Wrap up the Stanley Cup Finals so we can get to silly season already

8 months ago
Maybe it’s just because I’m still bitter about the way the Edmonton Oilers’ season ended, but all I can think about these days is that the Stanley Cup Finals can’t end soon enough so we can get to some off-season shenanigans.
I don’t know if any of you are avoiding the NHL playoffs as passionately as I am ever since the boys got bumped, but I literally haven’t watched a single minute of live action since Game 6 of our second round series. That’s not to say I don’t know what’s happening — I do, I’ve been watching the highlights — but I just cannot bring myself to watch. There was just something so incredibly frustrating about the way the Oilers bowed out to the Golden Knights that bothered me at a core level, and now that the Vegas is rolling through the remainder of the post-season with relative ease, my general disappointment only seems to grow by the day. That’s why I need this thing to end already. That’s why I need to get through this strange period of mourning for the season that was and refocus on what’s to come.
It’s almost like I need the Oilers to start checking things off their summer to-do list to rekindle the flame or something because the last thing I can handle right now is watching the team that stomped on our dreams on a leisurely stroll to becoming league champions. Making matters worse is that all we’re hearing about the Oilers is that they’re going to have a quiet summer because of their general lack of cap space and the fact that most of their roster is already locked up for next season and beyond. Even though I generally buy the sentiment that we’re not going to do much — we talked about that in this week’s mailbag — but even though logic suggests few moves are coming, I still want to believe there’s something coming.
So when the Philadelphia Flyers pulled off this three-way trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Los Angeles Kings that featured a bunch of moving parts, I started to wonder what the Oilers can do to get creative. It wasn’t that I thought the Oilers should have necessarily been in on any of these players, but rather that the trade was the latest example of a team in the L.A. Kings figuring out a way to ship out salary as a means of navigating a tight cap situation. I mean, how else do you make sense of the Philadelphia Flyers taking on Cal Petersen? Either way, the point that I’m getting at here is that I will personally draw far more enjoyment from the silly season shenanigans that will come post-playoffs than I am with what’s going on with the actual games.
Even though I know that we’re highly unlikely to get a whole lot of movement around here apart from maybe rebuilding what’s happening at RW and maybe a d-man if we’re lucky, I still think we’re going to be in for an interesting summer and I’m looking forward to getting started. I want to see what the Oilers are going to do with Evan Bouchard. I want to know who is going to take a flyer on Kailer Yamamoto if the plan is indeed to move on from him. I want to know what kind of raise Ryan McLeod is going to get after signing a team-friendly deal last summer that was likely below what most of us would have expected. I want to know what Ken Holland is going to do to improve this hockey team despite having only $5.97 million in available cap space (before the bump) to get the job done.
At the end of the day, some of you may think I’m a bad hockey fan because I don’t care at all about what’s happening in the finals, but the way I look at it, I’m the ultimate fan because I’m far more interested in what the other 30 teams are doing to try and get there. If anything, my commitment to silly season should be celebrated. In reality, all I really care about is seeing the Edmonton Oilers improve ahead of the 2023-24 campaign so that the feelings that some of us are dealing with now are replaced with the elation of a Stanley Cup win. And until it’s the Oilers’ turn to appear in the finals for their chance at claiming Lord Stanley, all I can ever see myself caring about at this time of year is what the GM can do to help us get there. Bring on the silly season.

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