How did experts view the Edmonton Oilers trade deadline moves?

Photo credit:© Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 month ago
The winners and losers of this year’s trade deadline won’t be known for a while.
After all, the majority of acquisitions teams have made leading up to the final buzzer won’t be enough to help them win the Stanley Cup. One team, at the end of the day, gets to hoist Lord Stanley’s Mug.
That doesn’t stop analysts around the hockey world from diving into what teams did, and opining about whether or not the moves that were made could help them inch closer to the promised land. And as is the case every year, I’m here to collect all these thoughts in one spot.
Here’s what a variety of experts said about the Oilers’ trade deadline moves.

Daily Faceoff – The Murky Middle

If you look at what the other Western Conference superpowers accomplished this week, particularly Vegas, it’s understandable to feel ambivalent or even a little disappointed over Edmonton’s moves. It’s Ken Holland’s last ride as GM, so wasn’t he supposed to go all-in and land that marquee forward for the top? Sorry, no Toffoli or Pavel Buchnevich. Still, it’s not like the Oilers ignored their shopping list entirely. They landed an intelligent and versatile middle-six forward in Adam Henrique, a checking center in Sam Carrick and veteran puck-moving depth on defense in Troy Stecher. Adding another high-end scorer would’ve been exciting, but the Oilers, fuelled by two of the greatest scorers this millennium in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, weren’t hurting for offense.

The Athletic – eight out of 10

It would have been wonderful if the Oilers made a bigger splash by acquiring someone like Jake Guentzel, Pavel Buchnevich or Chris Tanev. However, general manager Ken Holland and his staff did some fine work by nabbing three players, particularly the versatile Adam Henrique. The veteran forward can help address either second-line wing or bottom-six center, two areas where Edmonton needed to improve. Throw in Sam Carrick and Troy Stecher for depth, and the Oilers had an unremarkable but solid deadline, which should lock them in as a true Stanley Cup favorite.
The Athletic had eight teams with an eight out of 10 rating, including the Ducks, Hurricanes, Avalanche, Panthers, Canadiens, Flyers and Jets. One team got a nine out of 10, the Stars, while the Golden Knights got a 10 out of 10. Go figure.

The Athletic – Troy Stecher trade – B

Stetcher isn’t going to displace any of their current top-six defensemen, but is well equipped to be the seventh defenseman on the roster and able to step in, if needed. He relies on positioning to box out bigger forwards and sometimes ends up mismatched physically. But he plays a determined style, and this won’t be his first rodeo as a rental. This was a smaller swing, but it also came at a far lower price, too. It’s a respectable pick-up.

The Athletic – Henrique/Carrick trade – A-

At this point in his career, Henrique is more of a passenger on a line than a driver. That’s fine because that’s all the Oilers should need at this point. If anything, he is a very solid option to round out their top-nine forward group. Henrique doesn’t really stand out in just one area, instead adding a solid effectiveness all-around. And he adds some lineup flexibility with his ability to slot down the middle or on the wing. Sam Carrick bolsters the team’s bottom six, lessening the chance of the team needing to go 11 forwards and seven defenders down the stretch, as they did last year.

ESPN – Henrique/Carrick trade – B+

Henrique’s playoff experience is quality over quantity: Only 28 games, but 24 of them were a run to the Stanley Cup Final with the New Jersey Devils in 2012 that included his series-clinching overtime goal against the New York Rangers in the conference final.
Giving up the first-rounder was expected given the market, and even more so when a decent depth forward like Carrick comes with him. He’s a tenacious forechecker who can create loose pucks for the Oilers’ skill players and he’s not afraid to drop the gloves when necessary.
Henrique is very much a welcome edition, but the trade is a double that could be legged into a triple rather than a home run. He was the best center available, and an Oilers team with its eyes squarely on the ultimate prize landed him and kept him away from potential opponents in the process.

Sportsnet – Henrique/Carrick trade

This gives the Oilers arguably the best 12-player forward group in the NHL. Adam Henrique gives them a look of depth they haven’t had in the Connor McDavid years (so many lineup options!), and Sam Carrick is the type of 4th line passion player teams love in playoffs.

USA Today — B

Adam Henrique can move up and down the lineup, Sam Carrick provides toughness and Troy Stecher kills penalties.

Bleacher Report – B+

Henrique was the best center available in this year’s trade market. He can also play left wing, giving the Oilers depth, versatility, and playoff experience on their third line. Carrick should also bolster their checking lines, especially on the penalty kill. They’re both eligible for UFA status this summer.

The Score — Henrique/Carrick trade – A-

The Oilers’ top priorities coming into deadline week were as follows: add scoring punch and versatility up front and add reliable depth on the back end.
This trade checks off that first task – at a fair price, too.
Henrique and Carrick don’t add up to Jake Guentzel or Pavel Buchnevich, but Oilers GM Ken Holland presumably didn’t have the assets to pull off a seismic trade. Props to him, then, for doing something of consequence. The Oilers can’t waste another year of Connor McDavid’s and Leon Draisaitl’s primes.

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@thenationnetwork.com.

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