The general manager of the struggling Edmonton Oilers believes better days are ahead.
“We’re better than what we’ve been playing. I believe that,” Ken Holland said during a new conference Tuesday morning.
The Oilers have gone 2-9-2 in their last 13 games and have seen their record for the season sink from 16-5-0 on Dec. 1 to their current mark of 18-14-2. During that time, they’ve been plagued by poor special teams, struggling goaltenders, and a lack of depth scoring.
So will Holland swing a trade to help in one of those areas? Not likely.
“I’ve talked to a few managers the last week,” said Holland. “How many trades of consequence have gone on in this league since the season started? Not many.”
“The solution has to be in that locker room or somebody from Bakersfield,” he added. “I am working the phones, but for right now today, the solution has to be in that locker room.”
Head coach Dave Tippett has been facing criticism for some of his decisions. Holland recognized that sometimes a coaching change is necessary, but he’s never fired a coach mid-season in his career as a general manager.
“There have been seven coaches here in ten years. You can’t just keep whipping through coaches. I think the team plays hard,” Holland said. “We’re going to start to win.
“I believe in the coach. I believe in the team. I believe in the leadership of the team. I believe in their determination.”
Holland confirmed he has inquired about embattled winger Evander Kane, who recently had his contract terminated by the San Jose Sharks.
“I’ve talked to his agent. His agent is Dan Millstein. I know Dan very well because he was Pavel Datsyuk’s agent,” said Holland. “It’s my job to investigate every situation, talk to managers. I have talked to Dan.”
Kane, 30, had 49 points in 56 games for the Sharks last season. In October, he was suspended 21 games for using a fake COVID vaccination card. He has also faced allegations of domestic abuse and gambling on NHL games. The NHL investigated both claims and found them to be unsubstantiated.
Kane filed for bankruptcy in 2021 and has admitted to having a gambling problem in the past.
“I believe in second chances. It’s hard to be perfect. We’re all people. We all mistakes. Some make big mistakes, some make little mistakes,” Holland said. “I think if somebody makes a decision or does something in their life and they make a mistake, I think they have to try to learn from it and try to change and should be entitled to a second opportunity once they do some of those things.”
The Oilers will return to practice on Wednesday. Their next game is Saturday at Rogers Place against the Ottawa Senators (630 CHED, Face-off Show 6:30 p.m., puck drop 8 p.m.).