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Edmonton Oilers

Oilers Said to Be Looking to Add to Team Toughness

With Evander Kane out of the lineup, it sounds like GM Ken Holland has made finding some grit a priority for the Edmonton Oilers.

Elliotte Friedman noted during Sportsnet’s 32 Thoughts segment on Saturday that the Edmonton Oilers might be trying to add a depth forward or two who will add an element of team toughness to the roster. We wrote a couple of days ago that speculation was the team might be looking around the league at a possible trade or two, but Friedman’s report seems to suggest this might be a priority in the short term for the roster.

The NHL insider noted that with Kane out, they’re a lot easier to play against. He said, “I do think the Oilers are looking to see, They’re tight against the cap. Can they find a budget player or two that can make a difference in some of their forward depth?”

Evander Kane Oilers hat trick
Evander Kane Oilers hat trick

Further to that, and as per Kurt Leavins of The Edmonton Journal, the Oilers needed three things heading into the season: “The three things were “Team Toughness,” “Goaltending” and “Defence.” And 21 games in, I think it is fair to say that those observations have proven all too prophetic.” He adds, when Evander Kane went down with that freak wrist injury it exposed the team’s lack of grit. And, without players like Zack Kassian, Duncan Keith, and even Kris Russell and Josh Archibald who were all ‘hard to play against.’, he expects GM Ken Holland to start kicking tires on cap-friendly targets “that may help inject more of that back into the lineup and sooner rather than later.”

The Oilers can’t spend much money to get what they need. Tight against the cap, they do have some relief on LTIR, but they’ll need to save space for Kane to come back into the lineup around February. And, if their plan is to add another defenseman or address some of the other areas Leavins points out, Holland will need to save some space prior to the NHL Trade Deadline.

As for who is available on the market, the ideal target might be a strong stay-at-home defenseman who has an element of grit in his game. That might be Holland’s best to bet kill two birds with one stone. And, with Markus Niemelainen out in place of Philip Broberg, the Oilers have already taken away from the hitting in that department.

Next: Bouchard, Holloway Score First Goals For Oilers in Comeback Win

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