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Edmonton Oilers Right Not To Rush Into Big Blue Line Trade

Ken Holland has shown patience as the Oilers GM and part of that patience has paid off. Not trading Broberg or Bouchard looks the right call.

Patience is not a virtue many have. In fact, just over a week ago, I suggested the Oilers not wait to make a trade, hoping that a move would help spark a team that was struggling and sliding down the standings. However, Edmonton Oilers’ GM Ken Holland has shown in spades he has an attribute many of us don’t have. He’s been showing it since his arrival a few years ago.

While fans and media members have often rushed to any public platform they could find to scream ‘make a deal!’ or ‘move this player now!’, Holland has waited, making only smaller moves like sending Dmitry Samorukov to the St. Louis Blues for Klim Kostin — a deal that has worked out quite well for the Oilers.

Evan Bouchard Philip Broberg Ken Holland Oilers trade talk
Evan Bouchard Philip Broberg Ken Holland Oilers trade talk

In waiting, Holland has given himself more time to see how this team fares with Evander Kane back in the lineup. Yes, the Oilers are still running with a relatively inexperienced defense corps, but as David Staples of The Edmonton Journal points out in his column on Thursday, names like Philip Broberg and Evan Bouchard are starting to step up their level of play and showing signs that an overanxious GM might have made a mistake if either had been traded.

Related: Oilers Can’t Afford to Sit On Blue Line, Must Make a Trade

Staples writes, “With such an investment in Bouchard and Broberg, much is riding on them, so it’s encouraging to see them coming together and coming around as players..” Staples talks about this in regard to the recent four-game run the Oilers are on, one where they’ve limited shots against (particularly Grade A scoring chances), and Broberg and Bouchard have been two of the better defenseman contributing to the positive turn. He acknowledges how much this is a positive sign, “…though both have shown solid flashes of play in the past, especially Bouchard in the second half and playoffs last season when he did well on a pairing with veteran Duncan Keith.”

The Oilers have been linked to multiple defensemen in trade rumors. Names like Jakob Chychrun, Joel Edmundson, John Klingberg, Erik Karlsson, and others are all potentially available, but all come with a steep price tag. It would certainly take a first-round pick, plus a player like Broberg or Bouchard to get a deal done for many of these names. Holland has yet to entertain the idea of giving up that much, at least not before giving both a legitimate chance to show what they’ve got this season. That goes particularly for Broberg, who might be the Oilers’ best defensive prospect.

Making a Trade Comes With Risk

Staples asks if anyone has really done their homework on a player like Chychrun to know if he’s a better fit for the Oilers than a player like Broberg. He writes, “I’ve yet to see anyone really credible — someone who has put in the necessary work analyzing him live and with game-tape — make such a claim.” He adds, “Consequently, and given the strong upward trend of Broberg and Bouchard’s play, I have major doubts about the sense of such a move.”

It’s not just the comparison of the players on the ice that needs to be taken into consideration before a trade is made. The one thing the Oilers have that helps is an entry-level deal for Broberg to work from — players like that are needed for any successful team to win a Stanley Cup — and a possible bridge deal for Bouchard. As good a contract as Chycrhun has, these two players can and should be less expensive over the next couple of seasons.

The Oilers may, eventually, make this move. That said, it’s likely they’ll take as much time as possible before deciding to pull the trigger on such a trade. It’s best to know as much as you can about the players you already have before shipping them out. In the case of players like Broberg and Bouchard — and to a lesser extent someone like Vincent Desharnais — the Oilers still have a lot to unpack here.

Next: Puljujarvi a Healthy Scratch for Oilers, Trade Talks Picking Up



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