NHL Trade Deadline: The Edmonton Oilers find themselves immersed in a tight battle with the Ducks and Kings for top spot in the Pacific Division. Heading into Tuesday night, Edmonton sat tied with Anaheim for 2nd with 66 points.
Continuing with our 30-team preview ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline, we turn our focus to the Edmonton Oilers, a team that has surprised many folks in 2016-17. For years, the Oilers were picking at the top of the draft, but had nothing to show for it. Well, things are finally looking up for orange and blue as they find themselves immersed in a tight divisional race.
Heading into Tuesday night, San Jose sits atop the Pacific Division with 59 points in 53 games. Anaheim sits tied with Edmonton for second at 66 points, but the Ducks have a game in hand (54gp). With just 27 games remaining, it seems the Oilers are destined to finally snap a long playoff drought.
The Oilers will be in unchartered territory this season and they find themselves comfortably in a playoff spot, rather than sitting at the bottom of the standings. The Oilers will be considered buyers this year after selling for the better part of a decade.
Two years ago in Craig MacTavish‘s last season at the helm, the Oilers dealt their best defenseman Jeff Petry for what ended up being a 2nd round pick and a 4th round pick.
Under Peter Chiarelli last season, the Oilers sold everything that wasn’t in their future plans. They dealt Anders Nilsson to the Blues for a 5th round pick. They dealt Justin Schultz and Teddy Purcell to the Penguins and Panthers for 3rd round picks.
After selling off what he could, Chiarelli actually brought in a useful player in Patrick Maroon for the low price of Martin Gernat and a 4th round pick.
BIGGEST NEED: Secondary scoring
The Edmonton Oilers are scoring goals at a really high rate, but a lot of it has come from just Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Benoit Pouliot and Milan Lucic have underwhelmed to this point and that is hurting the club.
Ideally, the Oilers would add scoring wingers on the cheap, and if they could move Draisaitl back to his natural center position and get three scoring lines going, they would solidify their playoff spot.
Peter Chiarelli has mentioned he is more into tweaking his roster than making any drastic changes, but the Maroon deal proves he is savvy enough to find a diamond in the rough that can contribute right away.
DEADLINE PREDICTION: Two average additions
While the Oilers could use a player like New Jersey‘s PA Parenteau or Arizona‘s Radim Vrbata, the club will likely go a different route and possibly move out a struggling player and replace him.
The Oilers could package a prospect with Benoit Pouliot to bring in another player and rid themselves of Pouliot’s contract.
Another area of concern the Oilers will address is the backup goalie position. Cam Talbot is the most overworked goaltender, and he will need some rest down the stretch. The Oilers will move mountains to upgrade Laurent Brossoit and Jonas Gustavsson.