Turning The Oilers Into A Playoff Team

Jonathan Willis
July 15 2009 11:15AM

lin

If we were setting an objective for the 2009-10 Edmonton Oilers, what would it be? Obviously, it would be nice to see them contend for the Stanley Cup, but from a practical point of view there are a lot of improvements that need to be made to get there. I think the goal that most fans would be relatively satisfied with for next season is some playoff hockey.

Considering where the Oilers are coming from, I think 8th in the West is a good minimum goal. With that in mind, let’s look at how the team faired in some statistical categories. All of these consider Western Conference teams only (in other words, they’re out of 15), and are ranked in order from best to worst.

  • Goals: 7th
  • 5-on-5 Goals For: 7th
  • ---Playoff Cut---
  • Powerplay: 10th
  • 5-on-5 Goals Against: 11th
  • Shots For: 12th
  • Faceoffs: 12th
  • Penalty-kill: 14th
  • Shots Against: 15th

Now, we could gamble that changing up the coaching staff and continued development by young players are going to help the team – and they very well might. That said, I wouldn’t want to gamble a playoff spot on it; even if both of these changes help, there are certainly roster changes needed.

The most interesting thing about this list is something that gets glossed over or ignored time and time again: the Oilers had playoff-calibre offense last season. In other words, if making the playoffs was dependant on goals scored and nothing else, the Oilers last season were a playoff team.

Could they be better? Absolutely. But goal-scoring did not keep the Oilers out of the playoffs last season. The powerplay was part of the problem, but some simple coaching decisions (like using Dustin Penner in an intelligent manner) make this one of the few areas where the Oilers could see a significant improvement without making wholesale roster changes.

On the other hand, the Oilers didn’t generate a ton of shots; their offense was dependant on making the most of the shots they did get; something they did well last season, probably because of the overall skill level of the team’s forwards. Adding a few players with a greater tendency to shoot – perhaps even from within (late season pickup Patrick O’Sullivan and minor-league prospect Ryan Potulny are both shooters) would help.

Now we get into the things that kept the Oilers out of the playoffs last year: a lousy penalty-kill and poor defensive play. The Oilers PK was second-worst in the Western Conference, and desperately needs to be addressed.

I’ve heard it repeatedly suggested that a change in coaches should fix the penalty-kill, but I don’t buy it because:

  • Craig MacTavish-coached teams have a good track record on the penalty-kill
  • Multiple penalty-killers (Stoll, Reasoner, Greene) were shipped out prior to 2008-09 and were never replaced – and now another one (Brodziak) has been sent out too

Some of the problem may have been coaching, but the likelihood is that this is primarily a personnel issue – something that’s borne out by the Oilers poor defensive play 5-on-5.

Last year, the Oilers ranked 11th in the West in goals against – and they would have ranked worse except for a fantastic performance by Dwayne Roloson; something that’s made obvious by the fact that Oilers’ goaltenders faced more shots than anyone else in the Western Conference.

Something needs to be done to address the fact that the Oilers bled chances defensively. I know this isn’t going to be a popular stance amongst fans (many of whom are still cheering for the vaunted “three offensive lines” concept and looking forward to a new era of offensive creativity under Pat Quinn) but this was and is the Oilers biggest problem. The team is full of young, offensive-minded players with little or no clue defensively and its defensive stalwarts have either been overused (Horcoff) or are questionable due to age and injury (Moreau/Pisani).

The Edmonton Oilers will never be a successful team unless they can find a way to fill their gaping defensive holes.

Unfortunately, filling those holes seems to be a low priority – not just among fans, but also in the G.M.’s office.

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
Avatar
#1 Heatly
July 15 2009, 12:05PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

We will do it!

Avatar
#2 Colin
July 15 2009, 12:08PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I think the opinion of those who want more offense is that if we improve the quality + systems of our offense, less time will be spent in the defensive zone to begin with leading to less shots & goals against.

While that may have some merit, the fact is most of last year the oilers looked like a bunch of druken monkeys in their own zone. You have to be able to quickly, efficiently and consistantly be able to get out of your own zone or all the offense in the world is meaningless.

