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Oilers GM Holland non-committal on trade deadline plans

Ken Holland Ken Holland

The Edmonton Oilers have climbed out of a disastrous start to the season to enter play Monday sitting in the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference at 20-15-1.

Oilers general manager Ken Holland, though, is not quite ready to commit to having a buyer's mindset for the March 8 trade deadline and noted the team could be better off staying the course at goaltender. 

“What I would say to any question is we are having our pro scouting meetings in a couple of weeks. Just like every other team, you’re going to go through your own team and see where you’re at,” Holland told TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun for The Athletic. “You’re going to come out of those meetings, and in late January or early February, you going to determine if you’re a buyer or a seller or do you need to see more games because you’re on the bubble and you want to see what direction you’re going to go.”

“We’ll make an assessment. In the meantime, I’ll keep watching to see. Certainly Stuart Skinner is playing really good, Calvin Pickard has been a really good backup. There’s great chemistry between them. Pickard’s an unreal team player; he really supports Stuart Skinner.”

The Oilers have leaned on the combination of Skinner and Pickard since placing goaltender Jack Campbell on waivers in November. Skinner, 25, has a 16-9-1 record with a 2.76 goals-against average and a .898 save percentage this season. Pickard, 31, has a 3-2-0 record with a 2.82 GAA and a .904 save percentage since being promoted to the Oilers roster. 

Campbell, who started the year 1-4-0 with the Oilers, has gone 5-6-0 with the AHL's Bakersfield Condors since clearing waivers, posting a .893 save percentage and a 3.32 GAA.

“I’ll watch Jack Campbell, I’ll work the phones, I’ll watch our team and ultimately between now and the trade deadline, make some decisions with our staff as to what we think we need to do,” Holland added.

The 31-year-old Campbell remains signed through the 2026-27 season at a cap hit of $5 million and LeBrun adds he does not expect the Oilers move the goaltender - via a trade or buyout - until the off-season. 

Coming off a seventh straight win on Saturday over the Ottawa Senators, the Oilers will visit the Chicago Blackhawks Tuesday in the first of a three-game road trip.