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Oilers “Auditions” for a Top-Six Winger Meant to Solve Deadline Crisis

The Edmonton Oilers are holding open auditions to find a second-line winger. The hope is someone grabs the spot, changing deadline plans.

According to TSN’s Ryan Rishaug, the Edmonton Oilers are holding “open auditions” in an attempt to find a permanent solution for their second line. The idea is to find a winger who can regularly play alongside Leon Draisaitl and if they can find someone, it could eliminate the need to spend big at the NHL Trade Deadline.

Rishaug explained that the team had been looking for this player for some time. “They’ve been rolling players through all season long trying to see if internally there might be a fit.” Initially, the idea was that Connor Brown was to be that player. His season has been an unmitigated disaster offensively.

Ryan McLeod got a look there for a while and ended the last game in that position. Still, he’s not been able to hold the spot. He offers speed, skill, and an ability to forecheck and create space.

Corey Perry was added to the team recently and he’s been pretty good so far. He may be that guy, but the Oilers will watch closely over the next two weeks to see if he can keep up the pace given his age and slower foot speed.

Warren Foegele got a look, but they like him on the third line. Mattias Janmark did too, but everyone in the organization is aware he’s not a top-six forward. His strength is depth and as a penalty killer.

What Happens if the Oilers Do Find Their Winger Internally?

If Edmonton can promote from within and slot a player in that position, it allows the team to shift gears heading into the trade deadline. They can either focus on adding a third-line center — preferably someone who can also play the wing — or they can prioritize defense.

Ryan McLeod of the Edmonton Oilers has the potential for a breakout NHL season
Ryan McLeod of the Edmonton Oilers has the potential for a breakout NHL season

The deal would also help alleviate any pressure to move the first-round pick in 2024 or a prospect like Philip Broberg. GM Ken Holland is prepared to make a big trade, but he’d prefer not to give up his best assets in the deal. Rishaug notes, the priority today is a right-winger. He adds, but “Ken Holland would like nothing more than to see someone on the team grab it.”

Currently, the favorite to secure the role is Ryan McLeod. It will be interesting to see if he can step up over the next week and remove the need to go after a player like Jake Guentzel, Vladimir Tarasenko, or Jordan Eberle.

Next: Oilers Eyeing 5 Wingers for Draisaitl Ahead of the Trade Deadline

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