The Edmonton Oilers have had an extremely embarrassing season and one in which they have drastically regressed from the previous season in which they looked like a legitimate playoff contender, making it to the second round. It becomes even more ridiculous when you realize that they have who many consider to be the best player in the world on their roster in Oilers' captain Connor McDavid.
The majority of the blame for the poor season has fallen on the head of general manager Peter Chiarelli, who has orchestrated a series of trades and contract signings that have baffled fans and pundits alike. Those moves including trading Taylor Hall, a player that is being considered a contender and perhaps even the favorite for the Hart Trophy this season. Trading away the draft pick that eventually became Calder Trophy favorite Matthew Barzal for defenseman Griffin Reinhardt. Trading away Jordan Eberle and also singing a player already on the decline in veteran forward Milan Lucic to a massive contract he could never have possibly lived up to.
This week Edmonton Oilers team president Bob Nicholson made comments suggesting that things are about to change drastically in Edmonton.
“We have a plan and we are going to get it right,” “There will be some change, but we are not going to make those until the end of the year,” “I think we want to make sure that we get the right culture in the dressing room,” said Nicholson as per Sportsnet.
“Fans will buy in if they can understand the plan once we make the changes.”
If they need any suggestion for important changes, Oilers insider and Edmonton Journal reporter Jim Matheson has a specific one in mind. As he posted on Wednesday morning on social media, Matheson believes the Oilers need more than just a small boost on the back end, and have the one name Oilers fans would dream to see land in Edmonton.
"Continued problem for Oilers. No offence from back-end. You bet they need Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Of course at what price?"
While Matheson asks a valid question with a potential return price for OEL, there is a bigger obstacle in the way. On Thursday, Ekman-Larsson finally spoke out on his free-agent plan to Sportsnet's Iain MacIntyre, who revealed the star defenseman's point of view on the controversial subject on Sportsnet:
"Asked about the Doughty Plan this week, Arizona Coyotes’ Ekman-Larsson said: "It’s just money. It’s not going to make you happier. It might make your life a little bit easier but it’s not going to make you happier. I feel if you’re around good people, that’s what makes you happy. I feel like I have that here. This is where I want to be."
Back In January, Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun had suggested that “not only do the Coyotes want two high-end players”… “they’re also asking for a first-round pick" in a trade for OEL. A hefty price to pay, but there’s no real harm in asking though and because OEL’s contract is up until two summers from now so the Oilers could have time to orchestrate such a deal at the draft... who knows?
Ekman Larsson's six-year, $33-million contract expires after next season and though he has made it clear he wants to stay in Arizona, general manager John Chayka could still move his best blue liner, despite the fact he has said numerous times he’d like to re-sign Ekman-Larsson.
"I feel like I could take the easy way out, but that’s not my personality," Ekman-Larsson said. "I want to be the guy who turns it around and really be a difference-maker."
He would surely be the difference maker in Edmonton... what do you say?