The general manager of the Edmonton Oilers says his team is bigger and deeper after the NHL’s trade deadline passed on Friday afternoon.
Ken Holland didn’t make any moves on Friday, but did make two moves earlier in the week. On Thursday, he acquired 6’6″ forward Nick Bjugstad from the Arizona Coyotes.
“We wanted to get a little deeper up front,” Holland said. “Our scouts have sat on Arizona a lot over the last month. He shoots right, takes face-offs, penalty kills.”
“Big body. He has skill too. He’s kind of reinvigorated his career down in Arizona by playing a lot, being a trusted player down there,” said Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft.
Bjugstad is not expected to be in the lineup Friday night when the Oilers host the Winnipeg Jets (630 CHED, Face-off Show at 5:30 p.m., game at 7 p.m.).
It will be the second game with the Oilers for Mattias Ekholm.
The 6’4″ blueliner was solid in the 5-2 win over Toronto on Wednesday after being acquired from Nashville on Tuesday.
“I think he’s going to be a good role model and mentor for our young defencemen,” said Holland.
“I’d definitely rather play with him,” chuckled forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. “He’s a hard guy to play against. He makes the right decision all over the ice. He makes it tough to get to the net.”
Holland wouldn’t say specifically if he was in pursuit of other players who had been linked to the Oilers in rumours, such as San Jose Sharks defenceman Erik Karlsson.
“I don’t know if I talked to every manager in the league the last two weeks, but I talked to anyone for sure who was a seller,” said Holland.