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Oilers Prioritizing Right-Shot Defenseman Over Goalie at Trade Deadline

The Edmonton Oilers don’t likely have room to improve both their goaltender and land a right-shot defenseman. Which is their priority?

It was made fairly clear during Ken Holland’s press conference on Thursday that the Edmonton Oilers might not be making an upgrade in goal. It’s not because the team doesn’t want to, but the price to do so is more than Holland is willing to spend and as per a report by Darren Dreger of TSN, the team has made other needs a bigger priority.

Related: Oilers Fire Dave Tippett, Bring Woodcroft In as Coach

Dreger reports during the latest TSN Insider Trading that Holland should (or is) prioritize improving the blue line more than actually going out and acquiring another goaltender. There are reports that he’s looked into Martin Jones out of Philadelphia but the Flyers want more than a fifth-round selection and Holland isn’t willing. The Oilers’ GM has also inquired about Joonas Korpisalo, but Columbus apparently wants a second and third-round pick. Again, Holland isn’t going to do that. With no good goaltender readily available, is thinking might have shifted to trying to shut down chances against.

Tyson Barrie Mike Smith Oilers
Tyson Barrie Mike Smith Oilers

Dreger notes that no matter what goaltender the Oilers bring in, or if they run with the group they already have, “you’ve got to look much deeper than that and look at the defensive core of the Edmonton Oilers.” He added:

“What they need is a top three, top four right shot defence, because their defence collectively has not been good enough. They give up Grade ‘A’ chances night after night, which obviously puts more stress on the Edmonton Oilers.”

Currently, the Oilers are running with a combination of Evan Bouchard, Tyson Barrie, and Cody Ceci. A lack of experience and too much focus on offense could be why the Oilers are giving other teams high-scoring danger chances. It doesn’t help that Edmonton just learned they’ll be without Duncan Keith for the next 2-to-4 weeks.

The Oilers Can’t Fix Both Needs

The team doesn’t have enough salary-cap space nor do they have the assets to fix both their goaltending issues and bring in another defenseman. If acquiring a goaltender who is better than Mikko Koskinen or a healthy Mike Smith, Edmonton will have to pay for it. If they want to add a top three, top four defenceman on top of it, Holland is giving up almost every asset he’s got going into this year’s draft.

“So tough decisions ahead for Holland but that right shot d-man is a priority,” Dreger notes.

Next: Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs’ 5-2 Loss to the Flames

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