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Oilers Will “Tinker” With Roster This Offseason, No Big Changes

Edmonton Oilers President Bob Nicholson said the team won’t be making big changes. They will “tinker” with the lineup. What does that mean?

Oilers President Bob Nicholson
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While there’s talk — some legitimate and some more pipe-dream fantasies — that the Edmonton Oilers might have some skin in the game when it comes to players like Darcy Kuemper, Jake DeBrusk, Tyson Barrie, Taylor Hall, Oliver Ekman-Larsson or other targets that would fill holes or improve the roster, don’t expect big changes. At least, not according to Oilers Entertainment Group president Bob Nicholson.

Nicholson was on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer and discussed the disappointment that was the early elimination from the play-ins at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks. Clearly, the team wasn’t good enough and changes are coming. But, those changes won’t be drastic.

Nicholson explained:

“We’ve got two of the best players in the world and we’re not going to make huge changes but Ken will tinker with this line-up and make us a better hockey club and maybe more importantly get us to where we’re more consistent, so maybe not just one year but a number of years ahead of us.”

This is both good news and, maybe, not so good news, depending on what “tinker” means.

One has to assume that if the Oilers see an opportunity on the market, they’ll look at it. That means this messaging from the President doesn’t automatically exclude the Oilers from adding a player mentioned earlier. At the same time, it doesn’t sound like Holland will be out to catch any big fish. At least not simply because they’re becoming available when they might not otherwise.

That might disappoint some fans who believe the Oilers need a No. 1 defenseman or a top-line winger to play with Connor McDavid.

That said, it also means the Oilers will likely hang onto the No. 14 pick in this year’s draft (a smart move) and won’t completely shake up the roster to add a more expensive goaltender. A 1B is really all the Oilers need.

Related: Surprising Team Interested in Oilers Jesse Puljujarvi

Is This A Message To Oilers Fans?

Typically, no matter what kind of talk is floating out there, when a President of a franchise or GM speaks about not making big changes, there’s a reason that message is being relayed. Nicholson’s words may have been chosen carefully so as to not see fans get their hopes up that some incredibly blockbuster move will come to the Oilers this Fall.

Ken Holland Edmonton Oilers
Ken Holland Edmonton Oilers

What tinkering likely means is that Holland will be patient and try to fill gaps when the market presents an opportunity to do so. If the right player shakes loose and the money makes sense, Holland should be able to move out salary while getting the assets he needs. In other words, this market might not favor the aggressors but reward the opportunists.

As long as Holland is looking for those opportunities, the Oilers could still wind up making some pretty significant changes, even if they aren’t seen as “huge” deals.

Next: Kessel Listed Among Possible Cap Casualty Trade Names

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