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Preaching patience for the Oilers on the trade market

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Photo credit:https://twitter.com/EdmontonOilers
Liam Horrobin
1 month ago
The hot streak continued for the Edmonton Oilers last night after Evan Bouchard scored in overtime to set a new team record for ten wins in a row. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where anybody saw this coming after the Oilers’ dismal start to the season. Now,  they’re on the edge of climbing into the top three in the Pacific Division and ready to bulk up for a playoff run. However, maybe not right away.
Patience is a habit that Ken Holland has preached throughout his general manager career. It’s worked out for him to his credit, even when the team is awful and fans, including myself, are screaming for change. Last season was a great example, with the addition of Mattias Ekholm. It was clear that Edmonton needed an upgrade on the blue line, but the talent needed to be there to make that change. The longer Holland waited, the better it got, with Ekholm surprisingly becoming available and later becoming an Oiler.
“People always want teams to jump the gun,” said Frank Seravalli on Oilersnation Everyday. “I think back to the Lou Lamoriello quote, “If you have time, use it,” and that is in the Oilers’ best interest right now as well as they are playing.”
Another layer is what position the Oilers truly want to pursue.
Goaltender is on the list but no longer at the top. Stuart Skinner hasn’t had a save percentage lower than 0.912 since Edmonton’s loss to the New York Islanders. Since then, his save percentage on the season has surpassed 0.900, and he now sits with a 0.903 SV%. His partner Calvin Pickard, who was only supposed to be with the team a few weeks when Jack Campbell was sent down, has given the team a chance to win every time he’s given the nod. With that said, could they still make a change in the crease? Absolutely, but it’s not priority number one.
It’s hard to judge the forward group as a whole with a couple of crucial pieces out. Dylan Holloway played in his first game back from injury with the Bakersfield Condors over the weekend. He played at centre, which indicates Kris Knoblauch is looking for Holloway to fill the void at 3C left behind by Ryan McLeod, who now plays alongside Leon Draisaitl on the second line. Sam Gagner also hasn’t played a while which adds more depth to your bottom six.
The final position Holland may look to upgrade is the right side of the defence. Cody Ceci is the man everyone wants out but he’s playing top minutes with Darnell Nurse on a team friendly contract. It’s a tough position to upgrade on when you look at the full picture. There’s perhaps even a chance that they move on from Brett Kulak freeing up cap space for a forward and then make Philip Broberg a full time NHLer.
“Depending on what the need is at the time and depending on what the market looks like, I think it’s in the Oilers best interest to wait as long as possible,” said Frank Seravalli. “That allows them to make sure that nothing else pops up and that you don’t have a critical injury that changes things. If you don’t and that happens then you have no more assets to trade.”
The NHL trade deadline is March 8th, 2024, and the Oilers have holes to fill with little cap space. The patience from Ken Holland should get the Oilers through this period and better on the other side. As frustrating as the approach is at times, the evidence has proven that it works. Time to trust the Holland process with a team that has Lord Stanley aspirations.

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