CAN THE OILERS MAKE THE PLAYOFFS?

Jason Gregor
May 24 2011 01:56PM

The Oilers are one month away from announcing their second consecutive first overall draft pick, but after that pick will they realistically be any closer to making the playoffs for the first time in six years? Another first overall pick will likely give the Oilers another solid prospect in the system, but a playoff appearance shouldn't, and likely won't, rest on his shoulders regardless of who they take on June 24th.

Can the Oilers go from 30th to a playoff spot? Surprisingly it might not be that far-fetched.

Before we look at what the post-lockout bottom feeders have done the year after finishing 30th, I took a quick peak to see what the Ottawa Senators did in 1997 after finishing 30th in 1995 and 1996. The Sens were awful in the strike-shortened 1995 season going 9-34-5, and then they followed that up with an equally inept  record of 18-34-5 in 1996. In 1997 the Sens shocked the league, and improved a whopping 36 points, going from 41 to 77 to finish 7th in the East.

If you do a quick glance you don't see many drastic changes player-wise. Their young offensive players had another year of experience, and scored more, while management made a few small moves that paid off. The Sens traded Trent McCleary and a 3rd rounder (Eric Naud) for Shawn McEachern;  who'd scored 24 goals in Boston in 1996. McEachern had a bit of an off-year in 1997, but he was a veteran presence in the room, and then scored 30+ in two of the next four seasons. Wade Redden tallied 6-30 (goals-points) as a rookie, and they signed unrestricted free agent Ron Tugnutt. Tugnutt was the backup for most of the year, but he got hot down the stretch and led them to the post-season where he played all seven games in their first round loss to Buffalo.

Here's a quick glance at the numbers of their top-five scorers and goalies.

1996                                                                              1997
Alfredsson         26-61                                               Yashin           35-75
Yashin                 15-39 (46GP)                                 Alfredsson   24-71
Cunneyworth     17-36                                              Daigle             26-51
Duchesne           12-36                                              Duchesne      19-47
Bonk                     16-35                                             Cunneyworth 12-36  

Rhodes was 10-22-4, .906 SV%, 2.77 GAA          Rhodes 14-20-14, 0.898 SV% and 2.72 GAA
                                                                                       Tugnutt 17-15-1, 0.895 SV% and 2.80 GAA

Their top-five scorers went from 86 goals to 116, while their goalie numbers weren't that much different from year-to-year. Outside of Tugnutt and McEachern they didn't add any other veterans, just some average players like Sergei Zholtok and Andreas Dackell. The Sens only had four players over 30, and most importantly they were fairly healthy with 15 players playing at least 65 games. In 1996, the Sens had 31 players play at least 10 games, and last year the Oilers had 30.

The Sens improved by 36 points, and if the Oilers come close to that they would be in the 90-point range and in the playoff hunt.

I should note that the Quebec Nordiques, who finished 30th three years in a row from 89-91, didn't make the playoffs in 1992, but they made a staggering improvement of 52 points jumping from 52 points in 1992 to 104 in 1993. So it possible for a last place team to make a significant improvement.

POST LOCKOUT COMPARISONS

The league has changed a lot since the Sens great turnaround in 1997, so I decided to look at the 28th-30th place teams since 2006 and see what kind of strides they made the following season.

2006

  • Chicago, 28th with 65 points
  • Pittsburgh, 29th with 58 
  • St. Louis, 30th with 57


The Blues drafted Erik Johnson, he didn't play, but they improved 24 points and finished 10th in the west.

Pittsburgh took Jordan Staal, he scored 29 goals, and they improved a mind-blowing 47 points to 105, and finished 5th in the East. Of course they had Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Ryan Whitney as sophomores.

The Hawks took Jonathon Toews, he didn't play, and they improved a mere six points and finished 26th. Of course they got lucky, won the draft lottery in 2007, and took Patrick Kane and then won the Cup in 2010. 

