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Edmonton Oilers offseason: Five biggest questions

The Edmonton Oilers gave a valiant effort in coming back from a 0-3 deficit in the Stanley Cup Final to force a Game 7, but after that heart-breaking loss, they will try to figure out how to get over the hump in 2024/25.

The Oilers want to win the Cup in order to boost captain Connor McDavid's case as the greatest player of his generation, but they also have some big decisions coming up in terms of contract extensions.

Here, we take a deep dive into five things that Edmonton needs to figure out this summer.

Solidify the front office

What was once the elephant in the room is no longer that, and it is more like finding a needle in a haystack.

There was plenty of discussion and speculation surrounding general manager Ken Holland following the Stanley Cup Final loss, but that speculation became clear-cut soon when the team announced Holland's contract would not be renewed.

As of now, CEO Jeff Jackson has taken over an interim role, but the organization has openly said that they do not plan on him fully taking over as GM.

Therefore, solidifying that position is essential in helping Edmonton hoist their first Stanley Cup since 1990 after being so close in 2024.

What is Leon Draisaitl's future?

There’s no denying that Connor McDavid is the first skater on fans’ minds when they think of the Oilers - or hockey in general for that matter - but Leon Draisaitl would be the unquestioned superstar on the majority of other NHL teams.

With that in mind, the Oilers need to figure out what to do in terms of keeping the dynamic duo together or not.

We’ll be asking this question in regard to McDavid a year from now, but Draisaitl’s contract expires after the 2024/25 season. So, Edmonton needs to decide if they want to extend him right now, let next season play out and go from there, or even trade him.

The latter is an option because if they let next season play out, they could lose the German for nothing.

Acquire goaltending depth

Prior to the 2023/24 season, goaltending was a massive issue in Edmonton and it was arguably the most significant reason as to why they were unable to even reach a Stanley Cup Final with McDavid in years past.

Thankfully for Oilers fans, Stuart Skinner helped change that narrative this past year.

Therefore, it was no surprise that Skinner re-signed with the team shortly after free agency began. However, backup Jack Campbell headed down to the States and signed with the Detroit Red Wings.

Admittedly, he didn’t look to be their best option as a second netminder, but they still need to fill the goalie room with someone that can take some action to help preserve Skinner for what the team expects to be another deep playoff run.

Acquire more depth overall

Aside from goaltending specifically, there are still questions to be asked regarding the Oilers overall depth.

Perhaps the most significant example of this is Evander Kane, the team's fifth-highest-paid forward, as he was virtually non-existent in the most recent Stanley Cup playoffs - in part due to injury - after having some standout performances in the 2022/23 postseason.

As a result, Edmonton is at least demonstrating that they understand depth was an issue against the Florida Panthers.

Once free agency began, they re-signed the likes of Corey Perry, Adam Henrique and Connor Brown, among others. It’s also worth noting that they signed Viktor Arvidsson, who can certainly help put more pressure on opposing goaltenders.

Experienced contributors like Kyle Okposo, Joe Pavelski and Max Pacioretty are all still available in free agency and could be worth pursuing.

Dial up the defence

Whoever fills Edmonton's general manager role will need to determine the approach that the Oilers want to take on defence, as what we saw from Darnell Nurse - the team's second-highest-paid player - this past postseason was some of his worst hockey.

Conversely, Evan Bouchard proved to be a vital piece of Edmonton’s defensive pairings, but they need to shore up multiple strong pairings.

They also lost Vincent Desharnis in free agency to divisional rival Vancouver Canucks and he played in 78 of 82 games this past season.

Overall, the Oilers are in a solid position given the recent free agency, but there is always room for improvement. Former Nashville Predators defenseman Tyson Barrie is an unrestricted free agent and could be worth pursuing at the right price.

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