Ken Holland Must Act At The Trade Deadline In Order For the Oilers Not To Miss The Playoffs
The Edmonton Oilers find themselves in a precarious situation. Currently, the Oilers sit in the first wild-card position in the Western Conference with 51 points. However, nobody really feels confident about their situation with the Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues only four points back.
Getting Evander Kane back into the lineup will certainly help. Kane has been out of the lineup after his wrist was slashed earlier in the season. Like last year, Kane will bring a jolt to the lineup. The problem is the Oilers need help on defense.
As Daniel Nugent-Bowman of The Athletic notes, the Oilers have needed help on defense since game two of the regular season. They have been linked to several players recently including Jakob Chychrun, Joel Edmundson, Matt Dumba, and Vladislav Gavrikov.
But the issue is the Oilers like most teams are up against the salary cap with little to no wiggle room. It is up to general manager Ken Holland to get them out of this position.
“The problem is Holland has put himself in an untenable position. The Oilers have been in LTIR all season and aren’t accruing cap space. They were carrying just 21 players before Kane’s injury to be cap compliant. Every player with a $5 million cap hit or higher has no-trade protection.”
There are perilously few players with salaries large enough to open the requisite space for an impactful addition and fewer still with any type of trade value. Jesse Puljujarvi showed some spark against the Kings but was a fourth-liner. Warren Foegele returned to the lineup after missing two games as a healthy scratch.
Neither player will get the return the Oilers are looking for. In order to make that happen Holland may have to sweeten the pot with a higher draft pick or part with a prospect. Something he may not want to do.
However, right now the Oilers need to do something to improve or fear missing the playoffs as Connor McDavid continues his historic season.