No doubt about it, the Edmonton Oilers were one of the most disappointing teams in the entire NHL during the 2017-18 season. After finally qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in a decade last season, the Oilers fell flat on their collective faces in 2017-18 season leaving fans to wonder whether this team is on the rise or still stuck in neutral.
It’s obvious to see where things went wrong with the Oilers this season. Goal scoring from anyone NOT named Connor McDavid was hard to come by. The Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle departures are being felt, especially so when you consider that their replacements (Milan Lucic and Ryan Strome) have been so inconsistent. In goal Cam Talbot took a step backward and by the end of the season looked worn out and beaten down. Perhaps the team’s biggest shortcoming though was on the blue line. Oscar Klefbom and Adam Larsson provided the Oilers with a stable pairing in 2016-17, but both fell off the map in 2017-18. It’s clear that if the Oilers are going be better in 2018-19, they’ll need to address each of these concerns.
Pending unrestricted free agent Patrick Maroon, who was dealt from the Oilers to the New Jersey Devils at the NHL Trade Deadline, could re-join the squad to provide them with some goal scoring punch and it’s possible that the general manager Pete Chiarelli takes a run at other UFA wingers including James van Riemsdyk or James Neal. But, according to anonymous rumor blogger Eklund the Oilers are planning something much bigger.
How big? Carlson/Karlsson.
As in, leading NHL defensive scoring and pending free agent John Carlson of the Washington Capitals and Ottawa Senators superstar captain Erik Karlsson.
Here’s the full report from Eklund, but bear in mind that the dubious rumor monger has a spotty track record for being correct on these types of things. In other words, take it with a giant grain of salt:
When Maroon was dealt from Edmonton it was widely believed he would be a pure rental and return to where Connor McDavid wanted him…on the Oilers…That was about as sure of a bet as you could make…Now suddenly…it sounds like Maroon won’t be back in Edmonton…and likely re-signed in NJ. What’s going on here….
So I made some calls last night and this morning and was told “The Oilers are going big. Really big. They are spending the money elsewhere…to bolster the defense..” When I asked if that meant Erik Karlsson or John Carlson I was told, “Yes.”
John Carlson is a UFA of course, but Erik has a year to go and would require a trade..So here we are…Could Klefbom be moved to Ottawa as part of a package? Again my source replied “Yes. Absolutely” More to come..
Interesting? Definitely. Likely? Probably not.
Still, it’s fun food for thought. There’s no doubt that the addition of Carlson or Karlsson would absolutely overhaul the underwhelming Oilers defense corps. A top pairing of Karlsson/Carlson and Larsson has the potential to be one of the best defense pairings in the Western Conference. Such an addition would allow Klefbom to bump down a slot with other depth defenders like Darnell Nurse, Kris Russell and Andrej Sekera to move down the lineup accordingly. Of course... there's just a little thing called the Salary Cap which may get in the way, but hey let's not let the facts gets in the way of a good Eklund rumor.