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Ken Holland’s moves to be measured as Edmonton Oilers start new season

WATCH ABOVE: Some recent video about the Edmonton Oilers.

Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland has spent the last five months making moves to try and improve his hockey team.

“Did we make the right moves?” Holland asked Tuesday morning. “The answer is in the 82-game season.”

The Oilers open the NHL regular season Wednesday night at home against the Vancouver Canucks.

Burdened by missing the playoffs 12 of the last 13 seasons, Oilers fans hope Holland can finally find the recipe for winning that has eluded other GMs in Oil Country.

“What I’ve said from Day 1 is our goal is to compete for a playoff spot,” Holland emphasized. “We have a nucleus of players. We need to surround them better.”

Watch below: The night before the NHL’s regular season gets underway, Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland held a state of the team address. John Sexsmith reports.

Ken Holland speaks out about his Edmonton Oilers ahead of NHL season
Ken Holland speaks out about his Edmonton Oilers ahead of NHL season

Many of Holland’s moves revolved around adding experience, speed and penalty-killing to the forward unit, adding players like Josh Archibald, Markus Granlund and Riley Sheahan.

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“On the 2019-20 look, our goal is put some veteran players on the bottom part of the roster and compete for a playoff spot,” Holland said. “On the longer look, while that’s going on, we need to develop players at the American [Hockey] League level and other players that we own.”

Two of Holland’s European imports up front — Joakim Nygard and Gaetan Haas — have made the opening day roster. They did so at the expense of veteran Sam Gagner, who cleared waivers Tuesday morning and was assigned to the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors.

READ MORE: Edmonton Oilers place Sam Gagner on waivers

“It was a very difficult day,” Holland said. “He’s an Oiler. He was drafted by the Oilers. He’s a good person. He wants to be an Oiler.

“He loves playing here for the Oilers. He wants to be part of the solution.”

Holland added he expects Gagner to play games for the Oilers this season.

Sheahan and defenceman Joel Persson will start the season on the injured list. Tomas Jurco will miss the season opener because of a procedure.

Darnell Nurse and Leon Draisaitl have been named alternate captains, joining Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Adam Larsson. Connor McDavid is going into his fourth season as captain.

Catch the Oilers and Canucks on 630 CHED Wednesday night with The Faceoff Show at 6 p.m. The game starts at 8 p.m.

Watch below: Some recent Global News videos about the Edmonton Oilers.

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