Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek got into a conversation about the Edmonton Oilers and what they should do with this dismal season. While they aren’t out of it yet, their start has been anything but positive and now with another loss in Florida, the Oilers are back on a losing streak and letting in goals because their incredibly terrible defense has been costing them games.
Marek asked Friedman if this was the year the Oilers go for it regardless of their start. In fact, is it more imperative the Oilers push hard to fix this team because of the contract situations surrounding Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Marek noted there’s a theory that “… maybe it shouldn’t matter what we pay, we need the guy right now.” In saying that, Marek was talking about the Oilers adding that one piece that would stop the dam from leaking. Specifically, that would be a better goaltender or a smart player on defense.
He added, maybe the Oilers need to say, “We’re going to go into this and we know we’re going to quote, unquote, lose the trade. We’re going to overpay, but we need this guy or these guys right now.” Friedman said, “I think that’s what they’re weighing.”
Friedman said that so far the answer to that question has been no, but the Oilers are throwing around that possibility. He hinted that Oilers’ brass know that both of those games in Florida — one against the Lightning and the other the Panthers — were winnable. He said the Oilers scored four goals and in the NHL, you should be able to win when you score four goals. But, the Oilers defense is so bad, that even an elite or legitimate starting goaltender might not help. “It’s not only goaltending, there’s a lot of breakdowns happening on these goals,” Friedman said.
Friedman said, if the Oilers underlying numbers were saying something other than what the wins and losses add up to. Or, if the team was better than their record, it would be fine to go for it. He said they have to look at the way they are losing and how the goals are going in and it might not be the smart move. “It’s not going to fix everything that ails you.”
He noted that contract clarity on Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl might be the more important factor when determining whether or not to make a big move. If the feeling is the Oilers are going to lose these players, maybe they do a trade to ensure that doesn’t happen.
Would a Goalie Trade Even Matter?
If the Oilers are inevitably going to lose any trade they make to land a goalie, is it worth doing it? This is especially true if the defense remains so outlandishly unreliable that no goaltender can help? Ryan Whitney and Paul Bissonette got into a conversation about what happens if the trade doesn’t pan out. They used Jordan Binnington as the example. If Edmonton trades a handful of players to St. Louis for Binnington and then that doesn’t work out, they’ve mortgaged their future (draft picks and prospects) for a goalie they are stuck with.
This is a tricky spot for the Oilers to be in. They believe they’re better than their record indicates and they don’t know why they’re struggling so badly. Everyone is having their worst games and the worst possible times and making a trade and effectively dismantling the roster to reward players who should be able to figure this out seems like the wrong move. But, the Oilers might not have a choice if winning is the only motivation.
As for who the team could trade that might have value, Whitney believes the conversation starts with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
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