ll start skating tomorrow. Definitely not playing on Monday… but somewhere around Boston or Toronto.”

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

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