Monday Mailbag – Do the Oilers need a big splash at the NHL trade deadline?

Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
5 months ago
Welcome, Internet friends, to another brand new Mailbag to help get your week started and keep you updated on all things NHL. This week, we’re discussing Oilers tactics for the trade deadline, Leon Draisaitl’s next contract, goaltending, and more. If you’ve got a question you’d like to ask, email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk , and I’ll get to you as soon as we can.
Jan 20, 2024; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner (74) guards his net against the Calgary Flames during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome.
1) Yves asks – How comfortable would you be if the Oilers get through the deadline with Stuart Skinner and Calvin Pickard as their goaltending tandem? Both goaltenders are playing well, but do they need a more experienced backup for the stretch drive in case Skinner needs further support?
Jason Gregor: Since coaching change. Skinner has made 27 starts. He has fifth best Sv% among goalies with at least five starts at .924 and he is second among goalies with 11+ starts. He is sixth among goalies with 5+ starts in GAA at 2.04 and 2nd among goalies with 11+ starts.
Pickard has made eight starts and for goalies with 5+ starts he is 20th in Sv% at .912 and 12th in GAA at 2.42.
They also have Jack Campbell playing very well in the AHL. Edmonton has bigger holes to fill than adding backup. The two options people keep mentioning rank as follows among goalies with 5+ starts.
Marc-Andre Fleury (43rd in Sv% at .900 and 35th in GAA at 2.98.
Jake Allen (51st in Sv% at .895 and 61st in GAA at 3.46). Allen also has one more year at $3.8m.
Tyler Yaremchuk: I’d be very comfortable with it. Calvin Pickard has passed every test put in front of him and the Oilers do have Olivier Rodrigue down in the minors as well. Would I be comfortable with Pickard or Rodrigue starting a playoff game? Not overly, but to be fair Pickard he hasn’t given anyone a reason to not trust him. The team has bigger holes to address.
Liam Horrobin: Extremely comfortable. If you don’t believe in Stuart Skinner now then when will we? As for Cal Pickard, he’s done a good job playing the backup role in Edmonton causing no disruptions. Additionally, the Oilers only have so many assets so I wouldn’t waste one on a backup goaltender.
Baggedmilk: I’m comfortable with this as our goalie tandem provided that Calvin Pickard can give some reliable minutes down the stretch when Stu needs a break. Skinner can’t get overworked this year, and handling some of that workload will be the biggest task Pickard has to handle.
Feb 6, 2024; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) hits the post behind Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill (33) during the second period at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
2) David O. asks – The recent history of Vegas and the Oilers is giving me bad memories of Oilers-Dallas in the early 2000s: we have a team built on speed and skill, they just defend the front of the net, block every shot, get goaltending and grind out wins against us. What tactical adjustments do the Oilers need to break down the defensive shell of Vegas?
Jason Gregor: They outplayed them last game, but didn’t finish. I don’t see Vegas dominating them like Dallas did outside of their first meeting in 1997. It would be great if they could meet six times in seven seasons.
Tyler Yaremchuk: I’m not the best one to ask tactical questions to, but I really think it’s all about just scoring on your opportunities. They had plenty of chances to tie that game vs Vegas, like the Kane chance backdoor or the Bouchard shot that hit the post. If one of those goes in, then we’re having a different conversation right now.
Liam Horrobin: Attack quicker to disrupt Vegas from getting structured so easily.
Baggedmilk: The Oilers also had some bad luck in that game. There were a couple of posts and missed chances that could have easily ended up as winning goals if the Hockey Gords wanted to script things differently. I’m not worried about it. The only thing I would say, however, is that I’d like the Oilers to get more traffic in front of Adin Hill. If he can see the puck, he’s going to stop it.
3) Trevor asks – Do the Oilers need to make a bigger splash at the trade deadline, or do you think they could get by with bringing in minor pieces that give some additional depth?
Jason Gregor: A second line RW would help,  but if they could land Nic Dowd and Beck Malenstyn to bolster 4th line, and both are PKers, that would be good. I think 4C and 2RW are biggest needs.
Tyler Yaremchuk: Big splash! Either a top-six right winger or a legit top-four defenseman. They need to be looking to make at least one major move.
Liam Horrobin: I am split. I think if you can get a Jake Guentzel, for example, then you go all in but the addition of a couple of guys like Nic Dowd and Alexandre Texier would go a long way for this team too.
Baggedmilk: I would love a second line RW to put another offensive weapon in the lineup. Either that or  an upgrade at 2RD. As for whether it’s possible or not, last year’s Mattias Ekholm trade has me believing that it’s possible.
Jan 2, 2024; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (29) celebrates after scoring a goal during the third period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Rogers Place.
4) @dirty_duncan99 asks – What’s the next contract for Leon Draisaitl going to look like?
Jason Gregor: He will get at least $13m, and it depends if he follows Auston Matthews and takes four years or goes longer deal. If I was him I’d go four year deal.
Tyler Yaremchuk: I’ll say somewhere in the $13-14 million range on an eight-year deal. I don’t think he’ll be giving the Oilers any sort of discount, and he shouldn’t be expected to. If you’re the Oilers, you pay the man and don’t think twice.
Liam Horrobin: $13 or $14 million hopefully for eight years but I could also see a shorter four year deal happening too.
Baggedmilk: Give him whatever he wants. Whether it’s $13 or $14 million, I don’t care as long as he and 97 both sign extensions. The cap will go up, we will navigate the tight cap, and we will win a Stanley Cup.
Jan 27, 2024; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) celebrates after scoring a goal during the third period against the Nashville Predators at Rogers Place.
5) @digaa17 asks – Connor is a lock for Team Canada in 2025. So… who else could be on the team from the Edmonton Oilers? Nuge, Zach, Darnell, Skinner? Would winning a Cup this spring make a big difference to who gets selected?
Jason Gregor: Hyman and Skinner are best bets. Nurse might get a camp invite but will be hard pressed to make it. Depends if they carry eight D-men or not.
Tyler Yaremchuk: I’ll say Skinner has the best chance out of the remainder of the roster with Hyman close behind him. Other than that, I think we could see Evan Bouchard or Darnell Nurse make it, depending on how the next 12-24 months go for them. I don’t think Nugent-Hopkins is in the conversation.
Liam Horrobin: I think Stuart Skinner and Connor McDavid are locks to make it. Zach Hyman would be the next closest and then either Darnell Nurse or Evan Bouchard. Unfortunately, I think a lot of players would need to be unavailable for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to get a shot.
Baggedmilk: I’d say Skinner and Hyman for sure. Maybe Nurse and Nuge in depth roles depending how they did at camp, if they’re invited in the first place.


Star Mechanical is Edmonton’s top plumbing and heating company. Our team of skilled professionals is committed to helping with all your plumbing and heating needs, from repairs and maintenance to installation and upgrades. With years of experience and a reputation for quality workmanship, you can trust us your local Star to get the job done. Visit us at starmechanical.ca to schedule an appointment and let us help keep your home running smoothly.
Updated: Links (2/12/2024)

Check out these posts...