Sports Ken Holland: Oilers have in-house solutions, but there's interest in Evander Kane
Top 10 NHL Storylines of 2021-22 So Far
With the calendar set to turn over Friday night, we look back at ten of the biggest storylines so far through the first portion of the 2021-22 NHL season. © Provided by Hockey News on Sports Illustrated The NHL is finally set to resume its 2021-22 schedule tonight, with six teams currently slated for action and another 14 to resume play tomorrow. But with all but the dregs of the 2021 portion of the schedule now in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to look back on the biggest stories that were in the past year.
Ken Holland is very much without answers at the moment, though he would offer some on Tuesday morning while addressing the Edmonton Oilers' in-season fall from grace.
Somewhat impromptu, the Oilers GM did what he could to provide a positive spin in a media conference, with his team in a 2-9-2 funk, but his frustration would take hold before the session was through.
Holland became most agitated with the final query, and when he was asked if he would consider spending futures assets to improve the club in the immediate term.
"If your question to me is '(am I willing) to trade a Grade-A prospect just to give a little bit of a boost and a bump and so we can have another press conference next week, and then that guy flourishes and goes on to an organization somewhere else for five, six, seven, eight, 10 years, and we're back to the market next year because that person we got leaves,' I'm not doing that.
Rangers sit atop NHL after Kreider, Strome help beat Oilers
NEW YORK (AP) — New York Rangers coach Gerard Gallant was looking for a strong group effort against the Edmonton Oilers. He got that on Monday night, and now his team is sitting atop the NHL standings. Chris Kreider scored his 20th goal, Ryan Strome had a goal and two assists, and the Rangers beat the slumping Oilers 4-1 for their third straight win. “When we talked before the game, we talked about 20 guys playing, and 20 guys showed up to play hard so that was huge for our group,” Gallant said. “We got the lead again and just kept going.
"Does that answer your question?"
What Holland might be interested in is a top-end talent that just entered a free, but understandably cautious, market.
Holland admitted that he has had some preliminary discussion with Evander Kane's agent, Dan Milstein, about the possibility of bringing the embattled forward into the fold after he was bought out by the San Jose Sharks.
"It's my responsibility to investigate every situation," Holland said, stating on a few occasions that he believes in "second chances."
Oilers GM Ken Holland says he has spoken to Evander Kane's agent.
What do you think Oilers fans?— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends)
As a secondary scorer likely to provide value on any deal he signs (at least from shift to shift), Kane is a logical fit from an on-ice perspective with an incomplete top six, as the Oilers continue to struggle to score goals outside Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl minutes. However, it's certainly worth wondering how Kane would fit in a locker room with emotions and frustrations beginning to — at the very least — simmer, or if he could even manage to shelve his personal issues in order to perform altogether.
Oilers' Koskinen responds to coach's criticism: 'Not nice being thrown under the bus'
Unsurprisingly, Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen didn't appreciate the pointed criticism he received from his coach following another disappointing outing in a 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers. Koskinen hit back with what hurts most, the truth, providing a fairly simple rationale as to why the losses, and the team's current losing streak, don't fall exclusively on his shoulders. ”It’s not nice being thrown under the bus," Koskinen toldKoskinen hit back with what hurts most, the truth, providing a fairly simple rationale as to why the losses, and the team's current losing streak, don't fall exclusively on his shoulders.
There is a distinct possibility, based on his history, that throwing Kane into the mix would be akin to dropping a match onto a gasoline spill.
Beyond leaving the door open for Kane, it doesn't seem like Holland has any obvious alternative when looking to salvage another potentially lost McDavid and Draisaitl season.
The Oilers GM ran down his list of offseason moves at one point in the presser, almost as though he was perplexed by the fact that it hasn't worked out the way he imagined.
He also repeated, several times, that he believes the solution is inside the dressing room.
That hopeful perspective extends to the head coaching position, with Holland providing a vote of confidence, or a version of it, to Dave Tippett.
"I don't believe in it, I guess," Holland said when asked about his thoughts on firing a coach midseason.
"But I always understand that there are times when possibly it needs to be done or should be done," he added, as if to suggest that this isn't one of those instances. "There have been seven coaches here in 10 years. You can't just keep whipping through coaches."
Unflinching and apparently still very much a believer in what the Oilers have inside the room and behind the bench, it appears the team will continue under Holland with the same coach, with the same goaltenders, with the same disadvantaged superstars, and with fingers crossed.
Oh, and maybe with Evander Kane.
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Tyson Barrie extension proving to be one of Holland’s biggest mistakes .
Amid a flurry of criticism, extending Tyson Barrie seemed like a relatively harmless move for the Edmonton Oilers. But the gift of hindsight has proven this to be one of general manager Ken Holland's worst decisions. After a very impressive 2020-21 regular season, the Oilers were flat-out embarrassed in the playoffs, getting swept by the Winnipeg Jets in the opening round. It was clear that despite having two of the best stars in the game in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, this team needed to greatly improve its depth. The good news was that for the first time in his tenure with the Oilers, Holland finally had some cap space to make the necessary changes.