McKenzie: Oilers know they need to be careful with next steps

They’re still technically in a playoff race, but the most important moves for the Edmonton Oilers will be coming off the ice in the coming weeks and months.

Bob McKenzie had a Monday morning radio hit on Edmonton’s TSN 1260.

Following a discussion on the Ken Hitchcock’s frustration with his struggling team, the Insider was asked how much stock the Oilers’ brass would put in Hitchcock’s input about the team as the franchise’s big decisions are made in the coming months.

“They obviously brought him in and they value him, in terms of coming in to try to stop the bleeding,” noted McKenzie. “But the bleeding hasn’t necessarily stopped. I think he’s viewed as a valuable resource, but you’ve also got to be careful.

“To your point, at some point here they’re going to bring in a new boss. The new boss may have different ideas than anybody else. So you’ve got to be careful what you do between now and the new boss comes in.

“That said, when you bring a new boss in - a new general manager in - if the first thing you do is handcuff him with salary cap concerns, that’s not so good.

“I think the best thing anybody could hope for here down the stretch is that the Oilers find a way to alleviate some of the cap crunch for next year. If there’s a way to move some contracts, then do so. But I think you’ve also got be really, really careful in terms of what assets you give up and how significant your moves are in terms of the cost of doing business.

“Because somewhere down the line here, whether it’s a month from now or three months from now, there’s going to be a new general manager. He doesn’t want to be saddled with a whole bunch of knee-jerk decisions between now and the trade deadline to satisfy some short-term situation.

“But I think the Oilers know that, from Bob Nicholson on down, that they’ve got be a little bit careful in terms of what they do, and judge each of those decisions accordingly.”