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Insider Hints at Oilers’ Savvy Strategy As Trade Deadline Nears

The Edmonton Oilers have a hand to play at this season’s NHL Trade Deadline and if Holland works his cards right, it will be a savvy move.

The Edmonton Oilers are going to be buyers ahead of this season’s NHL Trade Deadline. But, they’re playing in a relatively un-even environment. Sure, their salary cap issues are of their own doing, but they’re also relatively healthy. Being injury-free is working against them as the March 8 trade deadline date nears. Since the trade deadline rules are the same, — but also different — the Oilers need to be savvy. Do they have a strategy that will see them get what they need and not overpay?

For instance, the Vegas Golden Knights are also actively gauging the trade market. The difference between Edmonton and Vegas is that the Golden Knights are blessed with a ton of cap space now that Mark Stone is on the LTIR. They plan to use that cap space to their advantage, spending upwards of $9.5 million in additional money they hadn’t accounted for. Barring someone getting hurt between now and March 8th (not ideal) the Oilers don’t have that flexibility.

Jeff Jackson Ken Holland Oilers NHL

Yet, as Pierre LeBrun points out in a recent article for The Athletic, Holland may have a plan. To combat the fact he can’t go spending money like Vegas or some other teams working in LTIR can, the Oilers have a different strategy.

Holland Intends to Wait Out the Other Trade Deadline Buyers

LeBrun explains that Holland is going to play the supply and demand game. He may not get his top target, but the expectation is that he will get someone useful and get that player at a bargain price. The NHL insider notes, “So what I’m getting at is that if you examine the forward market at large, you’re probably looking at just five or six teams buying when there’s at least double that amount of players available.” He adds, “That’s why I think the Oilers can afford to be patient for a while — because I think the sellers may have to drop their prices closer to next Friday.”

It has been reported that Holland has a ton of irons in the fire. It makes sense then that he’s open to serval trade possibilities and hasn’t keyed in on just one forward. LeBrun says:

Now, not all forwards are the same. There could still be a bidding war on some specific, higher-end guys. But regardless of how it plays out, I don’t think Edmonton leaves the deadline empty-handed at forward. The Oilers probably have to let rival Vegas get its deal done first, but they are adding somebody. The market should probably come to them — even with their complicated salary cap situation.

The Right Deadline Strategy for the Oilers

Having failed to land Chris Tanev because the Calgary Flames didn’t want to take back a contract. In other words, Holland knows what the market looks like. He’ll have to stay patient, waiting for the sellers to lower the prices. If these teams find that the buyers are limited, the Oilers and their demands might be among the few options. That then puts the leverage on Holland’s side.

This means Edmonton might not get Jake Guentzel, but it also means they won’t overpay for an asset that another team gives a huge haul to acquire.

Next: Oilers Added Top-4 D-Man in Offer to Flames For Tanev [Rumor]

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