‘We make moves at every deadline:’ Oilers GM Ken Holland is ready for trade market to heat up

Zach Laing
4 months ago
Ken Holland loves to make trades.
Since joining the Oilers as general manager in May 2019, he’s made 22 trades. Some good, a few bad. His track record has been a bit of a mixed bag, to say the least.
Through it all, Ken Holland has never been shy to make trades to try and make this team better, and you have to give him credit for that at the very least. And having made at least one trade ahead of every deadline — having so many as three in 2020 and 2023 — Holland is preparing to have another active week.
“Since I’ve been a manager here at the trade deadline, except for the pandemic, I got two players twice and I got three players once,” Holland said in an interview with Sportsnet’s Mark Spector. “Whether you like the players or you don’t like the players… the reality is we make moves at every deadline.
“I can’t tell you what’s going to happen. What I can tell you is, I have lots of irons in the fire. I have done lots of talking internally with my coaching staff. I’ve talked to Connor (McDavid, his captain) a couple of times in the last couple of weeks. I talk to (Oilers president) Jeff Jackson every day. Every day I’m talking to other (general) managers, on a regular basis.”
And for Holland, a lot of these deals have come together in the final hours ahead of the trade deadline.
“Two years ago when we did the (Brett) Kulak deal, I had no idea when I went to bed that night whether we were going to do the Kulak deal or not,” Holland added. “When I went to bed last year on a Monday night — the trade deadline was on a Friday — I had no idea on Tuesday that we were going to pull the trigger on (Mattias) Ekholm.”
So, for the Oilers, being able to remain ready to pounce on potential deals will be key. They have assets to move: a first and second-round pick this year, prospects in Philip Broberg and Raphael Lavoie, and players on the roster in Kulak, Cody Ceci and Warren Foegele. Edmonton could try and get crazy taking care of some early offseason work too, in trading Jack Campbell or Evander Kane — both guys who could find themselves as cap casualties in the summer.
Nonetheless, the Oilers have been linked to some of the biggest names on the market: Jake Guentzel, Pavel Buchnevich, Vladimir Tarasenko, Jordan Eberle, Tyler Toffoli, Anthony Mantha, Adam Henrique, Sam Carrick, Nic Dowd, Scott Laughton, Sean Walker, Nick Seeler, and Alexandre Carrier.
Let’s see what Holland and company can do this week.

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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