Edmonton Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson is “really disappointed” and “shocked” at how the 2017-18 season has unfolded.
Heading into Tuesday’s action, the NHL basement-dwelling Arizona Coyotes were the only Western Conference team with fewer points than the Oilers. The team has lost four straight and with only 27 games remaining on the schedule the playoffs seem out of reach.
“The whole group has to take responsibility,” Nicholson said Tuesday during an appearance on Prime Time Sports. “It starts in the dressing room all the way up to me.
“I’m convinced that with some changes we’ll be a lot better next year, but we got a heck of a lot of work to do.”
With the NHL Trade Deadline less than two weeks away, Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli could be one of the busiest execs in hockey right up until 3 p.m. ET on Feb. 26. Management will need to make decisions on pending unrestricted free agents Patrick Maroon, Mark Letestu and Mike Cammalleri, but it might not stop there.
“We will look to do something to try to improve our team, short and long term,” Nicholson said. “We’ve got some assets that we could trade here.”
Nicholson explained that he and team brass will use the remaining games to get a good evaluation on the players that could return for next season.
“If we could add another top defenceman that would be real good,” Nicholson added.
The former Hockey Canada president said that although the Oilers have some “excellent pieces,” some players have underperformed. He then pointed to the fact Edmonton has the 30th-ranked power play and is dead last in penalty kill and save percentage.
“We get one or two of those [categories] up we’re way better,” Nicholson said before giving a vote of confidence to the team’s starting netminder. “I still really believe in Cam Talbot and he’ll be the first person to say he hasn’t had a good year.”