As of now, the Edmonton Oilers are 10–8–0 on the season, and if the playoffs started today, they would barely squeak in with a wildcard spot. It’s no secret the team has been struggling, especially on home ice, where they have lost six of their eleven games thus far.
Part of the Oilers’ struggles has to be correlated with the injuries in the top six; not having Evander Kane for the next three to four months is a huge blow, and it seems that Kailer Yamamoto has been dealing with a nagging injury since the beginning of the season. Poor starts and team defence have also been an area of concern for most of this season and has costed them games.
With the first quarter of the season almost in the books, what type of player should be a top priority for the Oilers to acquire this season?
We asked, you answered.
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The Oilers don’t need more speed upfront
A minuscule portion of voters want the Oilers to look at adding yet another speedy forward. This was by far the least popular and sensible option as the team has a lot of speed up front with obviously Connor McDavid, but also Ryan McLeod, Warren Foegele and Dylan Holloway. Although it doesn’t hurt the team to have another speedy forward in the lineup, most fans can agree that another forward is not going to address some of the bigger concerns with the current roster construction.
A gritty forward might not be the right option
Getting 15% of votes is in favour of the Oilers looking to add a gritty forward – this is an option that does make some sense.
Ken Holland moving out Zack Kassian needed to happen to gain more cap room to sign other players; his $3.2M a year contract that the Oilers signed him to was simply an overpay for an enforcer-type player. Since they traded him to Arizona in the offseason, especially after the Kane injury this season, it has been noticeable that the team is lacking that grit and intimidation aspect. This is essential to have if the referees decide they are going to put the whistles away.
Zack MacEwen is a 6’3” 205 lb right-handed centreman who plays an intimidating hard-nosed style. He is not afraid to drop the gloves and stick up for his teammates. MacEwen currently has three goals and two assists in 15 games this season. He is playing fourth-line minutes for the Philadelphia Flyers after being picked up off waivers from the Vancouver Canucks. MacEwen carries a cap hit of $925,000 which is pretty reasonable considering we were playing Kassian $3.2M to fill the same roll.
An offensive defenceman won’t meet the current needs of the Oilers
Although Bouchard has not continued the success he had last season, where he finished with 43 points in 81 games, there is still plenty of time left for him to figure things out and get back on track. Bouchard currently has five points in 17 games and is a -7 in plus-minus.
On the other hand, Barrie has started the season well, scoring three goals and getting nine assists, leading all Oilers defencemen in scoring while also maintaining a +2 in plus-minus.
The Oilers overwhelmingly need a defensive defenceman
With a whopping 75% of poll votes, most fans want to see the Oilers pick up another defensive defenceman. This is no surprise, as players like Evan Bouchard, Ryan Murray, Philip Broberg and Markus Niemelainen have been struggling in their own end for most of this season.
Although it is still early in the season and the Oilers have had a pretty tough schedule thus far, the team needs to focus on lowering their goals against – currently sitting at 24th in the league at 36 goals – and increasing the efficacy of their penalty kill which is 29th in the league at 71.4%.
Carson Soucy is a 6’5” 211 lb left shot defenceman currently making $2.75M on the cap. He can play top-line penalty kill minutes and has been averaging around 17 minutes a night on the Seattle Krakens second pairing. Soucy has four points in 17 games and is +6 in plus-minus on the season. He has a physical aspect to his game and uses his size to his advantage when defending allowing him to be a reliable player in both ends of the ice.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire