Oilers shake-up may not be far away
The start of the year has not gone too well for the Oilers.
Edmonton sits dead last in the league again, but is only one point behind Colorado and two behind Calgary in that regard. Losing phenom Connor McDavid after just 13 games hurt, but the team still needs to be doing better at this point. It’s the first year under the Todd McLellan and Peter Chiarelli regime, and the team still sits at an abysmal 3.13 goals against per game, second to last in the NHL.
The Oilers weren’t going to re-become a playoff team overnight, but it is time for them to get out of the cellar. They’ve had four first overall picks in six years and still can’t seem to find the right combinations to get everything to click.
Peter Chiarelli’s hand may be forced here. The defense has bright spots like Darnell Nurse, Oscar Klefbom, and Brandon Davidson but it still isn’t strong enough to move out a body back there. However, outside of players like Taylor Hall and Leon Draisaitl, how safe is the forward group? Jordan Eberle is the only one out of the big-five that wasn’t a first overall pick, and his name has come up in trade discussions before. Teddy Purcell is there, but he doesn’t hold much trade value. Nail Yakupov has found his game over the past few months, so it’s doubtful he moves.
Defense is the issue, and as it stands right now, Jordan Eberle moving appears to be Chiarelli’s best bet. Travis Hamonic is a good fit, but more moving pieces are required. They could also take a flier on a young defenseman from New Jersey like Jon Merrill or Eric Gelinas but the Devils would likely have to add and may not want to try to fix what isn’t necessarily broken.
The Oilers are going to have to make a move sooner or later. When the core continues to fail, changes need to be made. From this point forward, it becomes if they want to continue on the path of another top-three pick or try to improve their team at least a little bit.