NHL Rumors: The Edmonton Oilers Will Tinker With Their Lineup But Don’t Expect Huge Changes
Oilers will tinker as opposed to huge changes

David Staples of the Edmonton Journal: Edmonton Oilers president Bob Nicholson on what you can expect from Oilers GM Ken Holland this offseason.

“We’ve got two of the best players in the world and we’re not going to make huge changes but Ken will tinker with this line-up and make us a better hockey club and maybe more importantly get us to where we’re more consistent, so maybe not just one year but a number of years ahead of us.”

Oilers GM Holland shortly after their season ended.

“This is my philosophy. I don’t know if it’s right or it’s wrong, but you’ve got to have a philosophy. My philosophy is on continuity and patience. But you’ve got to have change. You need change to make the team better. We wheeled a lot of bodies in here but you can’t just year wheel six and seven and eight bodies out, wheel in six and seven and eight bodies, and the next summer wheel out six and seven, and wheel in, and think that you’re going to build anything.”

There has been some speculation of moving out some of their veteran defensemen. Sure a big move could happen, but more than likely a big move won’t come.

Bob Stauffer confirmed Elliotte Friedman’s report that the Oilers inquired about Arizona Coyotes Darcy Kuemper and Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

The Oilers have around $7 million in cap space and will need to find a goalie. Kris Russell will likely be moved out to make room for Caleb Jones. A winger for Connor McDavid and a third-line center are other areas of need.

One why the Oilers may not get much for Athanasiou

Bruce McCurdy of the Edmonton Journal: TSNs Frank Seravalli when talking with Allan Mitchell on Edmonton Oilers pending RFA forward Andreas Athanasiou, who is owed a $3 million qualifying offer.

“It’s really the $3 million qualifying offer that’s throwing a wrench into things. If Athanasiou’s camp were to come back and say… we would be amenable to signing for less, the Oilers would be listening. But it’s clear that isn’t the case, they’re sensing the Oilers can’t afford the $3 million cap hit based on the way that he played, and based on their current structure. Even though they’ve got a sunk cost of two second round picks, they may need to let him walk and not issue that qualifying offer.

So that in turn is limiting their ability to get something back for his rights. (Other teams would say) ‘why would we trade you a pick to get his rights when we could potentially talk to him as a UFA in three weeks time if you don’t qualify him?’

So that’s where the Oilers are being squeezed on A.A. They’re certainly talking to a number of teams trying to gauge the market if they can drum one up.”