GM Ken Holland says Edmonton Oilers needs tweaks to be cup contender: ‘We’re not good enough’

The man at the helm of the Edmonton Oilers says the team is getting close to championship caliber — but there’s still work to do.

“We’re not good enough right now, today, to win the Stanley Cup,” president of hockey operations and general manager Ken Holland said on Wednesday.

“We gotta make some tweaks. We gotta get some push from our kids. We need some of our younger people to make a push. The manager’s gotta make a couple of tweaks. The coach is going to make a couple of tweaks.”

Read more: Edmonton Oilers’ best playoff run in 16 years

That coach is likely to be Jay Woodcroft, who could have the interim tag removed from his title next week. Woodcroft took over in February after Dave Tippett was fired and went 26-9-3 in the regular season.

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“I’ve worked here for seven years — proud member of this organization. This is my third different job title. I enjoyed it,” said Woodcroft, who joined the Oilers as an assistant coach in 2015 before taking over the farm team in Bakersfield in 2018. “I don’t have any update on it.”

“I think he did a fabulous job,” said Holland, who expects to meet with Woodcroft Monday or Tuesday.

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Best Edmonton Oilers playoff run in 16 years has fans believing team will only get better – Jun 7, 2022

Winger Evander Kane is an unrestricted free agent. He joined the Oilers mid-season and racked up 39 points in 43 games. To retain Kane, the Oilers will likely have to offer him a significant raise.

“Am I interested in bringing him back? Yes. I think he had a big impact on our team, not only his ability to score goals, but he plays with an edge.

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“His cap number is $2 million. I don’t expect him to play for a $2-million cap number next year. I don’t know what it is,” Holland said.

Read more: Will Evander Kane and Mike Smith return to Edmonton Oilers?

In goal, Mikko Koskinen is expected to play in Europe next season. Mike Smith has a year left on his contract but could retire.

“I don’t think we have a number one goalie. We had two 1As this year with Koski and Smitty, when they’re both healthy,” Holland said.

“Do I want a number one goalie that’s a stud? Yeah, I think 32 teams want that.”

Holland added that most true number one goalies have been drafted and developed by their current teams. The Oilers’ top goalie prospect is Stuart Skinner, taken in the third round in 2017.

“We got hopes for Stu Skinner, but he’s 23. To really expect he’s going to come in and play 55, 60 games — I think it’s too much to expect and too much to put on him.”

The Oilers placed goalie Ilya Konovalov on unconditional waivers. The 23-year-old was drafted 83rd overall by the Oilers in 2019.

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Read more: Edmonton Oilers swept by Colorado Avalanche in NHL West Final

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