Analysis: Acquisition of Cole shows Oilers are coming together

Author:
Publish date:
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Okay, now Kevin Lowe’s plans are starting to make more sense. And the Edmonton Oilers are starting to look a lot less recognizable.

Making his third major trade in as many days, Lowe sent defenseman Joni Pitkanen to Carolina Tuesday afternoon in exchange for right winger Erik Cole.

Pitkanen’s destiny was clearly sealed after the Oilers acquired well-paid blueliner Lubomir Visnovsky from Los Angeles Sunday. The 24-year-old Finn will give the Canes the mobile, offensively skilled D-man they’ve sought for a couple years now, though they’ll first have to cough up between $4 million and $5 million a season to sign the restricted free agent.

In Cole, Edmonton receives a veteran who will provide leadership and experience to a roster that requires both to move into playoff contention. And even if the 29-year-old isn’t a good fit, he’s only got one year and $4 million left on his deal before he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Of course, that could be a double-edged sword if Cole surpasses expectations, but that’s a problem Lowe probably would prefer to have.

Combined with Lowe’s first deal of July 1 – that would be the shipping of left winger Raffi Torres to Columbus in return for young center Gilbert Brule – the Oilers now look to be a team that has a better balance of youth and quality veterans than the ones that failed to make the playoffs the past two seasons.

And something tells me Lowe might not be finished just yet. He’s said to be going hard after Marian Hossa and could be willing to overpay to the tune of $9 million a year to get him, though it will still be a tough sell to get Hossa to go to the Oilers.

TOP HEADLINES

USATSI_15847994
Play

The Top 30 Unrestricted Free Agents of 2021

One reason the UFA class of 2021 has so many big names? It makes more sense to re-sign players after the expansion draft.

RH2_7230
Play

Top 40 NHL Draft Rankings

The 2021 class has been a challenge for scouts, but our prospect expert has the inside scoop on the players rising up the charts.

USATSI_15948183_168394049_lowres
Play

Jack Campbell Provides Steady Performance as Maple Leafs Defeat Jets in Nick Foligno Debut

Winless in their last five games, the Maple Leafs got a solid showing from Jack Campbell. who made 34 saves in a 5-3 win against the Winnipeg Jets.