Even if the Edmonton Oilers continue to struggle, don’t expect to see a massive overhaul – at least not in the near future.
“We can’t go out and make huge changes. We have to take it step by step,” Bob Nicholson, vice-chairman of the Oilers Entertainment Group, told Prime Time Sports on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Wednesday.
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Heading into Wednesday’s action, the Oilers were dead last in the NHL standings and fans are clamouring for the team to make some immediate changes whether it be firing the coach or making trades. However, Nicholson said the organization will take a patient approach to righting the ship.
“We can’t start to just tear everything down,” the former Hockey Canada CEO added. “We have to get a solid plan as we go forward here of how we can get this team to win a Stanley Cup. We’re a long ways from that where our record is today — we all realize that — we just can’t panic here and make major changes unless they’re going to help us in the future.”
Over the weekend, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Damien Cox reported that the Oilers are desperate to make a trade, but GMs around the league believe the team doesn’t want to part ways with its core players.
“Right now we still believe in the nucleus of this team,” Nicholson said. “The skill level of these players is very good…We want to make sure that we do the right changes.”
Forward David Perron, who isn’t considered one of these core players, is believed to be on the trade block.
Nicholson explained that the organization must look at the big picture and not just short-term roster moves.
“We’re going to have to look at every part of this organization — how we scout, look at players, develop players.”
The only non-first-round Oilers draft pick since 2007 on the current roster is defenceman Martin Marincin.
“We need to get more out of those second, third, fourth-round players,” Nicholson added.
The Oilers haven’t qualified for the post-season since their run to the Stanley Cup final in the 2005-06 season.
“I feel for the fans that have been through this for eight years,” Nicholson said. “It’s certainly not what we wanted…We’ve got to get the team better and that’s our mandate.”