2007

  • LA, 28th with 68 points
  • Phoenix, 29th with 67 points
  • Philly 30th, with 56 points

Hawks won the lottery, so the Flyers drafted James Van Riemsdyk second, he didn't play, but the Flyers improved 39 points and finished 6th in the East with 95 points.  The Flyers made drastic moves that off-season though, trading for and signing Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen. They also signed Daniel Briere, dealt Joni Pitkanen to Edmonton for Joffrey Lupul and gave Martin Biron the starting job ahead of Antero Niittymaki. No other celler-dwellar has been able to sign as many big-names as the Flyers did that off-seasono they aren't fair comparable.

Phoenix took Kyle Turris third, he didn't play, and the Coyotes improved to 83 points in 2008, but that was only good enough for 12th in the West. The Coyotes couldn't spend any money and they never made the playoffs until 2010.

The Kings took a flyer on Thomas Hickey at number four, he didn't play, and the Kings only improved by three points in 2008, and actually dropped to 29th in the standings. The Kings had two more top-five picks before finally making the playoffs in 2010.

2008

  • Atlanta, 28th with 76 points
  • LA, 29th with 71 points
  • Tampa Bay, 30th with 71 points

The Lightning took Steven Stamkos, he tallied 23 goals, but the Lightning actually got worse dipping down to 66 points, and they ended up getting the 2nd overall pick again in 2009. The Lightning had the 6th pick in 2010 before finally making the playoffs this season.

The Kings gladly took Drew Doughty, he tallied 27 points, but the Kings only improved eight points and ended up with another top-five pick in 2009.

The Thrashers took Zach Bogosian, he only played 47 games, yet hescored nine goals and 19 points, but the Thrashers finished with exactly the same amount of points, 76, and ended up 27th. They've yet to make the playoffs since drafting Bogosian.

2009

  • Colorado, 28th with 69 points
  • Tampa, 29th with 66 points
  • NYI, 30th, with 61 points

The Islanders took John Tavares, he had a solid 24 goal-54 point campaign, and the Islanders improved by 18 points, but still finished 26th and got another top-five pick in 2010.  

The Lightning took rearguard Victor Hedman, and he had some growing pains as an 18-year-old D-man, while the Lightning saw some progress with him and Stamkos and jumped up to 80 points, which earned them the 6th pick in 2010.

The Avs took Matt Duchene and he surprised many with a solid 24 goals and 55 points, and the Avs improved by 26 points and made the playoffs in 2010. Duchene was a key cog, as was the addition of Craig Anderson, however, the Avs came back to reality in 2011 and finished 29th. 

2010

  • Florida, 28th with 77 points
  • Toronto, 29th with 74 points
  • Edmonton 30th, with 62 points
     

The Oilers took Taylor Hall and he tallied 42 points in 69 games, but the Oilers didn't improve in the standings and finished with the same 62 points. The Oilers lost in 2010 with a much younger group and they are hoping that getting some NHL experience for so many young kids will pay off in 2011.

The Leafs had traded their pick and the Bruins happily took Tyler Seguin. Seguin didn't play a lot as a rookie, but has been excellent in playoffs. The Bruins are the exception in this experiment, because they were a playoff team before getting hte 2nd pick and now  they are one game from the Stanley Cup finals. 

The Panthers took Erik Gudbranson, but they couldn't agree on a contract so he stayed in junior. The Panthers followed in the Oilers footsteps and lost with a young team and finished in 28th again. It will be interesting to see which team progresses quicker, the Oilers or the Panthers.

SUMMARY

While the Ottawa comparison proved it was possible to make a big jump after two consecutive 30th place finishes, the success, or lack thereof, of teams post-lockout makes it seem likely the Oilers are a year away from the playoffs. If they stay healthy they might be able to mirror the surprising Avs of 2010, but realistically I could see them making a 20-point improvement that sees them stay in the playoff hunt until late March.

