Game Day 62: Oilers at PredatorsThe Edmonton Oilers did flat nothing on Monday to improve their team in either the present or future tense, making zero moves as the NHL Trade Deadline came and went.A glass half full type (such as myself) might say the Oilers did their dealing earlier in trade season, making a pair of trades ten days ago when they moved out Cam Talbot for a cheaper backup netminder in Anthony Stolarz, then dealt disappointing Ryan Spooner to Vancouver in return for Sam Gagner. I’d argue both trades were small wins; the first creating desperately needed cap space to enable the return of veteran d-man Andrej Sekera, the second being cap-neutral while upgrading the roster. (That Vancouver might say the same about Spooner, who is now on their roster after Gagner spent the year in the minors, is irrelevant; this was a classic “change of scenery” trade.)Gagner has helped a bit in the days since the trade, chipping in with goals and enthusiasm. Stolarz has had no impact, although it’s worth noting that Mikko Koskinen has looked the best he has in months since taking the reins as the undisputed #1. Lastly, the hidden deadline acquisition of Sekera has helped to stabilize a struggling blueline corps. In effect, Brandon Manning was shipped out to make room for Sekera, replacing Spooner as the highest-paid player in Bakersfield.Keith Gretzky was unable to complete the trifecta by moving out Alexander Petrovic on Monday, the third pricey-but-disappointing veteran acquired by ex-GM Peter Chairelli earlier this season. Manning is out of sight in Bakersfield but not out of mind, as his “buried” contract saps some $1.2 million from the salary cap for the rest of this season and presumably next. Of the two veteran D added on the same day, Petrovic was by far the likelier to move today due to his expiring contract, but it wasn’t to be.Other names bandied about for possible trade included Alex Chiasson, Zack Kassian and Matt Benning, three guys who have a regular role on the current team. One wonders if the Oilers winning their last two games before the deadline may have triggered a “faint hope clause” to not further weaken the 2018-19 team, or it might have been a matter of the rioght deal not coming along. Chiasson would have been the easiest to move,. on an expiring contract at NHL minimum, even as an argument could be made that there is no other NHL team he can help more than he is the Oilers. Chiasson’s once-hot stick may be in the ice box, but the guy is playing massive ice time, averaging over 21 minutes a night over the past five games and a bit north of 17 minutes on the season. Kassian is next among natural wingers at 13:30. They also happen to be the only two natural wingers on the club with more than 5 goals!If the Oilers were to move on from those guys, who would take their minutes? Not Jesse Puljujarvi or Jujhar Khaira, both of whom have been placed on IR in recent days. Sad fact is that the Edmonton’s depth on the wings is so light that “Kretzky” had his hands tied to some extent. And for all that fans might want to add a draft pick or two, the players still trying to salvage the current season likely think differently. If a “hockey trade” like, say, the rumoured Kassian for Connor Brown discussion had come about, that’s a lot easier sell to the team than a wholesale clearout.Let’s revisit the Oilers’ roster after the deadline, starting with the 25 guys (23 + 2 injured) on the big league roster:The Talbot deal cleared enough room to recall both Sekera, park Puljujarvi and Khaira on IR, and still go with a full NHL roster, and still leave a bit of cap room. While the current cap hit of $78 million and change suggests about $1.5 million under the ceiling, the margin is considerably closer once the line-by-line accouting is done. According to CapFriendly.com the Oilers are a projected $434,000 below the allowable maximum. Which at least means no cap penalties accruing to next year’s squad.That’s a healthier looking minor league roster than the organization sported a year ago, with many of the younger players on affordable Entry Level Contracts being key contributors to Bakersfield Condors’ ongoing 16-game winning streak. Hopefully a couple of these young fellows are NHL-ready a bit sooner than later, so that the Oilers can start filling in the depth positions on the big-league roster from within as early as next season. The established practice of signing veteran UFAs at August prices, adding younger RFAs who didn’t get a qualifying offer, or scouring the waiver wire has brought in a number of older players with limited upsides, but a dearth of cheap young talent in the bigs.Indeed, Jesse Puljuajrvi is the only ELC on the current Oilers, and he’s injured. Every player currently on the active roster is on at least his second pro contract. We’ll take a deeper dive into that aspect of Edmonton’s roster construction in a future post.___Trade deadline podcastThe Edmonton Oilers failed to move out Alex Petrovic, Kyle Brodziak, Alex Chiasson, Milan Lucic, Brandon Manning or anyone else on deadline day. Unhappy face. David Staples and Bruce McCurdy of The Cult of Hockey discuss.___Tonight’s line-upMore to come.