Upon being hired as Edmonton’s GM in 2013, Craig MacTavish called himself a “man of action” prepared to do “bold things” to make the Oilers better.
Two years later… well, at least he’s still on message.
“It’s going to be a very busy summer,” MacTavish said during Monday’s season-ending presser. “We’ve got to make some additions.
“Make no mistake, we have the assets to go out and acquire more proven players.”
Which begs the question — what assets?
Per Sportsnet, MacTavish has informed Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins they won’t be moved. Nail Yakupov was believed to be in that group as well, and today signed a two-year contract extension.
One would assume Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse are off the table. That leaves some less-than-enticing roster pieces available for trade… and the big ticket.
That, of course, is Edmonton’s first-round pick at the upcoming NHL Entry Draft.
The lottery goes on Saturday, with the Oilers holding an 11.5 percent chance at the first overall selection and locked into — at worst — the No. 4 pick. While it might seem crazy to trade that high a selection in an extremely deep draft, do consider what MacTavish said back in November.
“I don’t view another first-round draft choice as what we need. Whether I can get suitable value for that remains to be seen.”
Of course, that was back in November, before Edmonton’s season went in the toilet — the thinking might’ve changed since then. But if it didn’t, MacTavish’s comments today suggest that pick could very well be in play, especially given how he thinks this summer could unfold.
“Do I envision a scenario where a proven top one or two defenseman becomes available? Potentially. I think there are going to be some very unhappy teams here in the next couple of weeks,” he explained. “There are going to be teams that are up against a very tight salary cap, and that’s going to create an environment where they potentially could be looking to offload some high-end assets.
“We’d be in a position — because of the developing assets that we have — where we’d be able to acquire them.”