***I know there are many variables to consider outside of just the top-pick, but it seems to take at least two, or sometimes, three years of getting top-seven picks before a team starts to see some improvement, unless you are the free-spending Philadelphia Flyers.** 

NEWEST ADDITION TO PACKAGE

I added the next prize to the Ultimate Sports Fan Package. A signed TAYLOR HALL stick. On June 11th,  I am riding in the 190km MS Bike Tour. To win the awesome package, CLICK HERE type in Jason Gregor and donate $100 and you will get an entry. We only have 45 entries left. If you donate $200 you two entries and so on. The winner will win a prize pack that includes:

  • Edmonton Eskimos season tickets
  • Edmonton Rush season tickets.
  • A beer fridge and beer for a year from Big Rock Brewery.
  • A man-date with Ryan Rishaug
  • You and two buddies golfing at the Ranch Golf and Country Club with BROWNLEE
  • Signed Taylor Hall stick.
  • More great prizes that will include Oiler home opener tickets, other sporting events, and other cool things. 

You can help find a cure for MS and win a great sports prize pack. Thanks for your donations to the cause.

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 Lord Tunderin'
May 24 2011, 02:07PM
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No.

/scrolls up to actually read post

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#2 Zamboni Driver
May 24 2011, 02:14PM
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"Unable to come to terms"...

That would be Reddox' agent giving the abridged version of the letter that likely read:

"Dear Liam,

P. F. O.

Love,

The Tambi Man General Manager (Seriously I AM! Just ask Kev.)"

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#3 Ender
May 24 2011, 03:26PM
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Complete speculation here, but if I was the guy who had to revise the divisions in 2012-2013 to move the Winnipeg and Detroit teams, I might do something like this.

SE Div
FLA
TB
CAR
PHI
WAS

ATL Div
BOS
PIT
NJ
NYR
NYI

NE Div
DET
BUF
MON
OTT
TOR

CENT Div
STL
CHI
CBJ
NSH
DAL

NW Div
EDM
CAL
WPG
MIN
COL

PAC Div
VAN
SJ
LA
ANA
PHO

I recognize that this breaks up some current divisional rivals, but long-term this might make some sense.

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#4 Archaeologuy
May 24 2011, 04:16PM
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@Ender

Here are the benefits that I see:

1) Still scores enough to be considered useful

2) Is a PowerPlay specialist of sorts

3) Is a true professional

4) Has strong ties to the community

5) Would love wearing the sweater as much or more than anyone on the planet.

His best days are well behind him, and you're right, the physical play will take its toll. Still though, I think he belongs in Oiler silks. Even if that decision is made with my heart, it's still right.

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#5 Ender
May 24 2011, 05:25PM
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Dman09 wrote:

I think that your view is understood but at the same time a team needs Veterans in the lineup to help those young guys grow and become better. I think what people are saying is that if Salary isn't an issue and we need an good accomplished vet to teach the young guys why not let it be Smyth even if it does cost more for the first year. And there is nothing to say that he won't be able to put up 40+ point season for the next 3 to 4 years either. There are a lot of players that have been able to do it at the same age and even older. Also these young guys grew up seeing Smyth in Oiler silks and I think that might be another boost for them.

I think I'm going to reply to your point, D-Man, because it's one of the most logical responses to my post and then I'm going to let the matter drop and let others hash it out.

In the summer of 2005, the Oilers made a couple of memorable acquisitions. One turned out to have a huge impact on the Cup run that year, but the one that excited me more when I heard about it was the acquisition of Mr. Michael Peca. He was 31, he was a 2-time Selke winner, he was a face-off ace, and he played with all kinds of fire and gravel. I figured that if anyone could be a good influence on our crop of forwards, it would be him.

I don't think I could make a solid argument that Peca influenced that team much one way or the other. I know there were a lot of factors involved in that, but Peca's unremarkable season was almost as big a dissapointment to me as Pronger's poor judgement. I don't discount the importance of veterans on the roster, but I do believe that experience and ice-time can be much better teachers than watching that same vet from the press-box or the AHL.

Smyth might be a source of inspiration to the guys he's actually on the ice with but if we just need a guy who tries 100% on every shift we could have that at a fraction of the cost with any number of our current prospects. There isn't, I believe, any kind of magic aura that emanates from Smyth that would permanently flavour and improve our current young Oilers. Especially not the one that doesn't make the team because Ryan does.

