After the Edmonton Oilers' 2-1 OT win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, they have now made it a team record 10 straight wins and are on a roll. They have been the hottest team in the NHL for quite the past little while as since November 24th, they have posted a sizzling 18-3-0 record and have jumped right back into the playoff picture after a dismal start to the season.
So with everything appearing to be firing on all cylinders as of late, it brings us to the question, do the Oilers still need to engage in any trade talks and moves? As earlier on in the season, they seemed to need help practically in all aspects of their game, whether it be secondary offence scoring, stronger defence, and the obvious glaring hole, goaltending. But would a rash move right now have any adverse effects on the team that has been rolling along?
Reasons why the Oilers should forgo trades for now
With the Oilers doing so well, one reason why they shouldn’t think about trades as of yet, is you don’t want to mess what’s been working for the team already. By adding players from the outside or subtracting potential players from the current roster as a result of a trade, it can severely affect line chemistry that is apparently clicking already. The incoming player(s) will need time to accommodate to their new environment and redevelop chemistry with the current players. As a result, that adjustment period required may be enough to take the Oilers out of their current winning momentum built up.
More importantly, the camaraderie among teammates is often underestimated, as there are close bonds and friendships formed among them. By dealing away a player of any significance on their current roster, can also mentally affect the focus of the remaining players on the team. As a result, they should hold off on doing anything drastic for now.
Reasons why the Oilers should still engage in trade talks despite their current success
However, it is not likely that the Oilers can keep this crazy winning streak up all season, as eventually some of their warts and weaknesses will likely flare up as the year progresses. So what the Oilers should do is still take into consideration moves that can upgrade their current roster in just their main area of weakness and not give up anyone from their active roster in return.
The main area of concern that still remains is backup goaltending, since the Oilers have been riding Stuart Skinner heavily during their recent stretch. Despite backup goalie Calvin Pickard posting a respectable 4-2-0 record thus far, he has only appeared in seven total games since being called up in early November, meaning the trust in his game remains susceptible. As a result, if the right goalie is available to upgrade the position for the Oilers, they should pursue that route.
In addition, come playoff time, the game gets tighter and the checking gets tougher as we saw last season when the Oilers faced the Vega Golden Knights in the second round. They may be flying right now and scoring at ease, but they will need to add some toughness ahead of the Stanley Cup playoffs to have a fair shot against heavier teams that they will meet if they end up making it. Therefore, they should also keep that trade option open when the trade deadline approaches to address that important need down the stretch.
Otherwise for now, we can literally sit back and enjoy the awesomeness we have witnessed in recent weeks as it certainly brings back vibes from the 1980s when the Oilers were dominating their opposition day in and day out. As for trades, let’s keep them in the back pocket until the time is right.