Good article JW

Avatar
#3 Scott
July 15 2009, 12:09PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Good Post!!! I agree and have been baffled by the fact the Oilers havent signed any quality defensive centerman such as Malholtra or Moore. I am aware that bodies have to go out in order to bring some in but they are also able to go over the cap by 5% or is it 10% as long as they are down to the cap by season opening.

As well, I think they need a shut down D man as I dont think we have a legit shutdown D man on this team. Yes Souray is great on the powerplay and his size and grit helps in our end but having watched him last year, he is not a shut down D man and he handles the puck like a hand grenade in his own end.

So as you said, extra offence is nice, but I think some work on team defense is just as important.

Avatar
#4 hoss
July 15 2009, 12:09PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Just need a few players like Gretzky, Kurri, Coffey and Messier, and we should be just fine....

Avatar
#5 Patrick
July 15 2009, 12:11PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I totally agree, we will compete, let's not forget, if it weren't for our late tail spin at the end of the season, we at the very least should have been able to clinch 8th. One never knows for sure, especially with teams like St. Louis and Los Angeles always improving but I think 8th isn't out of reach, with or without Heatley.

Avatar
#6 Big Dave
July 15 2009, 12:13PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

How much of the problem is with the GM and how much is with the owner?

Katz was "vocal" in having the team pursue Laraque last year, Heatley this year, neither moves would have been the overall benefit of the teams performance. I wonder if Katz is being overzealous in his want for an immediate winner.

Avatar
#7 Hemsky=AWESOME
July 15 2009, 12:15PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Face-off wins result in less shots against. Face-off wins result in a better PK. If we got some decent face-off men, I feel both would drastically improve. AND SINCE WHEN are Gagner and Cogs centermen??? What happened to the Kid line? Stick em back together!

Avatar
#8 hamburgler42
July 15 2009, 12:15PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I liked Brodziak, but he was not a strong penalty killer. ...also there is still lots of time until training camp to fill the roster and make moves.

Avatar
#9 hoss
July 15 2009, 12:16PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Big Dave: I think Heatley would be of overall benefit as far as us having a true 1st line for the first time since Smitty left. I think if he came here there would be ways of trading some other players to fill some of our holes to a degree?

Avatar
#10 Charlie
July 15 2009, 12:17PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

hoss wrote:

Just need a few players like Gretzky, Kurri, Coffey and Messier, and we should be just fine….

well that should be easy.

Avatar
#11 Ogden Brother
July 15 2009, 12:18PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Glad to see the GA is finally getting some attention. Everyone wants the scorer, but a proper 3rd line center and a proper shut down dman would go just as far (or further) towards turning the team into a solid playoff team, for a fraction of the cost both $$ and assets wise.

Avatar
#12 charlieangels
July 15 2009, 12:18PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Nice article, 8th place is a good goal considering team is close to salary cap and bad contracts so moving players out as Tambo suggests isn't going to be easy to bring in new players to help the team.

Katz must be quite happy with his management structure as no changes there in the "clean house" year.

Avatar
#13 Archaeologuy
July 15 2009, 12:21PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Wait! You mean Doctor Heatley's 40 goals wont instantly send the Oilers into the playoffs????????

You mean finding cheap and available 3rd and 4th line players that can play lots on the PK and take Defensive responsibilities would probably do more to turn the Oilers in a winner than acquiring a single player who doesnt want to come to Edmonton unless he really really has to???????

How badly do you think Tambellini thought of MacT's work if he doesnt think the Oilers need to tweak much?

Avatar
#14 Death Metal Nightmare
July 15 2009, 12:23PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

saying Heatley wouldnt benefit the performance of "lower" tier lines is just stupid (to the commenter above). thats like saying the Capitals are as good without Ovechkin's 50+ goals a year. they barely could get the puck out of their zone with all the bumbling turnovers and laughable AHL caliber execution they have. total gong show against the Rangers early on and later against the Pens. same symptoms kept arising. the Oilers did a lot of the same last year even though they profess to be a "puck control" team.

heres what won in the playoffs. a hard forecheck, some superstars (who can pot you a total of nearly 60 points playing with Grandpa's and flunkies) and a goalie that goes from "meh" to National Hero when he stops a puck. throw in your occasional role player goals and there you have it.

