Oilers GM Craig MacTavish spoke to his team on Thursday morning, then he spoke to the media and by extension Oilers fans about the current plight of the 4-14-2 NHL club.

Echoing sentiments head coach Dallas Eakins expresses a few weeks ago about knowing he was in for a “messy renovation,” just not this messy, MacTavish said: “My self-satisfaction is not too high right now. But I’m a battler and I expect the players to do the same.”

MacTavish said he remains convinced a core group of 8-9 players is on the right track for the Oilers, even as they struggle with a new defensive system, a new head coach and, clearly, with the opposition, night-in-night-out.

He said he will continue to work the phones and network with his counterparts around the league to secure the missing pieces the club needs, especially a wheelhorse defenceman, a rare, hard-to-acquire commodity in the NHL.

Further, MacTavish said he would be prepared to include the club’s first-round draft pick, which could be No. 1 overall the way the club is going, in a trade package for such a player.