USATSI_9856965_154158418_lowresThe Edmonton Oilers walked out of Chicago on Saturday with a critical win against the Blackhawks, thus improving their record to 32-19-8. That’s good for second in the Pacific Division, two points ahead of the Anaheim Ducks and four points behind the division-leading San Jose Sharks.

As of press time, the Oilers have scored 171 goals and have allowed 152 goals against. That puts them in much better shape than their rivals in Calgary and it also explains how they’re a full 10 points up on the Flames. Unfortunately, the Oilers are still three points behind the Blackhawks in the Western Conference.

A lot has been going well in Edmonton this season, that’s for sure.

Connor McDavid is leading the way with 67 points in 59 games, including 20 goals, while Leon Draisaitl has 52 points in 59 games. Jordan Eberle, Patrick Maroon, Milan Lucic, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are all playing respectable hockey as well.

Cam Talbot has been holding it down in goal, if not by nature of necessity. The 29-year-old has been putting in major time, with 53 starts under his belt and a 30-16-7 record. He has a 2.35 goals against average and a .921 save percentage.

In a lot of ways, it seems like the Oilers have everything they need to take a run in the post-season.

But there are needs and the trade deadline means Peter Chiarelli could be in the market to make some moves. Last season, Maroon was brought in at the deadline to help bolster the size department. He’s been paying dividends and the quiet move is looking smarter by the day.

As of now, the Oilers could use a solid offensive defenceman and a little experience.

With pending unrestricted free agents like Kris Russell, Eric Gryba, Andrew Ference, and Matt Hendricks on the docket, it’s likely that Edmonton won’t have a lot of work to do in the immediate future. But Draisaitl is among an imposing group of RFAs.

That said, the Oilers have $24.8 million to play with as of March 1 – thanks in large part to long-term injured reserve relief.

That puts them in the position to shop and could subsequently position them for players like former Flame Jarome Iginla or defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk. Tyson Barrie is also on the list.

Edmonton has some chips to play, too, with Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins among them. Eberle has been batted around in the rumour mills for the last few years, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him packaged up in some fashion come trade deadline day.

With a clear set of needs and some attractive players to offer, Chiarelli and the Oilers could be busy come March 1. There’s some movement in the market in Edmonton and that could help improve this team’s fortunes when the fun begins in the playoffs.

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