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Can Ken Holland Take The Edmonton Oilers To The Playoffs In Year 1?

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Keep digging up.

Ken Holland portrait
AND YOU MAY ASK YOURSELF, MY GOD, WHAT HAVE I DONE?
Photo by: Getty Images

Construction for San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge began five days into 1933 at a cost of about $35,000,000 US. Today, that gets you about six years of Milan Lucic, The bridge is about a mile long, it took an enormous effort to complete. In a little more than four years, you had a bridge.

THIS HAD BETTER NOT TAKE FOUR YEARS TO COMPLETE

Ken Holland signed a five year deal worth five million dollars per year to join the Oilers. The amount of work that he’s got in front of him to make this club a playoff-calibre club looks to be fairly long and wide. Like a bridge.

Work with me.

Like most Oiler fans, you’re not here for the appetizers. You’re ready for the main course, a dance in the playoffs. We got our tickets punched a couple of years ago, and we had fun for a while. Connor McDavid had a hundred point season, there was a major heater by Cam Talbot and a nearly injury free season got the club there, but man, it was refreshing.

BUT THERE’S WORK TO BE DONE

The Oilers roster finished at 79 points this past season. When you’re got **two** 100+ point scorers on your roster and the rest of the crew can’t get it done, that’s a special kind of bad.

What needs fixin’? A lot, it turns out.

  • CAP SPACE: It’s got to happen this offseason. The Oilers have maybe ten million clams (depending on where the cap ceiling lands this offseason) to sign a handful of players and be a better hockey club in 2019-20. We’ve been lucky to see the cap increase in chunks over the past few years. Anything less than a 4 or 5 million increase will really put the screws to the Oilers. Holland
  • A COACH: With Ken Hitchcock out, the club will need a new bench boss. I wonder what Ralph Krueger’s doing right now.
  • TOP FOUR PUCK MOVING DEFENCEMAN: Peter Chiarelli swung when he swapped Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson three years ago. While Larsson is an effective NHL defenceman, he didn’t cover all the bases in a deal that saw the future league MVP get moved.
  • WINGERS - Oh God, they’re all sorts of bad last season. Credit to Zack Kassian for being able to hold the ball on the top line from time to time, but you play talent with talent. Kassian is much better suited for a bottom six role. Ty Rattie should be out of here. In a perfect world, both Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto would get a full season in the AHL unless they just blow the doors off in preseason. This might be the most pressing position on the roster, and we haven’t even gotten to goaltending yet.
  • ANOTHER GOALTENDER: Don’t know if one of Stuart Skinner or Shane Starrett is that guy or if it’s a journeyman. The Oilers have to bring someone in who can pick up the pieces if the hastily signed Mikko Koskinen needs a rest (or a night off).
  • A MID SIX C - If the top line looks like 93-97-29, you’re going to need a 2C more than a 3C. Deduct one line if either of the wings returns to the second line. Wouldn’t hold much confidence that the team is going to run Sam Gagner as the club’s full time 3C. Or, part-time 3C for that matter.

Am I forgetting something? Probably. The point is? There’s plenty of things that need to be done, and Holland hasn’t had the opportunity to scratch the surface yet.

It’s a tall task, but can Ken Holland make it all come together in his first year as Oilers GM?