The Edmonton Oilers would mostly likely like to move on from this disappointing season, as they sit 11 points out of the last available Wild Card spot in the Western Conference with a 18-23-3 record worth 39 points after 44 games.
However, it has been reported that the Oilers will not press the panic button and mortgage the future to save whatever is left of the current season. NHL insider Elliotte Friedman, who took the air on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 on Friday, confirmed that no major move to bring in help should be made by general manager Peter Chiarelli.
“I think Edmonton – they have two more games,” said Friedman on 960. “They play tonight in Arizona and they play tomorrow in Vegas, and then they have their break. And those meetings are going to be something else. Those five days off, in terms of what they’re going to talk about and what they’re going to think… If I was them, I would probably keep it together for the rest of the year, not do anything – trade your UFAs – not do anything too crazy unless something just dropped on your lap that you couldn’t say no to, and then really take a long, hard look.
“I think Edmonton is in a dangerous spot because you’re emotional, you’re angry, you can’t believe where you are. It’s almost when you have to take a timeout and say, ‘We’re closed for business because we’re not doing anything dumb."
However, one player is almost sure to be out of Edmonton shortly, according to Friedman. Patrick Maroon is not expected to be an Oiler after the trade deadline as he explained on his radio segment:
“I think he’s going to get traded,” predicted Friedman. “I don’t think there’s a doubt that he’s going to get traded. I would be surprised that they’re keeping him. I don’t see any way that he finishes – I shouldn’t say that because there’s always a way. I would say it is extremely, extremely unlikely that he finishes this year in Edmonton.
“ … He plays a heavy game, which is always better for the playoffs, and he’s shown that he can play with faster players. He had a good chemistry with McDavid. So yeah, there’s a lot to like about him. But I’m sure there will be a lot of interest. And he’s not going to cost you as much as Evander Kane would or Hoffman would or someone else like that, or Pacioretty.”
Trade chatter has recently focused on Evander Kane, Mike Hoffman and Max Pacioretty, but rival teams looking for an offensive boost could decide to go after Maroon seeing that he will be a cheaper option down the line.
Maroon owns a $1.5 million cap hit that will make him attractive to suitors, and does not have any trade protection in his contract to stop a move.
Changes MUST take place
While a trade (for Maroon) could be imminent, NHL insider Darren Dreger has been clear about one thing in Edmonton: something needs to happen to help the team in the future.
“Mind-boggling is a term that’s been used too many times in Edmonton, but it really, truly is,” said Dreger in describing what has happened to the club this season. “So what’s going to happen next? Somebody is going to face reality, and that’ll probably be Chiarelli. And he’s going to have to make some changes to that roster that maybe he doesn’t want to make, but he’s going to have to make just to try and get things going again.”
The coach or the GM might not be on the hot seat, and blockbuster trades may not take place at the deadline seeing that a playoff run is not in the cards, but players will need to move to build a stronger future in Edmonton and provide star players like Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl the support they need to thrive.
Another forward on the block
On Thursday, Chiarelli made it clear to all other teams that forward Anton Slepyshev was available. A trade could not only help the team, but also the young forward who would benefit from a change of scenery.
In 18 games with Edmonton this season, Slepyshev has tallied just one goal and three points.
“They put the word out on Slepyshev yesterday,” noted Friedman this morning. “They’d like to move him and I think he would like a change of scenery. So I think there’s that. So I think that’s one that they could do.
“I’m sure they will look at just about anything."
Surely a lot of action coming up in Edmonton...