Edmonton Oilers offseason outlook Volume #3: Offence

In the final installment of this series, we dig into the forward group. With only seven skaters signed at the position, Ken Holland or whoever his replacement is, if Jackson decides not to renew his contract, will have their work cut out for them.
2024 Stanley Cup Final - Game Four
2024 Stanley Cup Final - Game Four / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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For the sake of being thorough, we have to consider some of the free agents available this year as well. The cap situation Holland has backed this team into will make some of these names seem unlikely but must be considered regardless by the Oilers front office.

Jake Guentzel has been linked to Edmonton numerous times this past calendar year in trade rumors. The money was never going to work (although it might have without the Campbell contract), but it's not impossible. It's obviously very unlikely the Oilers will be able to afford his next contract which will likely start with an 8 beside the AAV. But if they can do some surgery to their books starting with ridding themselves of the Campbell contract, there could be a world where the Oilers have more cap space to maneuver with than we currently think they will. The possibility of the Campbell buyout option seems more and more likely, the Ceci transaction that we feel is coming and maybe another unforeseen move could make this off-season a bit more interesting. And imagining Guentzel on a line with Draisaitl and Holloway is tough not to fantasize about.

Tyler Toffoli is another name they were linked to prior to the deadline and very much could've afforded to fit under the cap given that they did fit a larger contract into their books in Henrique. Many see this as a huge blunder by Ken Holland, and we don't know for sure whether or not he did make an offer to NJ for him, maybe he did. But the fact is, he was acquired for a 3rd round pick this year, and a 2nd rounder next year. Compare and contrast with the Henrique deal, and assuming they didn't make NJ an offer, it doesn't look good. But hindsight de damned, he is now a pending UFA and will likely be in search of a place where he can win again and he can do just that in Edmonton. Another player who I think would slot beautifully alongside Draisaitl on the secondary scoring line. He has a lethal shot, and a nose for the net and has tendencies that translate into offence directly. If however, he's looking to cash in for one last big payday which I wouldn't blame him for one bit, Edmonton wouldn't be able to make it happen.

Vladimir Tarasenko closes out this group as another player I think they will for sure make an offer too. It was rumored that Ken Holland asked about him prior to the deadline and he ultimately ended up in Florida where they now have to deal with him in the Finals and he has looked rather good. In this series, he has three goals and an assist and hasn't looked like he's lost a step at all. By no means is he traveling at blistering speeds, but he is not a slow player and to me by the eye test still has all the intangibles to provide a contending team with offensive production.

To reiterate, I think that Edmonton would be best suited to unblock their youthful players' paths by letting some of the elderly free agents walk. They still need to resign some and bring in a player or two, but Lavoie should be given every opportunity to thrive in a role that suits his skillset at training camp and beyond. Don't play him on the fourth line and expect him to be a minute muncher. Get him on a line where he can get into shooting spots frequently and be fed pucks by skilled playmakers.

Edmonton Oilers offseason outlook Volume #2: Defence. Edmonton Oilers offseason outlook Volume #2: Defence. dark. Next

If Holloway comes back which I do think is likely, he will be a staple in the middle six. I think we can assume that at this point and if any other result surfaces it would be a huge mistake by management. I actually think bringing in one of the aforementioned free agents or giving the Lavoie experiment a try on Draisaitl's line with Kane would be a solid plan, and let McLeod and Holloway cook on the third line together, but with more emphasis placed on creating offence. They seem to have chemistry together and I firmly believe they could both make a serious stride next year in their production and overall play.