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Oilers Next Three Games Could Determine NHL Trade Deadline Plans

The Edmonton Oilers head out on a tough stretch of games against the Eastern Conference’s best teams. How they play could affect deadline.

The Edmonton Oilers lost an ugly one on Sunday evening to the Minnesota Wild. Going down 4-0 early in the game, they couldn’t bounce back and left both goaltenders Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith out to dry in a 7-3 loss that brought their five-game winning streak to an end. The Oilers actually outshot the Wild and had better numbers during much of the contest, but leaked some awful chances against and didn’t get the job done on special teams. Those plays will cripple the team down their stretch run and into the playoffs.

Related: “Next Man Up” After Oilers Lose Puljujarvi to Lower-Body Injury

As such, the Oilers will have to figure out where they need to make upgrades before March 21. They’d love to add a goaltender, another defenseman, and some depth at forward, but the team doesn’t have the salary-cap space to do everything. Figuring out where the priority should be is the only thing that matters between now and the deadline and that won’t be easy as the Oilers take on arguably the three best Eastern Conference teams in their upcoming road trip.

If the Oilers thought things were difficult against the Wild, Edmonton plays Tampa Bay, Florida and Carolina over the course of the next week. It will be a true test of where the Oilers are at and should give GM Ken Holland a real indication about what he still needs, and how badly.

Mikko Koskinen Mike Smith Oilers

Head coach Jay Woodcroft talked about the importance of keeping in the right frame of mind as the Oilers face one of their biggest challenges this season. He noted, “I understand the narrative, I get it.” He added, “But like I said, I’m going to keep going back to this: we’ve asked our players to keep our picture small, to not worry about the noise from the outside, to just worry about controlling their effort, their energy level, their detail in practice and being their very best on a daily basis.”

“That’s where our attention is. It starts with a travel day. It moves onto a practice day and eventually, we’re going to be ready to play the Tampa Bay Lightning.” If the Oilers can come out with a big win early in the road trip, that confidence could be huge and for the GM, it could mean taking a breath and evaluating the team without any sense of needing to push the panic button on a quick trade.

Next: Los Angeles Kings Rumored Frontrunners for Jakob Chychrun



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