Did Oilers Management Miss the Next Makar?

Published August 14, 2023 at 10:59

General managers in the NHL come in different styles. Some, like to prioritize drafting over trading to cultivate a strong roster with a wealth of prospects.

Others may deplete their farm system and trade away draft picks to maintain a competitive edge, especially if they've been knocking on the door of the Stanley Cup Finals for several years.

Ken Holland, the general manager of the Edmonton Oilers, seems to lean towards the latter approach. He has executed numerous trades aimed at propelling the Oilers to success, even at the expense of sacrificing draft picks in exchange for the talent he believes can drive the team forward.

According to the hockey writers, the Oilers have traded away six potential top prospects in the last three years while pursuing the Stanley Cup. While this is a strategy employed by many GMs, considering the Oilers' status as a young team facing salary cap challenges, opting for the draft might have been a wiser path.

One trade that could potentially haunt the Edmonton Oilers in the future is the one involving Brett Kulak of the Montreal Canadiens. The Oilers exchanged a second-round pick for Kulak, who in turn became a highly regarded defenseman named Lane Hutson.

The Oilers finalized the deal with the Montreal Canadiens on March 21, 2022. In return for Kulak, they sent William Lagesson, a 7th-round choice in the 2024 draft, and a conditional second-round pick that was triggered after the season ended due to the Oilers' failure to reach the Stanley Cup Finals

Hutson is widely regarded as an offensive defenseman with substantial potential and a well-rounded skill set. In the 2022-2023 season with Boston University, he played 39 games, tallying fifteen goals and 33 assists for a total of 48 points, along with 26 penalty minutes.

His performance with the US National Development Team was even more impressive in 2022, playing 60 games and notching ten goals and 53 assists for a total of 63 points, accompanied by 51 penalty minutes.

David Reinbacher, a newly drafted player, shared his impressions of Hutson during the Montreal development camp this summer.

Reinbacher said,
"You get the puck, skate it out a little bit, then you give it to him and just start watching. He's probably the next Cale Makar."

Only time will tell if Hutson lives up to his partner's expectations, but the trade seemingly underscores the price the Oilers were willing to pay in their pursuit of ultimate success.
August 14   |   27 answers
Did Oilers Management Miss the Next Makar?

Will Lane Hutson become an elite player in the NHL?

Yes725.9 %
No2074.1 %
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