Edmonton Oilers At Crossroads With New Coach, Young Team

By Andy Schmidt
Edmonton Oilers
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Edmonton Oilers are at a bit of a crossroads right now.

They have hired a new coach in Dallas Eakins after firing former coach Ralph Krueger on Skype. They have had three No. 1 picks lately and those players are maturing at a nice pace. The question is whether or not any moves need to be made heading into next season.

This team is in good shape having players like Taylor Hall and Nail Yakupov on it. Eakins needs to figure out however what he wants to do with other positions though. Will the team keep Sam Gagner around or trade him for a veteran leader? Is Devan Dubnyk the answer in goal?

I don’t see the team trading Gagner right now. He is coming off of a season where he scored 38 points in 48 games and was the team’s leading center. If the team wanted to have a line with Hall, Gagner and Yakupov on it, I would have no problem with that idea at all.

Dubnyk took over for Nikolai Khabibulin in net and was solid with a 14-16-6 record and a 2.57 goals against average. The number of quality net minders that will be available isn’t very high so they could be stuck with Dubnyk going forward.

The potential for a playoff berth in Edmonton is closer than many people may think. The Oilers were only three games under the .500 mark this season and given a full season next year, Edmonton could be one of the biggest surprises in the NHL. It will all come down to how Eakins does in his first year and the continued improvement on Hall and Yakupov.

Andy Schmidt is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ASchmidtSports, like his Facebook page or add him to your network on Google.

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