Avatar
#15 Ogden Brother
July 15 2009, 12:23PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Archaeologuy wrote:

Wait! You mean Doctor Heatley’s 40 goals wont instantly send the Oilers into the playoffs???????? You mean finding cheap and available 3rd and 4th line players that can play lots on the PK and take Defensive responsibilities would probably do more to turn the Oilers in a winner than acquiring a single player who doesnt want to come to Edmonton unless he really really has to??????? How badly do you think Tambellini thought of MacT’s work if he doesnt think the Oilers need to tweak much?

Well he's on the record as to saying he wants to make changes sooo...

Avatar
#16 jeff
July 15 2009, 12:25PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Ogden Brother wrote:

Glad to see the GA is finally getting some attention. Everyone wants the scorer, but a proper 3rd line center and a proper shut down dman would go just as far (or further) towards turning the team into a solid playoff team, for a fraction of the cost both $$ and assets wise.

GA or SA, because one could argue that management thinks Bulin is alot better then Rollie and that GA should go down.

Avatar
#17 scorecoff hemmercules
July 15 2009, 12:25PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

"Unfortunately, filling those holes seems to be a low priority – not just among fans, but also in the G.M.’s office."

Did I go into coma and its already September??? I still believe theres time to add a couple players to kill penalties for us since the players we have obviously can't be taught how to do that.

Avatar
#18 The Menace
July 15 2009, 12:26PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Great article JW. I kind of agree with Colin, in that a better offensive system would lead to better puck possession. In turn, this means less time in your own zone, and fewer shots against.

Avatar
#19 Archaeologuy
July 15 2009, 12:27PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Ogden Brother wrote:

Well he’s on the record as to saying he wants to make changes sooo…

Yeah. Brodziak gone. ooooooooh, those are some wicked changes Tambi. Maybe the trade goes through and the Oilers need to fill empty spaces with AHL talent because they sent 3 roster players the other direction. Wicked.

Avatar
#20 Death Metal Nightmare
July 15 2009, 12:27PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Archaeologuy wrote:

You mean finding cheap and available 3rd and 4th line players that can play lots on the PK and take Defensive responsibilities would probably do more to turn the Oilers in a winner

yeah it really helped when they had a top 5 PK under MacTavish other than the year they had Pronger and bought at the trade deadline. fail.

and i bet Quinn is looking forward to a top six of 4 borderline AHLers, an overpaid second/third line center and Hemsky. yikes. sometimes the paradoxes on these forums/boards just irk me.

Avatar
#21 Ogden Brother
July 15 2009, 12:28PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Archaeologuy wrote:

Ogden Brother wrote: Well he’s on the record as to saying he wants to make changes sooo… Yeah. Brodziak gone. ooooooooh, those are some wicked changes Tambi. Maybe the trade goes through and the Oilers need to fill empty spaces with AHL talent because they sent 3 roster players the other direction. Wicked.

I guess you missed his presser at the end of the year.

Avatar
#22 Archaeologuy
July 15 2009, 12:29PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Ogden Brother wrote:

I guess you missed his presser at the end of the year.

Talk is cheap. Time for action.

Avatar
#23 Ogden Brother
July 15 2009, 12:30PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

jeff wrote:

Ogden Brother wrote: Glad to see the GA is finally getting some attention. Everyone wants the scorer, but a proper 3rd line center and a proper shut down dman would go just as far (or further) towards turning the team into a solid playoff team, for a fraction of the cost both $$ and assets wise. GA or SA, because one could argue that management thinks Bulin is alot better then Rollie and that GA should go down.

Betting Bulin will be alot better then Rollie from 08/09 would be foolish to say the least.

Avatar
#24 Ogden Brother
July 15 2009, 12:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Archaeologuy wrote:

Ogden Brother wrote: I guess you missed his presser at the end of the year. Talk is cheap. Time for action.

