Two days after the Edmonton Oilers’ season came to an end at the hands of a sweep from the Winnipeg Jets, general manager Ken Holland met with the media to look back on the year and discuss off-season plans for his club.
"Obviously disappointed." Holland said of the first-round loss. "Anytime you don’t win the cup you’re disappointed.
"When you have the McDavid, Draisaitl, Nurse, Nugent-Hopkins-type players, it means your aspirations are the Stanley Cup"
The comments come just two days after the Oilers had their season come to a close following a 4-3 triple-overtime loss in Game 4.
"They won three overtime games. I don’t really feel like we got outplayed," Holland said. “The Jets found a way to advance and we didn’t.”
Holland did acknowledge that changes will have to be made for success to come next season.
"Some of the solution is external, some is internal." Holland said. "There’s a large part of the team that needs to be re-signed or we use that cap space and go to market."
One player that the Edmonton GM would like to bring back is veteran goaltender Mike Smith. When asked about the future of Smith, Holland was adamant.
"Yes, I do want to re-sign Mike Smith," he said, adding that the two will connect in a couple of weeks after both are settled in their B.C. summer homes.
When asked if a buyout of a player on his roster could happen this summer Holland said it was “very possible.”
One thing that Holland doesn't see himself doing is mortgaging the future for a quick one-year solution. When he was asked about his desire to make a big trade to shake up the team, he said that wasn't seen as a necessity.
One area where Holland would like to shake things up is lower on the depth chart. Holland is a fan of his leadership group, but would like to add some veterans to help the younger guys on the team.
"I don’t think the solution is moving first-round picks and young prospects." Holland said. "When you look at the leadership with this group, that’s what I did in Detroit. We created depth; you need secondary leadership. That’s what I’m trying to do. We’re trying to make the team deeper and better.
"We want to have some young guys on the team because we believe they’re a part of the solution, but you also need those veterans that have experience and have been there before."