EDMONTON, AB - As the Oilers head into the dog days of the season - a stretch of games that will determine their post-season future - their general manager is assessing the state of the franchise.
"We're in a decent spot, but it could change pretty quickly," said Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli. "Overall, if you were to tell me at the beginning of the year we'd be here at this point I'd be happy. I'm relatively satisfied."
Video: RAW | Peter Chiarelli Media Availability
Heading into Tuesday night's Pacific Division showdown with the Arizona Coyotes, Edmonton sits third in the division with 66 points, two back of Anaheim. However, they have only been able to earn one win in their last five games.
"There are some deficiencies in our game and we have to rectify them," said Chiarelli. "We've got a tough stretch and a tough road trip coming up here, and then we've got a bunch of home games coming up in March. We are in a decent spot, but have some work to do."
With the March 1 NHL Trade Deadline looming, Chiarelli fielded questions from reporters at Rogers Place and touched on what he thought the plan might be when it comes time to buying, selling or staying put.
As of Tuesday, Chiarelli said the rental market was not one the Oilers are expected to take much part in.
"I really don't want to delve into that market," Chiarelli said. "I think there are areas we can tinker with. I think the team deserves it, based on that they're in the conversation. We wanted to be in the conversation and we are."
As opposed to acquiring players on expiring contracts or even players with term left, Chiarelli appears content to see how his recent roster continues to mesh down the stretch. In the summer, Chiarelli added players like defencemen Adam Larsson, Matt Benning and Kris Russell, along with forwards Milan Lucic and Drake Caggiula.
"We made a lot of moves in the summer," the GM said. "They've come around and I'd rather see those play out before I enter that."
However, never say never.
"Things fall in your lap, and we'll see what happens. There's a lot of time left, but I don't see us being heavily involved in that market."
Chiarelli spoke on a few more topics, pertaining to the deadline, including the possibility of adding a power-play focused defenceman as well as a backup goaltender.
On the netminder front, Chiarelli says he "hasn't given up on" Laurent Brossoit as the number two and wants to continue to evaluate him. As for the blueliner, Chiarelli is content with his defence this season - when healthy - and that the type of d-man in question is "certainly not on my shopping list this deadline."
The price of that transaction is a part of that decision.
"Frankly, you saw what it took to get a top-four, right-handed D," said Chiarelli, referencing the Larsson trade from the summer. "You can extrapolate from there."
The NHL Trade Deadline is set for 1pm MST on Wednesday, March 1. The Oilers will have completed a six-game road trip the night before. Counting Tuesday night's contest versus Arizona, Chiarelli has eight more games to evaluate his roster and either change or stick with the plan heading into the deadline - the latter being more likely.
"That's my approach," Chiarelli said. "If we lose all the games, will it change? If we win all the games, will it change? I doubt it."