The Edmonton Oilers have had a pretty quiet offseason and by the standards of a team that really underwhelmed last season they have made very few changes to their current roster thus far in the summer. Based on all the rumors that we have been hearing out of Edmonton over the past few weeks it sounds like that is how things will remain with very little appetite on the side of the Oilers for any game changing type of transactions.
Although there has been an expectation that the Oilers are likely done until at least the start of the 2018 - 2019 National Hockey League regular season it now appears that the Oilers intend to make at least one more move before the season officially gets under way. The Oilers currently only have 13 forwards under contract and although you usually expect a team to operate with at least 14 forwards on their regular roster it didn't appear initially that the Oilers would look to fill that spot. Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli however was a recent guest on Oilers Now with legendary Oilers radio personality Bob Stauffer and during that interview he admitted that he was indeed still hope to add a 14th forward.
As you would expect though the Oilers are not looking at a blockbuster type of move at this stage of the summer but rather a complimentary move that would likely see them bring in an experienced veteran or gamble on a promising young prospect that was looked over by his current NHL team.
"I've been asked quite a bit about that 14th forward," Chiarelli said as per NHL.com. "We've talked to a number of players on PTOs. We're going to look at waivers and see what's available there.
"We're going to kind of take it slowly because we also have some guys that may compete and beat out guys - younger players - that might be in that category."
This may be the best approach for Chiarelli at this time considering that teams will be scrambling to finalize their rosters during the preseason. You never know which team may have a young prospect breakout and command a roster spot, forcing a veteran player to be placed on waivers in order to make room, and that could be an opportunity for the Oilers to pounce. Just earlier today we reported that 23 year old defenseman Gustav Olofsson was likely to find himself either traded or placed on waivers around training camp as the Wild look to deal with a long jam for the final spot on their 23 man roster. Now Olofsson would not be a viable 14th forward for the Oilers, he is after all a defenseman, but this is the perfect example of the kind of situations opposing teams can find themselves in, situations that mean opportunity for Chiarelli and the Oilers.
Chiarelli also mentioned the possibility of bringing in a more established veteran, one that wasn't offered an NHL contract this summer, on a professional tryout offer. The Oilers would obviously prefer to promote from within but with prospects like Jesse Puljujarvi failing to live up to expectations in recent years it remains to see if the Oilers prospect pool can help gill that gap on the roster.
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