Have the Oilers' Quiet Offseason Failed to Address a Key Area?

Published August 7, 2023 at 10:12 PM

The 2023 offseason for the Edmonton Oilers will be remembered as one of their quietest summers in recent memory. General manager Ken Holland worked diligently with limited cap space to improve the roster for this year.

However, after a second-round loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, it was expected that the Oilers would make significant changes, particularly in their lower lines and defence, to strengthen their chances for a deeper playoff run this year.

Unfortunately, those anticipated changes have not materialized. Currently, the Oilers are facing challenges in re-signing star defenseman Evan Bouchard to a new deal.

With cap constraints early in the summer, GM Holland had no choice but to make a trade with the Detroit Red Wings, sending Kyler Yamamoto and Klim Kostin for minimal returns. The move was seen as a favour by his former captain, Steve Yzerman, and it provided some much-needed cap relief, enabling the team to sign players like Oilers forward Ryan McLeod.

In terms of newcomers, the Oilers explored the free-agent market and secured Connor Brown, who previously played alongside Connor McDavid during their time with the Erie Otters. The organization hopes that their previous chemistry will be reignited and that Brown can become a valuable addition to the team's offence.

Despite these efforts, the Oilers' lack of funds has prevented them from addressing a crucial area – their defence core. Having Matthias Ekholm locked up for another three years is a positive, he provides stability the team needs. On the flip side of the coin, Darnell Nurse's contract proving difficult to move at 9.25 million, Holland has limited options for bolstering the team's defence.

The hope lies in securing Bouchard on a bridge deal, giving Holland time to assess the team's cap situation before it increases significantly after this season.

The Oilers must make further changes to their defence if they wish to mount a stronger push for the next postseason.
August 8   |   282 answers
Have the Oilers' Quiet Offseason Failed to Address a Key Area?

Will the Oilers sign Evan Bouchard before Game 1 of the season?

Yes24586.9 %
No3713.1 %
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