You must have also missed that he has been trying to make a fairly significant roster move.

Avatar
#25 daveeed
July 15 2009, 12:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Great post JW! What low-cost shutdown defencemen are available as free agents or rumoured to be on the trading block?

I would guess it would be better to trade one or more of our spare parts for a shutdown type dman to either shed a lil salary or at least not add any more salary.

Avatar
#26 scorecoff hemmercules
July 15 2009, 12:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Archaeologuy:

New coaches, new goalie, offers to get Heatly.....nope Tambo hasn't done a thing. Its 2 weeks to the day that free egency started, I find it hard to believe we can't get a PK guy or two before the season starts.

Avatar
#27 jeff
July 15 2009, 12:32PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Ogden Brother: I'd hope at least he gives us solid goaltending for a whole year though.

Avatar
#28 DanMan
July 15 2009, 12:32PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

You can bring up all the stats you want, but people seem to forget that we were in 6th-9th the whole year until Big Vish went down.

With a lame-duck head coach, no less. One who played favourites and was out for himself instead of winning hockey games. (More and Pis playing in the last minute when we're down a goal illustrates this point perfectly).

The west is gonna be really tight, I'm sure we will be in the 6-9 area this year as well. Hopefully Coach Quinn can push the buttons to get us outta that pack.

I think staying healthy with the team we have now is the biggest key to getting into the playoffs.

Avatar
#29 Archaeologuy
July 15 2009, 12:33PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Death Metal Nightmare: No one is saying not to go after top line talent. The problem is that the guys at the bottom are even more inept than the guys on the top, guys on the bottom six are far less difficult to find than guys who can fit into the top 6, so whats the problem?

Avatar
#30 Archaeologuy
July 15 2009, 12:35PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

scorecoff hemmercules wrote:

New coaches, new goalie, offers to get Heatly…..nope Tambo hasn’t done a thing. Its 2 weeks to the day that free egency started, I find it hard to believe we can’t get a PK guy or two before the season starts.

Finding a goalie in a market where goalies were plentiful? Firing a coach that should have been fired years ago? Making an offer to trade for a guy? (not succeeding by the way)

Wow. If thats all it takes for you guys to be happy then I'm not surprised the Oilers havent made the playoffs in 3 years.

Avatar
#31 hamburgler42
July 15 2009, 12:37PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Archaeologuy wrote:

Wow. If thats all it takes for you guys to be happy then I’m not surprised the Oilers havent made the playoffs in 3 years.

To quote the prophet's Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock "It takes two to make a thing go right. It takes two to make it outta sight"

Avatar
#32 ScubaSteve
July 15 2009, 12:53PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Great article JW, I agree with all your points.

We need to be patient, there are LOTS of 3rd line PK type guys out there still as UFA's, but we can't/shouldn't sign these guys until the Heatley deal is done, one way or the other. It would put us in a bad situation, where Tambo would have to deal away some contracts from a position of weakness.

I'm also sure that it Tambo went and signed a 3rd line on the first day of FA, the boards would be lit up with people upset that he didn't wait until the asking prices went down. I'm confident we'll see some weaknesses addressed before training camp, and it doesn't really matter if it's 2 months before, or the day before it starts.

Avatar
#33 David Staples
July 15 2009, 12:56PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Pisani rocked the penalty kill last season. He's still a master at that. . . It was Horc and Morueau who blew it . . .

Avatar
#34 Jonathan Willis
July 15 2009, 01:02PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

hamburgler42 wrote: To quote the prophet’s Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock “It takes two to make a thing go right. It takes two to make it outta sight”

Somebody else had to watch The Proposal I take it.

Avatar
#35 bingofuel
July 15 2009, 01:03PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

FYI, all. The oil released their schedule: http://oilers.nhl.com/club/schedule.htm

Avatar
#36 Jonathan Willis
July 15 2009, 01:05PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

RE: Heatley

Would Heatley help? Certainly. He'd even help defensively by keeping the puck in the attacking zone.

But a new offensive scheme won't solve all the problems because guys like Gagner, Cogliano, Nilsson, etc. ned babysitting from guys who can get back in a hurry, guys who can neutralize chances going the other way - because those kids haven't figured out how to do it yet.