This is an emotional issue. There are always going to be a lot of people who want Smyth to come home and there will be a lot of reasons trotted out why it makes sense. While people might be able to successfully justify why it wouldn't be a complete disaster, I just don't think anyone is going to convince me that such a move makes us a better hockey club in 2013. Ryan Smyth can play on my X-BOX Oilers team any time. In real life, though, I fear he's just another Mike Peca waiting for a chance to disappoint a bunch of fans with unrealistic expectations while stunting the development of a bubble-rookie at the same time. Like the real-life experience of licking chocolate frosting off of a beautiful young lady, it's just really not as enjoyable in practice as it first sounds.

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#6 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
May 24 2011, 07:05PM
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Ender wrote:

I think I'm going to reply to your point, D-Man, because it's one of the most logical responses to my post and then I'm going to let the matter drop and let others hash it out.

In the summer of 2005, the Oilers made a couple of memorable acquisitions. One turned out to have a huge impact on the Cup run that year, but the one that excited me more when I heard about it was the acquisition of Mr. Michael Peca. He was 31, he was a 2-time Selke winner, he was a face-off ace, and he played with all kinds of fire and gravel. I figured that if anyone could be a good influence on our crop of forwards, it would be him.

I don't think I could make a solid argument that Peca influenced that team much one way or the other. I know there were a lot of factors involved in that, but Peca's unremarkable season was almost as big a dissapointment to me as Pronger's poor judgement. I don't discount the importance of veterans on the roster, but I do believe that experience and ice-time can be much better teachers than watching that same vet from the press-box or the AHL.

Smyth might be a source of inspiration to the guys he's actually on the ice with but if we just need a guy who tries 100% on every shift we could have that at a fraction of the cost with any number of our current prospects. There isn't, I believe, any kind of magic aura that emanates from Smyth that would permanently flavour and improve our current young Oilers. Especially not the one that doesn't make the team because Ryan does.

This is an emotional issue. There are always going to be a lot of people who want Smyth to come home and there will be a lot of reasons trotted out why it makes sense. While people might be able to successfully justify why it wouldn't be a complete disaster, I just don't think anyone is going to convince me that such a move makes us a better hockey club in 2013. Ryan Smyth can play on my X-BOX Oilers team any time. In real life, though, I fear he's just another Mike Peca waiting for a chance to disappoint a bunch of fans with unrealistic expectations while stunting the development of a bubble-rookie at the same time. Like the real-life experience of licking chocolate frosting off of a beautiful young lady, it's just really not as enjoyable in practice as it first sounds.

Theirs nothing emotional about it for me, I would feel the same way if Smyth spent 10 years with the Flames.

How anyone can look at our current roster without seeing a glaring need for a vetran leader that could concievably lead the team in scoring is beyond me.

Now consider the added benifit that we'd actually be *adding* depth, forcing our prospects to *earn* a spot on the roster, or *allowing* them the *luxury* of bringing the non-elite prospects along slowly, rather then *stripping away* the depth, *handing* spots to *unproven player*, or *forcing* the team to rush prospects which has worked so well for the past 5 years leads me to believe the question we should be asking is if we are willing to give up what the Kings would want for him, not whether we should accept him back or not.

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#7 jeanshorts
May 24 2011, 11:35PM
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Taylor Hall > Dany Heatley.

Will someone PLEASE stop the Canucks??

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#8 Archaeologuy
May 24 2011, 03:01PM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

As if there is a snowballs chance now!

@TSNRyanRishaug Liam Reddox signs with Vaxjo In SEL, unable to come to terms with Oil. 2 years. Oil weren't offering one way deal Reddox camp wanted.

And somewhere MacT reconsiders coaching in Europe.

I wish they hadnt taken down all those dubbed WWII movie clips with Hitler going apesh*t from youtube. The one where he's going off about MacT using Reddox on the PP/1st line is gold. GOLD.*

*that is my fondest memory of the MacT coached era in Oilerville

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#9 Chris.
May 24 2011, 04:13PM
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Memo to Steve: even if you only make one single move...get a goalie.

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#10 a lg dubl dubl
May 24 2011, 05:01PM
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Its been the curse of the mullet since Smitty left(injuries,players not wanting to play here etc) BRING HIM BACK NOOOOOOWWWWWW

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#11 David S
May 24 2011, 05:22PM
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Ducey wrote:

Good analysis Gregor,

And perhaps a bit of reality for those that think the Oilers are going to make the playoffs next year.

