Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland was a guest on Bob Stauffer’s Oilers Now radio show and shared his thoughts on where the organization is currently at and what it means for the team moving forward.
The GM said he’s thrilled with where the team currently sits — and why wouldn’t he be? The Oilers rank among the top of the NHL in special teams, they employ the best one-two punch in hockey with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and their goaltending has been better than expected. They’ve had prospects show extremely well and are deep in the system with depth in positions for the first time in a while.
Knowing all of that led to questions about what that means for the team’s immediate future, especially in respect to possible trades. Because, should things stay on course, the Oilers are headed for the playoffs.
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Oilers Needs vs Ability to Do Something
No doubt, the Oilers could use a third-line center. That doesn’t mean one will be easy to come by. Perhaps they might want another second-line winger. Like all teams, they have needs.
Plenty of names have been tossed around the rumor mill and connected to something the Oilers might try to do, including Jean-Gabriel Pageau. But, is this the time for the Oilers to make a move?
It doesn’t appear so.
Insiders are watching the Oilers closely, thinking they might be one of many teams scouring the trade market and waiting for an opportunity to fill a hole. Holland isn’t quite ready to show his hand. And, to his credit, there’s still time.
Holland Not Getting Ahead of Himself
At the start of the year, Holland’s goal was to be competitive and make the postseason. That said, this was not the year to go all-in and add pieces that would contend in the playoffs. His hope was that with the right coach, right complimentary pieces and some luck, good results would come.
That’s an understatement, if there ever was one.
The Oilers are certainly in better standing than they’d figured they be when they looked at the team in June. But, it’s still early.
Holland insinuated that the Oilers intend to keep the status quo for a couple of months and then, should their record continue, could make a significant addition that will help the team ensure a playoff birth. This is a play that makes a lot of sense.
Holland said, “First order of business is to keep our foot on the pedal and find a way to make the playoffs.” He added, “Right now it’s all quiet on the trade front.” He added when asked about making a trade:
“We’re a couple of months away from that. If we can continue, certainly it’s my job, my responsibility to try to, at the right price try to add another little piece.”
But first, Holland said they need to play their way into that situation.
It doesn’t appear the Oilers will decline but why not make sure? If Edmonton continues on this pace and in the next month is still near the top of the Pacific Division and the Western Conference, that’s something that the GM is prepared to add to.
On the Puljujarvi Front
Holland said he needs to do something by Sunday if he’s going to move Jesse Puljujarvi. It doesn’t seem like that’s likely to happen.
His response to what’s going on there seems to suggest the Oilers and the player are going to let the December 1st deadline pass by with the winger still in Finland. Sure, Puljujarvi might be a good fit in that second-line winger spot, but the player seems content to stay where he is and the Oilers aren’t exactly missing him.