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Edmonton Oilers

Chemistry vs. Big Splashes: Oilers Found Right Deadline Balance

The Edmonton Oilers made deadline additions, but also kept their full roster in tact. Was what Ken Holland did the right amount of tweaking?

There has been a lot of talk this week about the NHL Trade Deadline. For Oilers fans, it’s about whether the Edmonton Oilers found the right balance or did enough to address their needs and keep pace with other Western Conference teams that took big swings. The Oilers added Adam Henrique and Sam Carrick, while also bringing in a depth defenseman in Troy Stecher. Those were good moves. They missed on a top-four blue-line upgrade and didn’t bring in a legitimate top-six winger. Some are saying the deadline was a miss because of that.

At the end of the day, the Oilers improved the team, but they importantly kept everyone on their roster.

Meanwhile, teams like Vegas went big, adding Tomas Hertl, Anthony Mantha, and Noah Hanifin. The Winnipeg Jets added Tyler Toffoli and Sean Monahan. The Vancouver Canucks brought in Elias Lindholm and Nikita Zadorov. Dallas added Chris Tanev. Colorado added Casey Mittelstadt and Sean Walker

There’s often a question about when smart changes cross the line and become too many changes. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins fell victim to it last season, both taking big deadline swings that didn’t take them on deep playoff runs. The issue with bringing in top-talent players is that they don’t mesh or find chemistry quickly. When that happens, systems are disrupted, the flow is off, the locker room dynamic shifts, and players who have built solid relationships are simply no longer there. In Vegas, there’s no guarantee that team even makes the playoffs. What happens if they miss?

It’s a gamble that, oftentimes, doesn’t pay off.

Oilers Had a Chance To Move More Players at the Trade Deadline

Elliotte Friedman says the Oilers were among the teams in on Chris Tanev and Tyler Toffoli. The Flames weren’t keen on trading Tanev to Edmonton and didn’t want to take a contract with term back. On the morning of the deadline, the Jets made a last-minute push for Toffoli. Friedman added on the 32 Thoughts podcast that the Oilers thought about subtracting some players. He named Cody Ceci as a possible move but says there were players on the Oilers’ roster who didn’t want to see Ceci traded away. Ceci wasn’t the only player they considered subtracting.

Cody Ceci Oilers trade rumors

Ultimately, the Oilers kept their roster and added to it. Sam Gagner, Dylan Holloway, and some other depth pieces wound up being demoted to the AHL, but they’ll never be too far away. The defense pairs re getting more time to build something. The forward lines will have to make it work but is already among the better top six units in the NHL. This is a team that wants to win, but they want to win together.

There was no Tyson Barrie-like move this season. No doubt Mattias Ekholm was a solid addition and the better choice for what Edmonton needed, but Barrie was disappointed to leave and his career has taken a significant downturn since. The Oilers were sad to see him go too. This season, Jay Woodcroft didn’t make it to the halfway mark. He was a scapegoat who took the blame for a lousy start. Those days are over.

The Oilers added, but as important to their playoff success is that this team gets a chance to finish what they started.

Next: Pickard Picks Up Peculiar Shutout in Oilers 4-0 Win Over Penguins

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