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Taking Two Steps Back

The Oilers are having all sorts of trouble on defence, and adding Joel Edmundson to the mix likely won’t bring any relief.

Montreal Canadiens v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images

There’s trouble on defence, and there’s no telling when it’s going to get better.

The Oilers are coming fresh off a 3-2 loss to the injury ravaged Washington Capitals. The game could easily have been 7-2 had Stuart Skinner not saved 47 of 50 Capitals shots (Side note: after a few games where Skinner didn’t have his best stuff, a 47-save performance is a good way to let everyone know that you’re back on the beat).

The Oilers yielded nearly two dozen shots in the first period, and it was a cool 40 shots against at the end of two. The Oilers are surrendering 3.46 goals per game (27th overall) which is too much for a club that’s expected to make waves in the playoffs this year. Darnell Nurse is playing upwards of 29 minutes some games, and Cody Ceci is over his head being asked to perform 1RD duties. Evan Bouchard was nailed to the bench for most of the third period in last night’s loss, Brett Kulak scored a goal, Tyson Barrie probably shouldn’t be playing defence, and Philp Broberg’s been in the lineup for exactly six games so far this season.

Edmonton could probably use some help on defence, the same defence that everyone up top decided was good enough just two dozen games ago. So what’s the plan? Maybe bring someone in before this season gets out of hand completely, yeah?

I can’t imagine signing Joel Edmundson to the Oilers, let alone trading assets to get him. You will recall Edmundson, the Canadiens defenceman that picked up a five minute major along with a game misconduct after his cross-check to the head of Oilers forward Zach Hyman. (Hymanissed yesterday’s game against Washington, the Oilers very much would have liked to have him in the lineup to prevent further Mattias Janmark sightings in the top six).

The Oilers are not a serious club if they’re entertaining the idea of giving up actual assets for a 3.5MM left defenceman that’s teetering between second and third pair minutes on a bad Habs club. For Edmundson, he ticks a few boxes in Ken Holland’s mind. He’s nearly 30, he comes with a Stanley Cup from his time in St. Louis, and he’s 6’4” and physical in his own zone. The problem? His on-ice ability won’t translate well enough for the Oilers to have him be any sort of a positive difference-maker for the club. His most common pairing at evens is with Arber Xhekaj, and they’re routinely getting housed while on the ice together. (Ditto Kaiden Guhle). You’ve got little time for this player at third pair, limited minutes, and on a one year deal. At a 3.5MM cap hit, he’d almost certainly be a second pair addition, and that’s...just not an addition the Oilers can afford to make. If you’re getting clobbered in your own end, I don’t see how you’re going to make the Oilers a better club. They’re doing that already.

Edmonton will take on the Arizona Coyotes at home tomorrow in a game they absolutely need to have. Join us for all the fun tomorrow night.