NHL Rumors: Oilers three big trade needs, and players voicing Olympic COVID protocol concerns

nhl rumors oilers
Oct 19, 2021; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (29) celebrates a a first period goal, his 200th career with forward Connor McDavid (97) against the Anaheim Ducks at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The Edmonton Oilers have now lost five straight games and are tied with the surging Vegas Golden Knights for third in the Pacific Division.

Both Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are tied for the NHL lead in scoring but they can’t do it alone. Edmonton’s expectations are high this season which means that another playoff failure is beyond intolerable.

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NHL Rumors: Oilers going to go for it

Edmonton’s GM Ken Holland has been very cautious on the trade front. Many believed he would make a big move at last year’s deadline but opted not to not make a rash deal. This summer he’s been more aggressive signing Zach Hyman and acquiring/signing Duncan Keith.

According to Elliotte Friedman, Holland is going to go for it this season and will definitely use his first round pick in order to get a deal done.

“Edmonton is considering three areas,” Friedman said on his latest podcast. “Goalie, and Mike Smith’s health could determine that. Left defense, and third line center are what he’s looking at.”

Friedman acknowledged he wasn’t sure of timeline but that’s what Edmonton is trying to address. It’s time to show McDavid and Driasiatl they organization is ready to pull out all the stops to win.

Players starting to voice concerns on Olympics

nhl rumors
May 28, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (7) jumps into his bench in celebration of a third period goal scored by Vegas Golden Knights center Mattias Janmark (26) in game seven of the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Minnesota Wild at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Before the Olympic COVID protocols even came out, one NHL player opted out.

“I will not go to the Olympics,” Robin Lehner announced on social media. “I’m very disappointed and it tough decision for me as it’s once in life time opportunity. Reality is that what has been said about how it’s going to be is not ideal for my mental health.”

This weekend, the protocols were revealed and they were strict.

  • Positive tests mean you can’t leave China until cleared by authorities and 3-5 weeks quarantine period
  • Symptomatic cases must be free of symptoms and pass two COVID tests 24 hours apart
  • Asymptomatic cases must pass two COVID tests 24 hours apart

Now Vegas Golden Knights and Team USA defenseman Alex Pietrangelo is chiming in.

“I’ve got four kids that are under the age of three and a half. For me to be potentially locked up there for five weeks plus the Olympics, that’s a long time being away from my family,” Pietrangelo said via TSN. “I’m not going to make a decision until we get all the answers, because those are kind of hard to come by right now. So, we’re all kind of sitting and waiting.”

The NHL and NHLPA have a soft deadline of January 10th to opt out.