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Edmonton Oilers News and Rumors: First Day of 2020

What’s on the horizon for the Edmonton Oilers in 2020? The latest news and rumors surrounding the team on day one of a new year.

As NHL fans get ready to embark on a new year and a new decade, Edmonton Oilers fans can only hope this upcoming decade isn’t as dark as the decade that preceded it.

Labeled the “Decade of Darkness”, the Oilers woes carried over from part of the previous 10-year run of playoff-less hockey (with the exception of the miracle 2006 season in which they almost won it all) and outside of 2016-17 where the team played 13 games, they haven’t had a sniff at the postseason since.

This season and moving forward, the Oilers are a team to watch. Not only because they have the greatest player in hockey hitting his prime, but they’ve uncovered one the next-best talents in Leon Draisaitl, have a new GM and head coach with some experience and they’ve got a lot of work to do with the central building blocks finally in place.

This all starts with what Elliotte Friedman brought up in his latest 31 Thoughts article on New Year’s Eve, which was that NHL teams are now allowed to sign players on one-year contracts. The Oilers have a lot of them.

From Joakim Nygard and Gaetan Haas to Riley Sheahan and Josh Archibald and, perhaps the biggest name of the bunch, Mike Smith. Edmonton will have some decisions to make. Some will be easy, some won’t.

A team strapped for cap space, it’s not expected the Oilers will do anything big this season or this summer. There were rumblings they might be players on Taylor Hall but weren’t willing to move a first-round draft pick to acquire him. Would they possibly get in the Hall sweepstakes this summer when all it costs is money? As helpful as Hall would be, he’ll be pricey and overextending finances for someone like Hall doesn’t seem like a great idea.

Brandon Saad - NHL Rumors - Edmonton Oilers
Brandon Saad – NHL Rumors – Edmonton Oilers

According to Friedman, there were also whispers the Oilers have kicked tires on Brandon Saad. That said, the Oilers aren’t looking to take on big salaries for the next couple of seasons which is why they apparently removed themselves from the conversation rather quickly. Saad makes sense if the Blackhawks retain 50% of his salary, but what are the chances of that and them taking back a contract like Kris Russell? Not likely if news on Oscar Klefbom’s recent injury turns out to be serious.

Would Saad help? Sure. It is the wisest use of limited finances? Probably not.

What The Plan in Edmonton Then?

Well, if the Oilers are also not keen on moving draft picks nor do they want to take on big salary commitments, one-year contracts are easy to sign, the team has a lot of options, and getting deals like this done are easy with no assets moving out.

For the first part of 2020, and with the first day of extension eligibility dropping with the New Year’s Eve ball, expect these types of moves to be the focus of upcoming talks surrounding the Oilers.

… That, plus Zack Kassian’s and Darnell Nurse’s new deals.

Next: Nine Reasons the Vancouver Canucks Will Make the 2019-20 Playoffs

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