After years of struggling to produce quality NHL defencemen, the Edmonton Oilers are on the verge of seeing that trend changing. The names we hear most often are Ethan Bear, Evan Bouchard, Caleb Jones, William Lagesson and Dmitry Samorukov. With that said, the young blueliner who could be the swingman in determining how the upcoming 2018-19 season plays out is Joel Persson.
It’s not every day that we see a team with two of the league’s top four scorers miss the playoffs but the Edmonton Oilers managed to accomplish just that in 2018-19 and by a rather comfortable margin. And yet, with as poorly constructed as their roster was, had the duo of Cam Talbot and Mikko Koskinen found a way to raise their level of play, we are likely talking about a playoff team.
So here we are. Roughly two weeks since the Edmonton Oilers bought out defenceman Andrej Sekera and the roster is no better. In fact, the argument could be made it has gone in the opposite direction. Though there is still plenty of time for general manager Ken Holland to do something prior to the start of the 2019-20 NHL season, one can’t help but wonder why the decision was made to create cap space and not use it.
With their current roster being as underwhelming as it is, the Edmonton Oilers were never going to be major players during this year’s NHL Trade Deadline. However, for an organization that is going to have to do a ton of heavy lifting over the summer, yesterday was a perfect opportunity to get a head start on things. Unfortunately, interim general manager Keith Gretzky and the rest of the organization’s higher-ups saw it differently.