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Edmonton Oilers

Oilers’ Unique Trade Deadline Insight Explains Lack of Moves

The Edmonton Oilers were less active at the trade deadline than some thought they would be. It’s because they knew something others didn’t.

According to TSN’s Director of Scouting Craig Button, the Edmonton Oilers knew something about their roster that almost everyone else seemed to overlook. While insiders and fans were busy focusing on the need for a top-six winger and an upgrade to their top-four defensive core, GM Ken Holland wanted lineup flexibility. He needed depth, and Button says it was for one reason — the Oilers were already really, really good. Holland’s insight into what the roster was, while others worried about what it wasn’t, explains the team’s trade deadline moves.

Specifically, Button noted that in adding Adam Henrique and Sam Carrick, the Oilers addressed their biggest need, forward depth. He said, “And I think that that’s a real significant move for the Oilers. They’ve played 40 games this year where they have been lights out great defensively, offensively and everything.” Button was right too. The Oilers have gone on numerous stretches where they’ve completely shut down the opposition and limited top teams to two or fewer goals for long stretches. That doesn’t happen with a blue-line corps that isn’t good enough.

Ken Holland Oilers trade deadline

Holland never felt this team, as is, couldn’t hang. They’ve already proven themselves capable of climbing out of an early hole. The group has also shown they can maintain a certain level of play over the course of 16 or 17 games. This is a roster that has a firm belief in what they were capable of, even with the pieces they already had in the mix. That’s why Holland did what he could not to subtract from the roster unless the upgrade was so obvious he would have been foolish not to consider a deal.

The Current Oilers Just Needed a Little Deadline Help

While teams like Vegas and Winnipeg took huge deadline swings, Edmonton added, but cautiously. The plan was not to disrupt a roster that has amazing chemistry. He didn’t want to send the message he doubted anyone in that room. Instead, the deadline was about trying to find the pieces that best accentuated what was already in place.

Button says the additions of Henrique and Carrick simply means no one on the Oilers roster needs to play out of position or be elevated into a role they can’t handle. He noted, “It pushes other players down the lineup right? They’re not scaled up too high. And now what you’re able to do, as you’re able to grind. You’re able to sustain through courses of the games.”

This team might not have a dynamic scorer to play alongside Leon Draisaitl, but what they have are options. The Oilers might not have another defenseman who can eat 25 minutes, but they have six who can all play 18 minutes or more. They also have replacements if their relatively strong health this season takes an unfortunate turn.

Next: Oilers Looking to Extend Contracts for Two Deadline Acquisitions

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