You could also look at goal differential. Every team that made the playoffs this season (and two that didn't) scored more goals than they gave up. The Oilers were -70! That means next year they would have to erase this and be into the + to make the playoffs. (so basically one more goal for or one less GA each game next year).

The plan should be for the Oilers to continue to develop players this year and not worry about the standings.

If the goal is to build a yearly contender for the Cup and not just hover around the playoffs each year, like Calgary, then they need to have good drafts (ie lottery) this year (2011) and next year (2012).

OR they could designate a core group of talent, jettison the marginal players and trade/buy actual NHL talent. Then they could grow the core group, add through adept drafting and player acquisition, grow talent in the minors and supplement with decent veteran players. You know, pretty much what every good team does.

Versus what we have now (as you advocate)which is called "suck for a half dozen years and wait for the magic".

And please. Let's get off this "yearly contender for a cup" thing because it just doesn't exist. The new cap system pretty much prevents this from happening (see Detroit, Chicago). The most you should hope for would be "solid playoff team". Past that, it's up to the hockey gods.

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#12 Ender
May 24 2011, 11:04PM
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@ OB1 & Arch

I agree that adding some depth through free-agents or trades is a good plan. Rookies winning positions because they're ready is absolutely a superior strategy than forcing them onto the ice before they're ready.

We completely agree that bringing in some outside talent is a good plan. We just disagree on who that talent should be. I suggest that you can buy some pretty damn fine hockey players for $5M and that quite a few could be young enough to be around for some Oilers playoff hockey in the bargain. You're looking to pay a premium for memories in my view. If I'm putting in that kind of investment, I want some long-term results for my money and not a one-season stand for old-times sake.

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#13 VMR
May 25 2011, 08:01AM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

I agree with Ender and it's not about salary. I dont give up any prospect or draft pick for Smyth if I can get him a year later as a UFA. Why the rush to bring Smyth in for this season and give up assets we could use to build a team?

We've got plenty of holes to fill yet, Smyth doesnt really fill any. He's a veteran but he's not a physical guy and not great defensively. He'll go to the wall for you and take a licking to stay in front of the net and deflect shots, some nice skills but I think we have bigger fish to fry.

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#14 Zamboni Driver
May 24 2011, 02:26PM
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@justDOit

Uhmmm....

Not to either split hairs, or overstate the obvious, but...

The Oilers finished last, right?

Gravy points = Edmonton Oilers. Last two years (at least) running.

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#15 Ducey
May 24 2011, 02:33PM
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Good analysis Gregor,

And perhaps a bit of reality for those that think the Oilers are going to make the playoffs next year.

You could also look at goal differential. Every team that made the playoffs this season (and two that didn't) scored more goals than they gave up. The Oilers were -70! That means next year they would have to erase this and be into the + to make the playoffs. (so basically one more goal for or one less GA each game next year).

The plan should be for the Oilers to continue to develop players this year and not worry about the standings.

If the goal is to build a yearly contender for the Cup and not just hover around the playoffs each year, like Calgary, then they need to have good drafts (ie lottery) this year (2011) and next year (2012).

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#16 BaconWrapped
May 24 2011, 02:51PM
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YES! Book the 1st round matchup with Vancouver!

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#17 D-Man
May 24 2011, 03:39PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

I'm going to top Obbies bid of 4 players to land the Oilers a playoff spot this coming season. I'll offer up 2 vet forwards and one defenceman to go with adding Sheldon Souray to that dressing room. That requires only bringing in 3 players.

2 of either Hartnell/Upshall/Ryan Smyth to go with Brewer and Souray on the back end, and hockey that matters is back.

If the Oilers will chase a player convicted of vehicular homicide 2 summers ago, it's not too much a stretch they bring Souray back. Just sayin....

Not going to touch the Souray hornet's nest - ah, what the hell... Khabby has been a consumate professional at the rink - not so much outside of it... Souray wasn't very professional at all - no way he wears an Oiler jersey next year.. I won't be shocked if he's bought out... He's 34 and did not dominate in Hersey... He's done..

