When you have Connor McDavid on your team, you are always going to be a contender. McDavid’s heroics have continued, as he is now up to 46 goals and 109 points in 59 games. He is at a 150-point pace for the 2022-23 season and is showing no signs of slowing down.
Outside of him, the Edmonton Oilers have quickly become one of the hottest teams in the NHL. With the Trade Deadline looming, they have fought their way to second place in the Pacific Division with a record of 32-19-8. That record is good for the third highest in the Western Conference, where they have established themselves as a contender. Since Jan 9, they have only lost one game in regulation.
General manager Ken Holland should be willing to use his future assets in order to improve this current core, whether that means adding a top-six forward or top-four defenceman, now is the time for the Oilers to go all-in.
Having McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in the prime of their career gives the Oilers a competitive advantage like none other. While they should be one of the most aggressive teams on Deadline day, it is no guarantee that they decide to make any moves. Without any major movement, they are still a top-five team in their conference. With a forward or defensive add, they could vault themselves into being the favorites to come out of the West after falling just short a season ago.
With under a week, until the Trade Deadline passes, the pressure for Holland is mounting. Whether it is someone to boost the blue-line, such as Jakob Chychrun or Vladislav Gavrikov, or if they improve the top six to add more scoring to an already dynamic group, the Oilers cannot afford to let this season go to waste.
Goaltending has stabilized of late, with Jack Campbell shaking off his early-season struggles and Stuart Skinner remaining a reliable option. This tandem has shown promise, but they do not have the ability to steal a series. With another move up-front or on the back end, the Oilers can even out a potential disadvantage in the crease come playoff time.
With players like Zach Hyman and Evander Kane nearing the back half of their careers, now may be the best chance the Oilers get for a long time, and doing nothing to support this group would be a failure.