The Edmonton Oilers offseason was a rather mild one. The Oilers are Lead by Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. With these two guys on their team, the Oilers are always a scary team to go up against. Loaded with lots of offensive talent, the Oilers have no shortage of goal-scoring ability.
Instead, the team lacks defensive depth and solid goaltending. To return to their glorious Stanley cup form that the team possessed during the Wayne Gretzky era of the 1980’s they have to greatly improve their team. As Ken Holland moves into his second season as the team’s general manager made some signings to try and improve the team.
Why the Oilers Missed the Playoffs
After being invited to the NHL’s return to play the Oilers matched up with the Chicago Blackhawks in the play-in round. Chicago surprisingly won the series three games to one. After losing in the play-in series Edmonton has so many major questions to be answered. With important players locked into large contracts, the Oilers will have to find a way around their cap issues to try and create a competitive roster for next season. Edmonton was awarded the fourteenth overall pick in the draft and at this selection. They decided to draft Dylan Holloway to try and help drive them to the goal of winning the Stanley cup and returning it to Edmonton.
Disappointing Play in the Playoffs
As previously mentioned McDavid and Draisaitl are the leaders of the Oilers team. They were expected to bring the Oilers deep into the playoffs after both of them had incredible regular seasons. The Oilers were heavily favored to beat the Blackhawks but unfortunately, the team was not able to get past Chicago and into the playoffs. There were some players on the roster that had worse performances during the play than others.
Edmonton Oilers Strong Core
During the past decade, the Oilers have not been very good and have been able to draft some potential stars. For the most part, the Oilers have successfully drafted players that make a significant impact on their roster.
McDavid, Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Kailer Yamamoto are all forwards that were drafted by the Oilers high in their respective draft classes and provide lots of offense for the team. Two other impact players Edmonton has in their lineup that they drafted are Darnell Nurse and Oscar Klefbom. The two defensemen form a formidable duo on the Oilers blueline. The Edmonton Oilers offseason including them adding a couple of hopeful impact players as they will hopefully carry the team to the Stanley cup one day.
Oilers Offseason Acquisitions
During the Oilers offseason, general manager Holland was a busy man as he brought in a couple of new players to try and make his team a contender once again. He added one of the better offensive defensemen in the league and he also brought in some forwards to try and improve the forward core.
Tyson Barrie: No Scoring Due To Mike Babcock’s System?
After a massive trade in the 2019 offseason, Tyson Barrie found himself switching allegiances from the Colorado Avalanche to the Toronto Maple Leafs. He did not have the personal or team success he or the Maple Leafs would have hoped but Barrie is still a very valuable player.
During the 2019-2020 season with Toronto, Barrie scored only five goals and added thirty-four assists in seventy total games. Most people are contributing to this poor season due to the defensive system Mike Babcock tried to implement on the Maple Leafs. The point total he had in his lone season with Toronto was way off of his production from the previous two seasons with Colorado as in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons, Barrie almost put up sixty total points.
The Edmonton Oilers offseason signee should see his numbers bounce back as the Oilers definitely play a more offensive system than the Maple Leafs. The 29-year-old signed a one-year deal with the Oilers for just under four million dollars. He should be well worth the contract for the Oilers and hopefully, he can help bring the Oilers back to the playoffs.
Dominik Kahun: No Pay Raise After Slump?
Another Oilers offseason signing is Dominik Kahun. Originally we thought Kahun was in for a hefty pay raise after a very productive sophomore season. The 25-year-old forward scored 31 points in 56 games almost matching his total from his rookie season. During his rookie campaign, Kahun netted 13 goals and added 24 assists for 37 total points in 82 games. With the improved point totals, we thought Kahun was due for a nice pay raise from the Buffalo Sabres. Assuming Kahun’s point totals continued to improve we thought he should make between $3-4 million on his next contract.
Instead, he signed a one year contract worth $975,000 with the Oilers. He should play in the Oilers’ middle-six forward group. Expect his point totals to continue to improve as he will most likely play with 2019-2020 league MVP Leon Draisaitl.
Another signing during the Oilers offseason that came on December 25th was the signing of Slater Koekkoek. Koekkoek cashes in with the Edmonton Oilers after a successful campaign with the Blackhawks. In his first and only full season with the Blackhawks Koekkoek played 42 games and had a career-high in points. He scored one goal and added nine assists for ten points. The 26-year-old defenseman will take his talents back to his home country of Canada for the start of the 2020-2021 season.
Edmonton Oilers offseason Key losses
The Edmonton Oilers offseason also had some head-scratching decisions. The team let go of some players that they had just acquired this past season and gave up pretty valuable assets in return.
Andreas Athanasiou: Limited Time with Oilers after Trade From Detroit
The first player to leave during the Oilers offseason is a talented 26-year-old center who flashed hints of being a gifted goal scorer during the 2018-2019 campaign but was unable to replicate the same product in 2019-2020. With the Detriot Red Wings, Andreas Athanasiou was very successful in putting the puck in the net as he was among the most productive Red Wings last season. At the trade deadline, he was shipped to the Oilers.
In Edmonton, Athanasiou only played nine regular-season games due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He managed to score one measly goal and also added one assist in the nine games for the Oilers. Once the playoffs started Athanasiou was once again suiting up for Edmonton. He was unable to produce any points in the four playoff games.
In a bizarre fashion, the Oilers decided to not bring Athanasiou back to the team and instead renounce his rights making him an unrestricted free agent.
He decided to ink a contract with the Los Angeles Kings worth $1.2 million for one season. In Los Angeles, Athanasiou will have a similar opportunity as he did in Detroit. He will play important minutes for the club and if paired with decent linemates, Athanasiou should enjoy a bounce-back season.
Riley Sheahan: Invited to Buffalo Sabres Training Camp
Another player to leave during the Oilers offseason was Riley Sheahan. Sheahan was invited to the Buffalo Sabres training camp. Sheahan has had a very interesting career. He was drafted in the first round by the Detriot Red Wings. He spent the first seven seasons of his career with Detriot. Then the Pittsburgh Penguins traded for his services. Less than a season later he was traded to the Florida Panthers in the 2018-2019 season. The Panthers released Sheahan and the Oilers signed him. He played in 66 games for the Oilers and scored eight goals and seven assists.
If Sheahan makes the Sabres roster he most likely will play in the bottom-six. The Sabres will also appreciate his veteran presence in a locker room full of younger players.
Conclusion on the Oilers Season
Overall the Oiler’s offseason was a successful one. The team improved their defense by adding Barrie. Barrie will not only improve the team on the ice but he will be a veteran presence that will help show the young Oilers the ropes of the league. The team also added some forward depth with Kahun. Playing alongside Draisaitl, Kahun should see a significant jump in his production. After a successful Oilers offseason, their fans should be very excited for the upcoming season.
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