February 23, 2018 | 11:45pm ET
OILERS LOOKING TO ADD SPEED
Peter Chiarelli, GM
The Edmonton Oilers are clearly disappointed with their performance this season and GM Peter Chiarelli is hoping to fine-tune some pieces of his roster to improve his club’s chances at competing next season.
The Oilers are believed to be engaged in multiple trade discussions involving a number of their players, including forwards Patrick Maroon and Mark Letestu, and some of those players have term left on their deals beyond this season.
Maroon and Letestu are set to become unrestricted free agents July 1.
Chiarelli spoke with the media earlier on Friday and indicated his team wants to get quicker and he plans on making some moves leading up to Monday’s 3pm ET trade deadline. He reiterated, though, that he’s not about to enter into another rebuild.
“We’re not going to blow it up,” Chiarelli said, adding the team wants to tweak its roster.
“We’re looking for speed. We hope to address that a little bit, as far as prospects in return – that’s kind of the primary objective of this deadline. It’s tough sledding right now. We can always get picks, but I prefer not to.”
As far as Maroon and Letestu go, Chiarelli would not confirm whether or not he expects them to be moved in the coming days, but the writing appears to be on the wall.
“There’s interest in those players, and we’ve also talked to those players about re-signing,” Chiarelli said. “These are two playoff-proven players. They’re very versatile players. There’s interest there. We’ll see where it goes.”
Chiarelli was asked if locking up so much salary cap space in three centres – Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – could result in moving one of them, most likely Nugent-Hopkins, but he would not specifically address the question.
A trade involving Nugent-Hopkins, while possible, seems unlikely to occur before the trade deadline. Those discussions would resume now and carry out until around the NHL Draft in Dallas in late-June, where a move of that magnitude could make more sense.
The same could be said for defenceman Oscar Klefbom, whom TFP confirmed earlier this month was being discussed by other teams, but only if it meant a top line winger heading back Edmonton’s way.
The Oilers do, however, have other irons in the fire.
“As far as ‘hockey deals,’ we’re looking at a couple,” Chiarelli admitted. “I don’t know where they sit right now. There’s some kind of larger action going on right now, and we’re not in it. But so much happens in the course of two, three, four days, so we’ll just be on top of it.
“We’re looking at a lot of different things without blowing up the team.”