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Edmonton Oilers

Oilers Opted to Keep Roster Intact vs. Bigger Trade Deadline Deals

The Edmonton Oilers could have made bigger trade deadline deals, but instead opted to bet on their own roster. Was that the right move?

The Edmonton Oilers added to their lineup with the acquisitions of Adam Henrique, Sam Carrick, and Troy Stecher at this season’s NHL Trade Deadline. All should be effective players and offer depth and flexibility to head coach Kris Knoblauch. But, none of them are probably categorized as big additions. The Oilers chose not to take a home run swing this season, even though this is a year in which the franchise is deemed a contender and their window to push for the Stanley Cup might be closing.

When the dust settled, the team’s strategy was to steer away from removing pieces from their active roster. While they could have used a star winger or top-four defensemen, General Manager Ken Holland opted to maintain the status quo.

Does That Mean the Oilers Didn’t Try for a Bigger Trade?

Just because the Oilers didn’t go big, it doesn’t mean they didn’t try.

One of the rumored targets was defenseman Chris Tanev. He was a popular rental option for many teams and the Oilers were said to be in the mix. However, the Flames were hesitant to facilitate a move to a division rival without a premium return. Negotiations also stumbled when the Oilers needed the Flames to absorb Cody Ceci‘s contract (a speculated offer). It is said Edmonton offered up the first-round pick as a sweetener, but ultimately the deal fell through, with the Flames opting for a different trade with Dallas.

Chris Tanev Oilers trade talk

Another potential trade involved Warren Foegele, a pending unrestricted free agent enjoying a career season. It’s not clear who he was offered for, or if any deal would have happened in subsequent moves. But, the Oilers contemplated dealing Foegele for an upgrade in the top six, targeting players like Tyler Toffoli, Vladimir Tarasenko, and Jake Guentzel. However, steep prices, player preferences, and stiff competition in the market prevented these deals from materializing.

The Oilers Wanted To Keep Their Own Guys

Reports hint that certain players on the Oilers’ roster expressed a desire for specific teammates to remain, potentially influencing Holland’s decision-making process. There was a legitimate concern that too much tinkering could pose issues instead of help. Notably, star player Connor McDavid voiced confidence in the current lineup this past off-season and the belief is that his opinion hasn’t changed.

While McDavid was the first to admit that Holland isn’t asking him if a particular deal should be made or even his specific opinion on a certain trade, McDavid did say Holland kept him in the loop on several ideas. It’s logical to assume both Holland and McDavid agreed that if the really big gets weren’t available, it was best to stick with the players they knew.

Cody Ceci Warren Foegele Oilers trade talk

Specifically, some reports suggest that some Oilers players were reluctant to see Ceci leave. He was the player dangled most at the deadline, but there’s a firm belief in the locker room that he’s more than capable. He’s a well-liked teammate and he’s been a steady solider for the Oilers since his arrival.

Well ahead of the deadline, reports were that Holland explored the goaltending market, assessing the availability of Jack Campbell. It was quickly learned the price to move him would be high. Holland backed off of the idea and when Stuart Skinner and Calvin Pickard started to play well as a tandem, Edmonton shifted focus away from improving their goaltending.

Oilers Are Betting On Their Current Mix

All in all, there were bigger deals out there for the Oilers if they were willing to pay the price. But, Holland likes his team and the roster has a belief in the players already in the mix. The consensus was to fill holes while not removing mainstays. That’s what the Oilers did this season. It remains to be seen if the decision pays dividends and leads to a long playoff run and possible Stanley Cup.

Next: Jack Campbell News Offers Promise for Oilers Playoff Goaltending

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Devon White

    March 13, 2024 at 4:35 pm

    No offense I don’t see them making it far in these playoffs again to be honest coming from a long time Oilers fan. You would think they would go all in but no.

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