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Oilers to Be “Aggressive Buyers” at the NHL Trade Deadline

The Edmonton Oilers are going to be aggressive buyers at the NHL Trade Deadline, but where should their priority go?

According to Daniel Nugent-Bowman of The Athletic, expect the Edmonton Oilers to be “aggressive buyers” at this season’s NHL Trade Deadline. The publication took at look at all 32 teams and categorized them as aggressive buyers or seller and the Oilers are the former.

He writes:

The Oilers have played in five playoff series over the past two springtimes, and Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid are nearing the ends of their respective contracts. After a 14-3 run in their past 17 games and charging up the Western Conference standings, they have to be all in. They’re capped out and have little in the way of tradeable assets, so it’s time to get creative, especially since there are holes to fill.

Upon a deeper dive into what the team might be shopping for, the Athletic linked back to an article in December about the team’s needs. Since that post, the Oilers have rattled off another seven-straight wins and will be going for number eight against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night. They are five games over .500 and finally in a Wild card playoff spot. It’s no longer true that the Oilers have been getting nothing from their middle six, but it is true that the could be getting more.

Oilers pick up 7-2 win over Ducks

Part of that help might come in the form of Dylan Holloway and Sam Gagner. Both are healthy again and the latter is ready to return, just waiting for an opportunity to get into the lineup. Holloway is nearly ready and the thought is he might get a tryout as the third-line center. If that doesn’t pan out, the Oilers might be in the market for someone. Ryan McLeod was originally pegged to be that guy, but he’s found immediate chemistry with Leon Draisaitl and Warren Foegele as a winger.

Meanwhile, Connor Brown still hasn’t scored a goal this season. He’s been close and he’s played well on special teams, but he needs to pot something in the hopes that a few more will follow.

The Goalie Upgrade: Still a Need for the Oilers?

Ken Holland recent said in an interview, “I’ll watch Jack Campbell, I’ll work the phones, I’ll watch our team and ultimately between now and the trade deadline, make some decisions with our staff as to what we think we need to do.” For now, the current tandem of Stuart Skinner and Calvin Pickard is getting the job done, but the belief is that Edmonton might be looking for an upgrade there.

Stuart Skinner Edmonton Oilers NHL
Stuart Skinner Edmonton Oilers NHL

Skinner has been among the league’s hottest goaltenders since November. Pickard might be capable, but the sample size isn’t necessarily big enough to know how much of a load he can handle.

The Blue Line Corps Is Clicking: No Need to Aggressively Buy

While not necessarily full of star power, the defense has found a groove in Edmonton. Darnell Nurse is finally starting to get the credit he deserves and show that his contract isn’t an albatross. Evan Bouchard is skyrocketing into an elite offensive defenseman and rounding out his game. He’s got a legitimate shot to be an All-Star. Cody Ceci, Brett Kulak, and Mattias Ekholm are steady, with Ekholm being the veteran and calming, minute-munching leader. Vincent Desharnais has found another level, no longer the liability as a rookie he once was.

If the Oilers are healthy, there’s no need necessarily for an upgrade there, even if some depth would be nice.

Next: Insider Has Painful Prediction About Campbell’s Future with Oilers

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4 Comments

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