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Holland on Oilers' deadline approach: 'We’re dollar in, dollar out'


With the National Hockey League's trade deadline just weeks away, cap space will dictate what kind of moves the Edmonton Oilers will make by March 3.

“Whether it's forwards or defence, it’s my job to be aware of who is available and eventually what the price might be,” Oilers general manager Ken Holland said Wednesday on the Got Yer Back podcast with TSN’s Ryan Rishaug, Mike Johnson and TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun.

“[Regardless] of names, we’re dollar in, dollar out, so [if] we start bringing in people with big cap numbers, we’re going to have to do some real gymnastics here to move people out. When you’re in a LTI situation like we are, it’s much more difficult at the trade deadline.

“I would like to do something. Am I convinced I will do something? I don’t know.”

According to CapFriendly, Edmonton currently has $1.125 million in cap space with forward Kailer Yamamoto ($3.1 million AAV) eligible to come off the long term injured reserve on Saturday. Defenceman Oscar Klefbom ($4.1 million AAV) and goaltender Mike Smith ($2.2 million AAV) have been on Long-Term Injured Reserve since the beginning of the season.

“Once Yamamoto comes off LTI and no one else goes on, I’ve got some real difficult decisions to make,” explained Holland. “All of our bottom of the roster players are going to be involved in that decision to decide. They all can’t stay.”

Since joining the Oilers as general manager in 2019, Holland has added depth players such as Andreas Athanasiou, Mike Green, Tyler Ennis, Brett Kulak and Derick Brassard at the deadline.

“The market has to show itself,” said Holland. “I think early on, if you’re two-three weeks in advance of the deadline, if you’re a seller, you ask for a high price. And as you start to get near the deadline, you find the price points.”

The Oilers occupy the first wild card spot in the Western Conference with an 8-1-1 record in their last 10 games.

The Oilers reached the Western Conference final last season before being swept by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche. Boasting the top two scorers in the league in Connor McDavid (96 points) and Leon Draisaitl (76 points) as well as the league’s best power play at 31.8 per cent, the Oilers have another opportunity to go on another deep playoff run in a conference where a clear favourite has not emerged.