NHL

Oilers Deadline Review

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The NHL’s annual trade deadline has come to an end, with the Edmonton Oilers making two moves for their team. Positions that were thought necessary for the team included a depth forward, a left shot defenseman, and a goaltender. The Oilers filled two of those holes, as General Manager Ken Holland did not upgrade his goaltending tandem. Montreal Canadiens defenseman, Brett Kulak was acquired and Philadelphia Flyers center, Derick Brassard was also added to the team Monday afternoon. 

Leaving Edmonton at the deadline involved defenseman William Lagesson, a second-round pick, and a fourth-round pick. While the Oilers only made two moves at the deadline, they made cost-effective adjustments and necessary ones to bolster the team in their final 19 games of the season. 

What They Bring to the Team

Joining his 10th team in the NHL, Derick Brassard has much to offer to the Edmonton lineup. Brassard is a very experienced center who can play both wings if needed and is known to play a strong penalty-kill. He will likely be seen on the third line for the club which could allow for a more threatening group once Ryan Nugent-Hopkins returns back to the lineup. Brassard has been acquired by many teams at the deadline which shows teams need a guy like him during the playoffs when penalty killing is crucial. The Oilers struggled in that area last campaign against the Winnipeg Jets in the first round, and they look to clear up any mistakes. 

Brassard will likely be a fan favorite as he is known well across the league since his draft back in 2006. The veteran has seen his fair share of the playoffs, and he has a lot to bring to the current group. 

28-year-old defenseman makes his way home joining the Oilers Monday afternoon. The move to Edmonton is something Kulak was excited about as he is able to play in front of many friends and family on a regular basis. But besides this exciting moment, fans have something to be excited for when Kulak makes his Oilers debut.

Kulak is a defensive defenseman who can succeed in a bottom pair or a top pair, possibly with Evan Bouchard. The Edmonton blueline has been very inconsistent during the season due to injury, rookie call ups, and just simply poor play. Kulak gives the Oilers something to work with and like Brassard, he has been involved in the playoffs and knows what to expect. He and the Montreal Canadiens went to the Stanley Cup Final during the 2020-21 shortened season. 

A Good Deadline for Ken Holland

The trade deadline action for the Oilers wasn’t flashy by any means with some bigger names on the market. Edmonton only is allowed to spend so much money as much of it is tied up between a few big players for the team. Additions of Kulak and Brassard are something the group needs, and it would’ve helped in Monday night’s loss in Denver. A power-play goal scored by the Avalanche could have been prevented or strategized differently if Derick Brassard was out killing the penalty. Despite the loss, the Oilers picked up a point to remain in the Pacific Division’s third-place spot, seated above the Vegas Golden Knights

The moves made have a very low risk to them and the return that Holland sacrificed was cost-effective and smart. A deadline that was not busy at all is better than taking too many risks with a group that shows high a compete-level and ambition on most nights. Writer Sean Laycock mentioned that there would be no reason for Holland to go all-in at the deadline due to being so close to a completed rebuild. As predicted, Holland does not go all in and gets the small essential tools the Oilers may need, while the youth of the group continues to be influenced and developed. 

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