For a team that didn’t have much in the way of salary cap space to work with and for a GM who had to work his magic to make a couple of the most impactful deals at this season’s trade deadline, it worked out well that Ken Holland had the option to pass on another trade he might have had in the works.
As part of the most recent 32 Thoughts column, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman noted that the Edmonton Oilers had another trade deadline option available to them beyond Mattias Ekholm and Nick Bjugstad. The additions Edmonton did make have worked out extremely well, and the Oilers are currently among the hottest teams in the NHL, but the club could have added another piece, electing not to as a defenseman on their current roster was growing in his role.
As this player became a full-time NHLer, the Oilers decided to pass on the deal they could have made, confident that who they had on their roster was the better choice. While he couldn’t verify exactly which player the Oilers chose to run with, Friedman said head coach Jay Woodcroft confirmed there was a deal being worked on. Friedman writes, “I believe the player Woodcroft believes in was Vincent Desharnais.”
Part of what the Oilers were looking for was more size and depth on the back end. But, with Bjugstad, Ekholm, Darnell Nurse, Klim Kostin, and Evander Kane all on the roster, having Desharnais on the roster makes the Oilers one of the biggest teams in the NHL. And, more than just offering size, Desharnais has offered steady play. Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer said, “The emergence of Vincent Desharnais has changed the complexion of the D. The need for a shutdown D man isn’t as strong.”
The 26-year-old Desharnais has spent what must feel like a lifetime getting to the NHL. He was drafted by the Oilers in the seventh round of the 2016 draft and is finally starting to come into his own this season. He wasn’t expected to be a fixture in the Oilers’ lineup this year, but he’s outplayed other budding blue line prospects and Edmonton feels they’ve found a keeper in the later rounds of that draft.
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