Better or worse: The NHL Trade Deadline

by | Mar 28, 2024 | Opinion

Every year around the NHL Trade Deadline teams choose to either sell their players to build for the future or trade their future for players to help them win now.

The Edmonton Oilers are one of those teams in ‘win now’ mode. Because of this, General Manager Ken Holland made a three-team trade sending the Oilers 2024 first-round pick and a conditional fifth-rounder to the Anaheim Ducks, in exchange for forwards Adam Henrique and Sam Carrick at 50% contract retention.

A 2025 fourth-round pick was also sent over to the Tampa Bay Lightning to have them retain 25% of both of their salaries.

The biggest piece the Oilers got from the deadline was Adam Henrique, who’s a skilled two-way forward that has demonstrated his ability to be a team player. Henrique can play top minutes or fit in as a third-liner who won’t complain about his ice time if it means the team finds success. In 60 games with the Ducks this season, Henrique potted 18 goals for 42 total points placing him third in team scoring and second in goals.

The 34-year-old centre brings a veteran presence to a well-rounded roster, providing needed playoff experience–he boasts several postseason appearances. Henrique has a solid defensive game and an excellent eye for making the right play. He’s sure to be a positive addition to the oil.

Sam Carrick slots into the team as an extra forward. He can both play when there’s an injury while giving a different look for coaches during certain matchups. His size and strength bulks up the Oilers bottom six while adding a scoring edge on offence. Carrick is an elite penalty killer; he always has his stick in the right spots to intercept passes and shut down attacks from the opposition.

Overall, Henrique and Carrick fit well in the Oilers lineup. Most nights Henrique will likely shadow as a second-line winger that can be played in all situations, while  Carrick will take the role as a fourth-liner forward for the majority of his game. Both forwards are trusted players that the coaches and the team can lean on to help push for the win.

The Oil also picked up veteran defenseman Troy Stetcher from the Arizona Coyotes for a 2024 fourth-round pick and a 2027 seventh-round pick. He’s another piece that can help the Oilers find more success, as he’ll fill in as a much-needed seventh defenseman during injuries. 

Stetcher is a smaller, speedy defenseman who can move the puck well and shut down offensive plays when needed. He isn’t a game-deciding player, but will undoubtedly impact the team if his name is called into the lineup.

This year, as much as fans wanted the Oilers to go all in, it seems like Holland opted to make the safe trades rather than the big ones. Instead of forking out all their assets, the Oilers maintained their future picks while adding enough to contend for the cup. Even though the new additions make the team more competitive, other squads made bigger splashes.

In the Western Conference, some of the most lethal pieces available were brought in, making me have some doubt about the Oilers’ chances for lord Stanley. The Dallas Stars got the best defensemen on the trade board while the Avalanche made big moves up front to fight hard for another cup. On top of that, the Vegas Golden Knights traded almost the entirety of their first-round selections up until 2027 to acquire Tomas Hertl, and Noah Hanafin in attempts to defend as champions.

Even though all those other moves were made within the conference, I still give the Oilers a 7/10 at the deadline. They got what they needed but they didn’t get those pieces that solidify themselves as the best team in the league. But as we know, the best team isn’t always the team that wins, meaning the race for the Stanley Cup is in anybody’s reach.

No matter what happens, both myself and the rest of Edmonton will be cheering on the orange and blue during their quest for the cup this season.

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