NHL Rumors: Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland on Depth, Duncan Keith, Mike Smith, and Phil Kessel

TSN: Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland on TSN 1260 radio said that they are happy with their offseason but that there are still some players available that they are looking at.

** NHLRumors.com transcription

“We’re building. We’re growing. We feel good about the offseason, but, I’ve been around the National Hockey League a long time and it’s such a fine line league that if you’re a little bit off, you’re way off.

So, that’s why I’m going to kind of explore to see if there’s a little more depth out there but I think we feel pretty good about what we were able to do in the offseason.”

The host asks about bringing in depth players. Are they guys in their 30s or one’s in their mid to late twenties?

“Probably more of mid to late twenties. I certainly think Duncan Keith, and it looks like Mike Smith won’t be playing with the injuries he’s got. Those were to big guys in the locker room. Smitty was vocal and he’s a goaltender. He’s six-foot-four. He’s a big man. He had a big presence in the locker room. Duncan Keith had a big presence with his resume. All the success he’s had in the league. So, we’re losing a lot in those two guys. We’re going to lose a lot of real veteran leadership but I’d like to think that our team is better prepared after spending it with those two players being on our team. Duncan for a year and Smitty for three years. They passed off that leadership and experience and that swagger.

And I think that going on a playoff run this year, our guys feel good about themselves but you start in October and you gotta prove it all over again. That’s the beauty of the National Hockey League. You gotta do it all over again. You got to play your way into the top half of the league and try to prove yourself all over again.

So certainly we’ve lost some real veteran leadership but I do think that everybody in that locker is a year older and had some real good experience in terms of dealing with the adversity of the middle of the season, and digging and grinding. Winning the big Game 6 in LA when we were down three games to two. A big battle of Alberta and found a way to come out on top.

So, ideally, probably somebody in their late 20s, early 30s. I don’t know if there are players like Mike Smith and Duncan Keith out there. They were special players. Special people. Special human being. But I think their presence on the team will be felt going forward because of the young people, Evan Bouchard would have learned a lot playing with Duncan Keith as a partner.

So, we’ll see. I’m exploring. Not exactly sure but probably somebody younger than older.”

Holland when asked unrestricted free agent Phil Kessel.

“With regards to Phil Kessel. I mean obviously anybody that is, most everybody that is on the market, I’m aware of and talked to their agents. So we’ll see. I’m not going to say yes. I’m not going to say no. I think that depends on if we do anything to our lineup between now and opening of camp.”