Nothing against them - they're learning - but they send a lot of chances the other team's way and the best way to help them is insulate them with some knowledgeable veterans.

Avatar
#37 Jonathan Willis
July 15 2009, 01:06PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

bingofuel wrote:

FYI, all. The oil released their schedule: http://oilers.nhl.com/club/schedule.htm

Much, much better than last year. Awesome.

Avatar
#38 DanMan
July 15 2009, 01:07PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I'm not worried about the PK at all. Pisani and Horc are alright, Moreau's very experienced there, and guys like Brule and Pouliot should be integrated in as future PKers.

Plus, I've always thought we should try Hemsky on the PK from time to time. Pair him with Gagner, O'Sullivan, even Penner. The 250 pounder looked pretty good there when MacT tried it.

Avatar
#39 Robin Brownlee
July 15 2009, 01:14PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ David Staples: This management's obsession with making a big splash rather than addressing the nuts-and-bolts needs that would close the defensive holes Willis talks about will keep this team in trouble. This team isn't skilled enough to trade chances, yet it does it game after game -- and, more often than not, gives up more than it generates. It's a fundamental flaw. Instead of tightening up obvious areas that need attention, the focus is instead on landing Heatley or Jagr or whoever can fill the marquee. 'If Heatley can score 40 goals . . . blah, blah, blah." Here's a thought: get players who will help the team allow fewer goals.

Avatar
#40 MoJo
July 15 2009, 01:17PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Regardless of the Heatly deal, the Oil need to dump salary.

Trading for the Defensive C & Shut Down D using a high priced contract makes the most sense for acheiving this goal - signing anymore UFAs is just asking for bigger cap trouble than what we already have.

Don't forget that we're struggling to sign Grebs as well.

Tambo's basically said in interview's that Khabibulin was the only Free Agent they would sign, all other roster changes are likely to be via trade.

After years of KLowe I can understand the rush to judgement, but I don't think Tambo's done much to earn our distrust just yet.

Avatar
#41 DBO
July 15 2009, 01:18PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

bang on Jonathan. a few two way players will help this team. A big reason why i like the idea of Simon gagne instead of Heatley for what he brings in our own end as much for 35 goals. Add a solid two way 3C, pick up Gagne and if needed move an offensive defenseman for a solid defender who can still move the puck and i would be happy.

Avatar
#42 NBOilerFan
July 15 2009, 01:19PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

JW - We're going back to the glory years, letting in 5 goals but scoring 7.

Didn't you get the memo... that is why Heatley is being courted.

;-)

Avatar
#43 rob
July 15 2009, 01:23PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Archaeologuy wrote:

scorecoff hemmercules wrote: New coaches, new goalie, offers to get Heatly…..nope Tambo hasn’t done a thing. Its 2 weeks to the day that free egency started, I find it hard to believe we can’t get a PK guy or two before the season starts. Finding a goalie in a market where goalies were plentiful? Firing a coach that should have been fired years ago? Making an offer to trade for a guy? (not succeeding by the way) Wow. If thats all it takes for you guys to be happy then I’m not surprised the Oilers havent made the playoffs in 3 years.

That all depends on how you feel personally about the moves. I like the goalie signing, a year too long but whatever. I take it you wanted to go the unproven route with one of the young backups around the league, and thats fine, I would have been fine with that too. I also like the coaches, anything other than Mact would have made me happy though. Both have experience with all leagues and ages. The Heatly offer isn't over yet, can you blame Tambo for trying??

Another thing that I've said before is that we have 5 or 6 RFA's to sign with about 5 mil in cap space, not exactly alot of room to sign free agents. And if Heatly were to come here that would also add about 1 mil to the cap. Do we really have anyone we want to trade thats worth anything or that other teams might be after?? Not really from where I sit. Lowe didn't leave Tambo alot of room to work with, I don't blame the guy for taking it slow and trying to do things smart instead of Knee-jerk style like BlankChequeLowe did.