As much as I love Upshall and Hartnell - why would you want Smytty back? True - he'd be great in the dressing room and plays with a lot of heart, but the guy can barely skate now and his muffin of a shot is only getting worse... He's also a $5.0 million cap hit... He is a UFA after the 2011/12 season though.. I'd sign him for 2012/13 if a) it's a one year deal, b) less than $2.0 million and c) he's under the assumption that he's retiring after this season...

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#18 Dan the Man
May 24 2011, 03:44PM
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If the Oilers can manage to get through this season without a ridiculous run of injuries, that alone should be good for 10-12 points.

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#19 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
May 24 2011, 04:02PM
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@D-Man

Ryan could probably still lead the Oilers in scoring next season, would still be good for around 45-50 pts, may not be all that bad for a 2nd/3rd line winger. If LA wants that cap space, the Oilers could give them back that 3rd rounder they received in the Penner deal. His cap hit isn't an issue at all, maybe even extend him for 2 yrs. 3 yrs of Ryan Smyth for around 10 million over the duration of that deal isn't out of the question.

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#20 Dman09
May 24 2011, 04:08PM
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@Next up, is Connor McJesus.

Well he is 35. I think it would be better to see if he would do year to year until he decides to retire. I would also like to see Smyth as a special teams coach or similar role with the team when he does retire. How about Fraser and a 4th for Smyth. Gets rid of Fraser, open a Center position for RNH and we get Captian Canada back.

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#21 Kingervision
May 24 2011, 04:12PM
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Wow - A while back there was an article asking us what we wanted to see in terms of subjects during the OIL off season, and my suggestion was taking a look at the teams that were at the bottom, and how they climbed out (or not). Great work. Forget getting (decent) free agents, at this point no good ones are coming to Edmonton, mainly becasue we aren't close to winning anything. Free Age

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#22 Dman09
May 24 2011, 04:54PM
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@Stone Hands McOsta

Are you saying that having good players on a 3rd line is laughable. Jordan Stall is a third line guy. I'm not saying that Smyth is comparable to Stall but Smyth on the third line with PK and PP time wold be fine. Would probably make it easier for him not having to log so much ice time at evens.

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#23 Dog Train
May 24 2011, 05:22PM
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I could deal with that 20 point improvement and playing meaningful games late in the season. Beats the heck out of the alternative of these past few seasons. Our big thing is that we can't afford any sophomore slumps. We will need everybody to be "all in" to have any chance at the playoffs.

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#25 gongshow
May 24 2011, 11:24PM
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For the last four years, I've gone into each new season saying "well they can't possibly be worse than last year, so they have to be better". That has been a false statement each of those four years.

Having said that, the Oil were so bad in '10-11 that they have to be better next year... Right? Right?

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#26 dougtheslug
May 25 2011, 06:53AM
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@jeanshorts

Why I hate the Canucks - their aggrieved self-pity, their sense of being hard done by, their constant whining when it is obvious to any casual observer that the they have received no fewer (and probably a few more) gifts from the hockey gods than any other team. For Christ sake, their fans were chanting "Referees Suck!" in the overtime when a high sticking call was missed. After they tied the game on an obvious blown icing call? Give me a break. Come on Bruins! Please, please, please restore justice to the hockey universe!

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#27 Peterborough
May 25 2011, 03:15PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Ryan could probably still lead the Oilers in scoring next season, would still be good for around 45-50 pts, may not be all that bad for a 2nd/3rd line winger. If LA wants that cap space, the Oilers could give them back that 3rd rounder they received in the Penner deal. His cap hit isn't an issue at all, maybe even extend him for 2 yrs. 3 yrs of Ryan Smyth for around 10 million over the duration of that deal isn't out of the question.

The LA pick is a second not a third so no to that.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_NHL_Entry_Draft

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#28 Ender
May 24 2011, 02:07PM
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It's going to happen, Baby! Playoffs 2012! Plan the parade!

[swigs back biiiiiig gulp of Kool-Aid]

Woot!!!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Tuesday already in progress.

Edit: Oh, wait . . . the Rapture and Official End of the World has been rescheduled to Oct. 21, 2011. That means we get to see training camp and watch the rookies roll over a few teams for a month, but still no Playoffs. Buzzkill.

