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Evaluating the Edmonton Oilers’ Trade Deadline Deals

The Edmonton Oilers are having a good season, but they got even better at the trade deadline. Who came? What do they bring to the team?

It’s been one of the best seasons the Edmonton Oilers have had in several years. The team comes into the February 24 trade deadline positioned for a spot in the postseason playoffs. They have a strong team; and, at the trade deadline, they could have increased their chances to win. But, how did the Oilers fare at the deadline?

To answer that question directly, from my perspective I believe Oilers’ general manager Ken Holland did well. He went for players he knew from his time with the Detroit Red Wings, a team that was in a selling mood given that the team has the worst record in the NHL.

Related: Ken Holland Says Oilers Were In On Other Trades That Fell Through

At the draft deadline, Holland brought in two players from Detroit (defenseman Mike Green and right-winger Andreas Athanasiou) and also added Tyler Ennis from Ottawa (who’s almost at league minimum salary but who will be a value-added player). Even better, the Oilers gave up very little to add this depth to the team.

Edmonton’s Surrounding Its Stars with Added Resources

After these trades, the Oilers have worked to surround their two core stars – Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl – with some new resources. Green came from Detroit for Kyle Brodziak and a conditional draft pick Sunday. Antanasiou came from Detroit for veteran Sam Gagner and two second-round draft picks. {If you’re an Oilers fan, it’s a bit tough to see Gagner go. He’s been a soldier for the team and has not played with a quality Oilers team before. I’m sure he’ll miss the positive action.}

Green will give the Oilers veteran defensive depth as the Oilers engage in a heated playoff race. The 34-year-old has three goals and 11 points in 48 games this season. He’ll likely receive second-pair ice time in Edmonton before he becomes a free agent this offseason.

Athanasiou scored 30 goals last season. He’s speedy and skilled enough to play with McDavid, who together have the potential to light up the arena every night. One has to think the Oilers wouldn’t give up those two picks if they believed Antanasiou was only a rental. He’ll be a restricted free agent when the season ends, but I have to believe Holland would like to sign him to a contract extension with some term.

The 25-year-old Athanasiou is having a slow season with only 10 goals and 14 assists. In addition, his minus-45 rating is the worst in the NHL. In short, it’s been a horrible season for him. He’s also been critiqued as being selfish, but I’m thinking Holland believes the young man can be redeemed – he traded for him after all.

Athanasiou has also been known as a liability defensively, but he certainly has the potential to create some magic in the offensive zone. If he plays up to his ability, it will be tough for teams to match the speed he and his linemates can generate. 

Almost as an afterthought, the Oilers also added Tyler Ennis for a fifth-round pick to Ottawa. And, hometown lad Ennis has been a pretty good value wherever he’s been. I’m looking for him to score well. Overall it was a solid trade deadline by Ken Holland.

The 30-year-old Ennis has scored 14 goals and 33 points in 61 games. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent in July and I trust he’d love to sign with Edmonton.

Related: Edmonton Oilers Add Forward Tyler Ennis

Some Minor Deals

Undrafted 24-year-old goalie Angus Redmond was traded to the Oilers with a 2022 seventh-round draft pick for Joel Persson. Redmond has played the entire 2019-20 season with the ECHL Newfoundland Growlers, recording a .918 save percentage and a goals-against-average of 2.31 in 15 games. He’ll probably compete for a spot in Bakersfield next season.

The 25-year-old Persson will be heading to Anaheim. He scored two points in 13 NHL games this season, but he’s been playing in Bakersfield since December and has done well there, scoring 16 points in 27 AHL games. He’ll probably join up with the Ducks’ AHL affiliate in San Diego.

Ryan Kuffner came with Athanasiou from Detroit. In some ways, Kuffner helps restock the Oilers’ number of prospects. The 23-year-old winger is a smart young play, having suited up for Princeton University (an Ivy League school). He scored 22 goals with 22 assists in 31 games in his senior season (2018-19). Although he hasn’t found his mojo this season in the AHL Grand Rapids – having scored nine points in 32 games. Kuffner will report to AHL Bakersfield.

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