Seems to me that the UFA market is at a bit of a stand still right now anyway. Players want more than they are worth and GM have a cap to deal with. Not exactly a hot market right now, lots of players will be avaible throughout the summer to fill our PK needs IMO.

I never said I was happy about the situation, last week I was losing my mind because we havent added more players too. Now I realise I just have to be patient and cheer for whatever Tambo puts on the ice in 3 months. Oh yeah, its two weeks into free agency, we still have 2 months to make roster moves or until febuary if you can wait that long!

Avatar
#44 Milli
July 15 2009, 01:23PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

PK, PK, PK Pk, PK. That was the no 1 problem last season. Fix it, and we where in. there was no fixing it. It is funny, because we all want a star, more goals, run and gun....But that (amazingly) wasn't the problem. I have a hard time thinking it is coaching, but we'll see. I still believe that for Tambo, this is the start, but it is a few years from being close because of cap restraints etc... And Heatley, ya he'd help, but ya know what, SCREW DANY FRIGGIN HEATLEY!!!!

Avatar
#45 Colin
July 15 2009, 01:27PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ The Menace:

I think you missed the second falf of my comment, I was basically agreeing that fixing the defensive weakness first should be a priority.

Avatar
#46 Archaeologuy
July 15 2009, 01:28PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ rob: I dont have a problem with moves so far, but outside of finding a new coach he hasnt addressed any area that was really a problem. They havent added size, they havent added role players, they havent added scoring.

I understand that it's only mid July, but I dont understand why people think Tambi has done a bang up job to date. With a year under his belt I have seen little to suggest he is capable of fixing the club in a timely fashion.

Avatar
#47 MoJo
July 15 2009, 01:29PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

rob wrote:

Now I realise I just have to be patient and cheer for whatever Tambo puts on the ice in 3 months. Oh yeah, its two weeks into free agency, we still have 2 months to make roster moves or until febuary if you can wait that long!

I Agree 100%. The thing is having a conversation about how patient we all are just isn't that sexy . . .

Avatar
#48 vern
July 15 2009, 01:29PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

bottom six forwards and shutdown d men are a lot easier to find than top 6 guys. Plenty are still avalibal as UFAs. I think the oil are just waiting for the asking prices to go down as demand becomes less. Baring that more will become avalible from teams nedding to drop a little salary. Im sure the Oilers brass have been inquiring about both options, but there is no need to take a bad deal to appease fans 2 months before the start of the season. These needs do need to be met, but there is still lots of time. If the Its 2 months into the season and they are not met and the oil are in 9th - 15th place then start worring. Then start jumping all over management for not making any moves. Its two weeks into free agency. Have a little patience.

Avatar
#49 Bob Cob
July 15 2009, 01:44PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

The PK was only a problem because the Oilers couldn't avoid taking stupid penalties due in part to not moving there feet in the offensive and defensive end and instead clutching and grabbing or hooking.

Avatar
#50 DanMan
July 15 2009, 01:44PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Robin Brownlee wrote:

@ David Staples: This management’s obsession with making a big splash rather than addressing the nuts-and-bolts needs that would close the defensive holes Willis talks about will keep this team in trouble. This team isn’t skilled enough to trade chances, yet it does it game after game — and, more often than not, gives up more than it generates. It’s a fundamental flaw. Instead of tightening up obvious areas that need attention, the focus is instead on landing Heatley or Jagr or whoever can fill the marquee. ‘If Heatley can score 40 goals . . . blah, blah, blah.” Here’s a thought: get players who will help the team allow fewer goals.

Robin I have to ask you, are you a MacTavishist?

I would argue that our defence, especially the top 4 are suited for the end-to-end game. Our forwards need to be better on the wall, there is no doubt about that.

The surest way to help your team win is getting a 40 + goal scorer. You gotta throw every resource you have to get that guy.

Some guys say 'well, how is the room gonna react to Heatley?'. Who cares? These ar supposed to be professionals and I would expect them to be nothing less that that. You don't have to be best friends with the whole team the coaches, management, yada yada. The game is played on the ice. And Heatley would help us win.

Comments are closed for this article.