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Bouchard’s Struggles Changes Trade Deadline Outlook for Oilers

Evan Bouchard’s struggles have been so concerning for the Oilers that they need to prioritize a right-shot defenseman at the deadline.

The Edmonton Oilers are expected to make a move. Some insiders believe the team will “swing big” while others wonder if the team’s salary cap situation will limit them to a minor move, but the club has been linked to names big and small with varying salaries from league-minimum to Erik Karlsson’s $11.5 million per season.

There’s also no clear indication about what position the team needs most. Is it a depth fowrard? Might the team look for a top-six winger? Maybe a left-shot or right-shot defenseman would help limit the goals against. According to TSN’s Tom Gazzola, the right-shot defenseman is winning out when it comes to conversations internally.

Gazzola said during a recent episode of The Oil Stream that the Oilers might have little choice but to focus on a right-shot blueliner, simply because Evan Bouchard is struggling the way he is. He said, “If that’s your third-pairing guy and you can’t trust him, you know in a week or two they’re going to need to make a decision.” Noting that he’s playing with a total lack of confidence, the Oilers need to find someone willing to take minutes if Bouchard isn’t ready for the pressure that comes with the role.

Gazzola said he knows it’s only been the second full season for Bouchard but his struggles are a huge issue. He wonders if the Oilers will even go after two depth defenders. Could names like Luke Schenn or Shayne Gostisbehere be on the team’s radar? Dante Fabbro out of Nashville could become an interesting name if the Predators become sellers. What are the chances the Oilers might look to a name they’ve been familiar with in the past and bring back Dmitry Kulikov?

There is always a chance Bouchard finds more of his game in the next few days. If so, the Oilers might wait and look at their own options internally.

Next: What Does New Maple Leafs’ Noel Acciari Bring to the Team?



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