The news broke earlier today as the Edmonton Oilers fired head coach Todd McLellan and replaced him with Ken Hitchcock. The swap at the head coaching position will be the only change behind the Oilers bench, in the roster and in the front office.
According to Jonathan Willis of The Athletic, several players are becoming expandable in Edmonton, which could push the Oilers to make other drastic changes via the trade market. While the core players are expected to stay put, it seems almost impossible for the Oilers to keep going without making some changes on the bench as well. He considers Zach Kassian, Drake Caggiula, Matt Benning, and Al Montoya as plausible trade candidates, and depending on where the Oilers stand closer to the Feb. 25, 2018 trade deadline, goalies Cam Talbot or Mikko Koskinen could be available.
There is of course a lot of speculation that remains around young forward Jesse Puljujarvi. Willis is quite blunt about it: any way you look at it, it just feels like general manager Peter Chiarelli should ship him out...
“If we were to make a list of trade warning lights, “player who might not be happy with his handling” and “player who might be valued more by other teams than his own” would be near the top of the list and Puljujarvi is a good candidate for both descriptions.”
However, is there really a trade that could save the Oilers at this point in the season? As of late, both netminders have struggled and the team's defensive issues have been made clear to everyone in the league. They remain top-heavy up front, however, what return could possibly come and save the situation in Edmonton before it's too late.
Can Hitchcock turn things around in time for the postseason?
Last week’s swap of Ryan Strome to the New York Rangers for Ryan Spooner did nothing to improve the situation. If things don’t soon improve after the major move that was pulled today, Chiarelli could be next before a star player is sent on the trade block...
Source: The Athletic
Photo Credit: Zuma Press