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#29 Mantastic
May 24 2011, 02:11PM
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20 point improvement doesn't seem too far fetched. hopefully the oilers will be able to pull it off next season, and i would call it a success if we can.

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#30 Zamboni Driver
May 24 2011, 02:12PM
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As if there is a snowballs chance now!

@TSNRyanRishaug Liam Reddox signs with Vaxjo In SEL, unable to come to terms with Oil. 2 years. Oil weren't offering one way deal Reddox camp wanted.

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#31 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
May 24 2011, 02:17PM
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4 decent additions and we'd have a shot at the PO.

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#32 justDOit
May 24 2011, 02:25PM
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It seems that any major improvement from one season to the next of cellar-dwellers happened in the East. It would more difficult to accomplish that feat in the West, because it takes more points to get into the playoffs.

Our only hope is to stay healthy, get some surprise seasons out of the sophomores and hope that a few western teams all upon hard times.

It also might help if the Jets come back for next season. That scenario would probably move Detroit into the East, which would make any playoff hopes all the more plausible. That should also give the Oilers some gravy points handed out from the former Thrashers.

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#33 D-Man
May 24 2011, 02:31PM
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I'm not really leaning on any one person on the draft, but I was concerned drafting RNH. Although he's the BPA, many say that he would most likely need to go back to junior, add some muscle to his frame so he'll be ready to play against men down the road.

I've never seen him play - is there any validity to this?? If there is - I wonder what the average Oiler fan will think if we draft him and send him back down to junior. Would a Landeskog or Larrson be the safer pick? Both sound that although they aren't nearly as skilled; are more NHL ready.

Then again, perhaps with Hall, Eberle and MPS coming back with a solid rookie campaign under their belts - we won't need RNH right away, whereas he won't be rushed - should he not be ready... Thoughts??

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#34 Dman09
May 24 2011, 02:32PM
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I think a lot of what happens next year is really on the shoulders of Tambo. If he signs strudwick to another year there is no way in hell we are anywhere near the playoffs. but if he starts adding useful pieces and makes some good trades, maybe a buyout of Bulin's contract and the acquistion of a decent younger goalie that has a good season or get hot down the stretch then I could see the team flirting with the last playoff spot next season.

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#35 Ender
May 24 2011, 02:32PM
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justDOit wrote:

It also might help if the Jets come back for next season. That scenario would probably move Detroit into the East, which would make any playoff hopes all the more plausible. That should also give the Oilers some gravy points handed out from the former Thrashers.

Those signs are pointing to 2013 then; rumour has it that the Winnipeg team would play in the East for this season before the switch was made. That means Detroit gets to beat up on us for one more year before cutting their travel budget in half.

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#36 Stone Hands McOsta
May 24 2011, 02:35PM
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@justDOit

From what I've heard, scheduling would stay the same meaning Winnipeg would play in the Southeast this year....and also, wouldn't it make more sense for the Preds to be sliding to the (south)East over the Wings?

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#37 Ender
May 24 2011, 02:41PM
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Stone Hands McOsta wrote:

wouldn't it make more sense for the Preds to be sliding to the (south)East over the Wings?

Geographically, yes. Politically, no.

Chicago and Detroit have both apparently been given some kind of unwritten priority if an opening in the East comes available. Columbus and Nashville are probably both out of luck for awhile yet.

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#38 justDOit
May 24 2011, 02:45PM
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Well, the Wings have wanted into the East for a while now, so that's why I was going with that. But even trading the Preds for the Jets in the West could have a positive impact on next season's point totals.

As for Zamboni Driver, we are counting on the Oilers being a little better next year, aren't we?

And the argument could be made for a depressed bunch of millionaires, formerly of the Hotlanta ZIP code, now plugging away at a dreary living in Winterpeg, putting in even less effort for next seaon.

So no hairs harmed during this scenario.

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#39 raceguy
May 24 2011, 02:46PM
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justDOit wrote:

It seems that any major improvement from one season to the next of cellar-dwellers happened in the East. It would more difficult to accomplish that feat in the West, because it takes more points to get into the playoffs.

