Oilers general manager Ken Holland deserves credit for the trades he made ahead of the NHL deadline, bringing in defenceman Mattias Ekholm from the Nashville Predators and forward Nick Bjugstad from the Arizona Coyotes. Holland said goodbye to a first-round pick, Tyson Barrie and Edmonton's 2022 first-round draft pick Reid Schaefer as the Oilers, led by Connor McDavid, prepare to make a legitimate run at the Stanley Cup.
AVRY LEWIS-MCDOUGALL: Yo, I will give Ken Holland credit. He did go out and address needs with Mattias Ekholm. That was a guy, I watched him in three games, one against Toronto and the Maple Leafs, Edmonton-Toronto, Edmonton-Winnipeg. And he is stable in the back end, almost scored in his first game. His breakout passes are amazing. He's the kind of guy they needed. And I know for some people, it hurt to trade Tyson Barrie and Reid Schaefer and prospective picks.
But you know what? That's the price of doing business. That's the price of what it takes to be all in. You got to part with those kind of guys. Louis Shafer, 2027 can wait. With Barry, got to [INAUDIBLE] like that. [INAUDIBLE] get some good back in return. So I'm glad to see Holland made that move. And first round picks, we're in a time right now in the world where first round picks aren't important right now if you want to win in 2023.
Deal with that down the road later on. And then this team goes out. And they bring in Nick Bjustad, someone from Arizona who I've liked for quite some time-- great add, great guy who can score in the third line, a great face-off man. So I'll give Ken Holland a solid B for what he did so far, good efforts, brought in a piece to help this team out for a deep playoff run-- and also, no Gavrikov, no Joel Edmundson. It didn't happen, thank goodness.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Well actually, the nightmare is over.