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Eakins says Oilers need to add ‘some veteran leadership’

Mar 28, 2014, 3:56 PM EDT

“We need to supplement this group with probably some veteran leadership, some guys that can make plays, and not so much a toughness aspect, but guys that are going to win battles in this conference.”

Edmonton Oilers fans have heard this sort of thing before. And they heard it again Wednesday from head coach Dallas Eakins (around the 7:00 mark of the video below):

Eakins may be right, but it’s not really what the Oilers were still supposed to be saying at this point in the rebuild, which has been going on for quite some time now.

Yesterday, PHT readers voted Edmonton as Canada’s most disappointing team. Which when you consider all the other strong candidates says a lot about how far below expectations the Oilers have fallen this season.

Ultimately, the personnel decisions will be up to general manager Craig MacTavish, who we always like to note promised to do “bold things” when he was hired in April.

Exactly what kind of “veteran leadership” MacTavish could go out and get (if he agrees with his coach on that need) is the big question. It’s not a particularly strong free-agent crop, and while a player like Ryan Callahan would seem to fit the description of what Eakins would like to add, convincing players — especially an American like Callahan who’s spent his entire NHL career in the East — to move to Edmonton isn’t always easy. (Not without overpaying.)

If it’s a trade that MacTavish needs to make in order to bolster the roster, well, certainly the Oilers have some interesting chips to play there. (And why we’d love to tap his phone for any calls he makes to Nashville this summer.)

  1. cordellanderson - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    Yea, because they aren’t getting it from their coach…

    • joey4id - Mar 28, 2014 at 5:19 PM

      Now that’s a cheap shot……

      • cordellanderson - Mar 28, 2014 at 6:02 PM

        I’m an Oilers fan. My life as a hockey fan is nothing but cheap shots from the media, fans and other teams.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Mar 28, 2014 at 6:24 PM

      Us Flames fans are also taking plenty of cheap shots as well!

      • cordellanderson - Mar 28, 2014 at 6:36 PM

        Amen Brother. At least we wont have to take any from our Canucks brethren any more!

      • salmon90 - Mar 29, 2014 at 12:22 AM

        The Canucks are having a disastrous season – the worst in at least the last decade – and they’re still 20 points clear of the Oilers.

        How’s that?

  2. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    True, but you need a competent core to entice any half-decent veteran. Not too many guys out there are looking at this sinking ship and thinking, “I want in on that!”

    • umpis - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:55 PM

      From a purely leadership standpoint – maybe someone like Brooks Laich, if he’s bought out? If he heals up like he seems to think he will, there’s a half-decent veteran for (hopefully) a decent price. Probably better options, but he seems like the kind of guy they need in the room along with Ference.

  3. nhbsfan - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:43 PM

    Isn’t that why they signed Ference and made him captain?

  4. mshantz22 - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:45 PM

    What they could use is an assistant coach who can teach some defense. The team as a whole seems to lack defensive responsibility.

  5. lordfletcher - Mar 28, 2014 at 4:59 PM

    Would you like some “leadership” in the shape of a Mikko Koivu

    RNH .. Lets make a deal

  6. rushledger - Mar 28, 2014 at 5:00 PM

    To me that says making Ference captain was a bad move and isn’t working well. Then again not much is working well on that team.

  7. rtookey - Mar 28, 2014 at 5:05 PM

    need veteran leadership to show the kids that just squeeked through puberty on the team that you don’t need to go out to the bar and get lit up every single night leaving them useless during game time.

  8. killerpgh - Mar 28, 2014 at 5:22 PM

    I don’t see the Penguins resigning Brooks Orpik this off season. Could help out their defense. But then again I don’t know if he would be willing to play in Edmonton for the same reason listed above for Callahan.

  9. mrhyperpants - Mar 28, 2014 at 5:25 PM

    The Avs have done well with a new coach with a positive attitude. They have a young group of talent just like the oilers.

  10. atwatercrushesokoye - Mar 28, 2014 at 5:47 PM

    They could really use a steady veteran defensive presence like Ladislav Smid, if only they could get someone like that on their roster….

  11. crazemastercraze - Mar 28, 2014 at 6:26 PM

    They need a little cram!

  12. bruins4ever - Mar 29, 2014 at 12:19 AM

    Great coach those Oilers have, he’s now saying that they need some leadership on the team. Last fall before the season started he had to pick out 6 assistants, because they were all leaders and it was just not right to only pick out 2 or 3.
    Seems he not only coached them into the basement, he can’t pick out leaders correctly. Nobody on that team besides Ference has shown any kind of leadership

  13. darksidecowboy - Mar 29, 2014 at 1:24 PM

    Just make the blockbuster trade for Weber already!

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