By Gordon Munro & Luke Thomas
Oilers Deadline Moves
The Oilers are back. Back and ready to dominate. Going into the highly anticipated deadline day, Ken Holland wanted to give his team a couple more weapons.
Holland decided to start this decade off with a bang at the deadline. In total, he made 3 moves to attempt to shore up his team’s depth as they make a push for their first playoff birth in 3 seasons.
The first move came late at night, when he traded forward Kyle Brodziak and a conditional 2020 4th round pick* to Detroit for Mike Green. Later that day, he made two more moves; this time to help add depth at the forward position. Holland acquired Tyler Ennis from Ottawa in exchange for a 2021 5th round pick. Then, he made another move with the Detroit Red Wings, sending both their 2020 and 2021 2nd round picks and Sam Gagner (retained $315,000) for forward Andreas Athanasiou and Ryan Kuffner.
In total Ken Holland gave up:
- Kyle Brodziak
- Sam Gagner ($315,000 retained)
- 2020 2nd
- 2021 2nd
- Conditional 2020 4th*
- 2021 5th
- *Pick moves to a 3rd if the Oilers make the conference finals and Green plays in 50% of the games
- -Mike Green ($2.7 million)
- -Andreas Athanasiou
- -Tyler Ennis
- -Ryan Kuffner
These are really smart acquisitions. One of the biggest holes on the Oilers roster for a few seasons has been depth on the wings. Adding Athanasiou, who is one of the fastest players in the league, will help. Tyler Ennis himself isn’t a slow skater and has the talent and history to help out the Oilers offence. After a select few players, the Oilers forward group is incredibly bleak, these additions help there. It’s also a very smart move to add more depth for the playoffs, especially with injuries to the back end. You never know what could happen and it’s always good to have more than you might need.
This was a low-risk move by Holland. At the very least, Green is a 6/7 defenseman for the Oilers and his contract is ending this season. At best, Green can provide a veteran presence during the playoffs and be in a top-four role with some time on the power play.
Holland’s next addition was Andreas Athanasiou, also from Detroit. The Oilers acquired him from Detroit in exchange for fan-favourite Sam Gagner and 2 second-round picks. 1 in this year’s draft and 1 in the next. The Oilers also got left-winger Ryan Kuffner in the deal. This could be a boom or bust deal for the Oilers.
This year’s draft is supposed to be a very deep draft. They may have had someone like Jake Neighbors or Antonio Stranges fall to them in the second round.
Athanasiou scored 30 goals last year and has electrifying speed on the wing. Hopefully, he can do the same for the Oilers this year and in years to come. I love Athanasiou but just I’m a bit surprised that Ken Holland didn’t give up Jesse Puljujarvi instead of this year’s second. Puljujarvi is likely not coming back to the Oilers, so why not trade him away while he’s improving in Finland? He could easily have an injury or a lack of production that prevents teams from wanting him later on.
I also think that Kuffner could make the NHL in years to come. Holland signed him as a free agent out of Princeton of the NCAA, where he ripped it up. Good on Holland for getting some of his work back from Detroit.
My favorite move of the deadline was by far Tyler Ennis for a 5th round pick. I love this move by Holland. Ennis is a very underrated player with a cap hit of under $1 million. Ennis brings a veteran presence along with an underrated skill set, all for a 5th round pick! He is a UFA this summer but I believe if the Oilers make a fair offer, he will sign, as the Oilers are his hometown team. Ennis was on pace for around 45 points this year with the Senators and that’s exactly what the Oilers were looking for. A scoring winger. Well done Ken Holland.
How Have They Performed So Far?
Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait a few more weeks to get a really good evaluation of Mike Green as he is expected to be out until the end of March. So far, the other deadline moves have worked out very well for the orange and blue. Tyler Ennis has played in 7 games since being acquired and has scored a goal and added 2 assists for 3 points. Athanasiou has 1 goal and 1 assist in 7 games as well. They might not be shooting the lights out, but both players were acquired to shore up the team’s weakness. At least so far, they have accomplished just that.
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