The Edmonton Oilers go into this year’s trade deadline without being clear-cut buyers or sellers. If 54 points is the magic number to secure the last playoff seed in the Western Conference, the Oilers will need 23 points in their last 16 games—a record resembling something close to 11-4-1 or 10-3-3.
While their playoff chances are slim at best, tanking down the stretch is not an option for this team either. These young players have too much pride to find themselves in the basement of the NHL (or close to it) for the fourth consecutive year, and fans in Edmonton are demanding to see some progress in the standings at this point in the rebuild.
The Oilers will not be overhauling the roster in the coming days—especially not for picks or prospects. Any major trade they make will be for proving talent and immediate help. A large part of the Oilers’ core for the future is already set. Management now needs to find the right supporting cast to help them to continue to develop while still finding some amount of immediate success.