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Monday Mailbag – What should the game plan be for contract year Warren Foegele?

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Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
baggedmilk
1 month ago
Happy Monday, Nation, and welcome to a fresh edition of the Mailbag to help get your week started and keep you updated on all things Edmonton Oilers. This week, we’re discussing potential trade targets, Warren Foegele’s future with the Oilers, Dylan Holloway at centre, 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.
Dec 22, 2023; New York, New York, USA; Edmonton Oilers left wing Warren Foegele (37) celebrates his goal against the New York Rangers during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
1) James in Peterborough asks – The Oilers’ top line, and more recently, 2nd line have been producing offensively. With Gagner and Holloway close to returning, what would your middle 6 lineup look like going forward?
Jason Gregor: Holloway won’t be here anytime soon, and I don’t see Gagner in the top nine regularly. I suspect you will see Kane back in the top six at some point, but no reason to change anything now as the team is rolling.
Robin Brownlee: The second line is fine as it is with McLeod, Draisaitl and Foegele. We’ll have to see about the third line because Holloway’s return has been delayed by the two games being postponed with Bakersfield last weekend. I’d like to see Holloway tried in the middle here with Kane for starters.
Baggedmilk: I’d love to see Holloway get a look as the team’s 3C if he can make it work with the Condors. That would potentially give the Oilers a third scoring line, which is the dream for all of us.
Nov 2, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Dylan Holloway (55) tries to carry the puck around Dallas Stars defensemen Miro Heiskanen (4) during the first period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
2) Jason asks – The Oilers will be trying Dylan Holloway out at the centre with the Bakersfield Condors during his conditioning stint, and I’m wondering what everything thinks that means for him once he gets recalled. Does Holloway get a look at third line centre?
Jason Gregor: Kris Knoblauch mentioned he expects to see McLeod back down the middle. I think a Holloway-Mcleod-Foegele line could be a thing come playoff time. Or Foegele stays on 2nd line and Janmark is on third line. Maybe Connor Brown wakes up at some point. I could see Holloway get a game or few there, but he’d have to spend minimum 4-6 weeks in the AHL getting re-acquainted with centre ice position. I’d be surprised if he plays there ahead of McLeod come playoff time.
Robin Brownlee: Yes, as long as McLeod is effective and producing on that second line like he has been, Holloway as 3C is worth a look.
Baggedmilk: I just hope it works. Holloway has yet to gain much traction at the NHL level — it’s not an issue, just a fact for many young players — and I wonder how/if he’ll be able to handle the duties that come with the gig.
3) Hank asks – The trade deadline is two months away, so what is the Oilers’ biggest need right now? Is it still in net? What do you see as the biggest hole in the current roster?
Jason Gregor: A scoring second line right winger would be great. A backup goalie would be nice, but who is available that is a lock to be more consistent than Pickard? I still think it might be goalie. In a perfect world they would find an equivalent to Ekholm, but a RD. Very hard to do.
Robin Brownlee: A proven goaltender to play behind Skinner is the obvious choice. Easier said than done, but that’s the priority for me.
Baggedmilk: I think a 3C or 2RD would be at the top of my wishlist, but that relies heavily on Calvin Pickard’s ability to provide competent backup minutes.
Mar 6, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Mattias Ekholm (14) takes a shot on goal during the first period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
4) @Lord_Sportsalot asks – Should the Oilers consider acquiring another defenseman like Ekholm? Maybe Middleton, Dumba, or even Nick Seeler?
Jason Gregor: Seeler isn’t a 2nd pair on a Cup team. No need for him on third. I’m not sold Dumba is a major upgrade over Ceci, and Middleton is very similar style, just bigger. None of them are equal to Ekholm. Getting a RD like him would be amazing, but hard to find.
Robin Brownlee: I like Jacob Middleton from that group but that doesn’t mean Bill Guerin is willing to move him. And who does he slot in for here as a left shot guy?
Baggedmilk: Nick Seeler would be sweet, but I don’t know that he’s available nor that we need another LHD.
Mar 16, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Warren Foegele (37) celebrates after scoring a goal during the first period against the Dallas Stars at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
5) Gregg asks – Warren Foegele in the last year of his three-year contract and I want to know if he’s part of this team’s future? If not should Ken Holland consider trading him at the deadline?
Jason Gregor: If you trade him in a package for a 2nd line RW, I could see it, but I’m not trading him for picks or a bottom six forward. Doesn’t make much sense to me. Only way I deal him, is if I think I’m upgrading his current position, which is second line RW.
Robin Brownlee: He should be part of the team’s future.
Baggedmilk: I like the way Foegele plays a lot — he has all the tools you like to see from a top 9 forward — but I just don’t know how they’ll be able to make the money work if he’s looking for an increase on the $2.75 million he’s making now.

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