Oilers might try to trade for Nikita Nikitin of Columbus

To that end, Stauffer suggested the Oilers might try to trade for Nikita Nikitin of Columbus. “I do think there’s a guy out there they can get who would be a heavier top four defenceman. It’s a former Western conference team, a team that’s deep in defence prospects and might be able to slide somebody in, a guy like Nikitin might make sense here. … I don’t think the cost would be too severe.”

I can’t agree here about defence being the biggest issue. The biggest issue so far has been the goaltending, but it’s best to give Dubnyk more time, and the back-up job has been addressed to some extent with the promotion of Bachman.

The next biggest issue has been weak penalty killing from the likes of Will Acton and weak overall defensive play from numerous top line wingers, including David Perron, Nail Yakupov and Hemsky. These wingers either have to pick it up, or be sat down for a time.

Stauffer on Andrew Ference: “They got Andrew Ference and Nick Schultz on the third pairing. I don’t think the Oilers when they signed Andrew Ference envisioned he’d be in the third pairing 15 games into the regular season of the first year of the deal. Maybe they look at a different scenario carrying forward.”