Our only hope is to stay healthy, get some surprise seasons out of the sophomores and hope that a few western teams all upon hard times.

It also might help if the Jets come back for next season. That scenario would probably move Detroit into the East, which would make any playoff hopes all the more plausible. That should also give the Oilers some gravy points handed out from the former Thrashers.

If and when Atlanta becomes Winnipeg they are staying in the Southeast with Tampa,Washington etc. for the first year.

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#40 mayorpoop
May 24 2011, 02:58PM
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@Ender

i do think that if we had the 85 yr old prophet doing the math for the NHL next season we could defintely have a "chance" at making the playoffs next year.

all "world blowing up" aside, with a few alterations to the lineup and the dreaded sophmore slump eluding ebs and hall we should be able to hit 8-10 in the standings.

myself i would not stray too far from the plan. 2 new dmen (4-5 roles), konopka on the fourth and a quality likable vet.

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#41 rubbertrout
May 24 2011, 03:06PM
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@Archaeologuy

Better than the 06 Cup run? Even though that ended badly there must have been some moments that were better than the Hitler parody.

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#42 Dennis
May 24 2011, 03:12PM
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I'm not sure if the brass are interesting in making the playoffs but if they are they have a lot of work to do and a few pieces to add.

I can see there being a decent improvement because our kids are real talents but the D's a bit of a mess - or maybe a lot of a mess - and we need a real tough min centre as well.

I remember that '97 Sens season, BTW. I was in a bar watching the Oilers game when Steve Duchense scored a big goal for them to officially put them in the playoffs.

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#43 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
May 24 2011, 03:19PM
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I'm going to top Obbies bid of 4 players to land the Oilers a playoff spot this coming season. I'll offer up 2 vet forwards and one defenceman to go with adding Sheldon Souray to that dressing room. That requires only bringing in 3 players.

2 of either Hartnell/Upshall/Ryan Smyth to go with Brewer and Souray on the back end, and hockey that matters is back.

If the Oilers will chase a player convicted of vehicular homicide 2 summers ago, it's not too much a stretch they bring Souray back. Just sayin....

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#44 Archaeologuy
May 24 2011, 03:20PM
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@rubbertrout

The Roli save in OT during the run was unbelievable, but that excitement lasted only minutes. Conversely, I STILL laugh when I'm thinking about the parody.

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#45 Bucknuck
May 24 2011, 03:22PM
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I would say that the Oil's playoff hopes are reliant on Whitney, Hemsky, Horcoff, Gagner, Hall, and Eberle staying healthy. All of whom were out last season for extended stretches.

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#46 Bucknuck
May 24 2011, 03:30PM
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@Ender

I like your thinking. Vancouver in Pacific and Winnipeg in the NW... sounds about right.

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#47 raceguy
May 24 2011, 03:31PM
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Ender wrote:

Complete speculation here, but if I was the guy who had to revise the divisions in 2012-2013 to move the Winnipeg and Detroit teams, I might do something like this.

SE Div
FLA
TB
CAR
PHI
WAS

ATL Div
BOS
PIT
NJ
NYR
NYI

NE Div
DET
BUF
MON
OTT
TOR

CENT Div
STL
CHI
CBJ
NSH
DAL

NW Div
EDM
CAL
WPG
MIN
COL

PAC Div
VAN
SJ
LA
ANA
PHO

I recognize that this breaks up some current divisional rivals, but long-term this might make some sense.

There is a lot to like about your divisions.The part I like the best is the Oilers are in first place.

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#48 Dman09
May 24 2011, 03:46PM
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@Dan the Man

More when you consider all of their top guys pretty much where the ones injured. I would estimate 15-20 points. Whitney had a great season until he got injured and I think that could be one of the biggest difference makers. With him in the line up it should bring the GA down and the GF up.

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#49 Archaeologuy
May 24 2011, 03:51PM
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@D-Man

You know Smyth would have led the Oilers in Goals and Points this past season. Not that the Oilers need too many more LWs, but the guy still knows how to get to the front of the net on the PP and he'd be the perfect vet to have (IMO).

He does get paid too much, but the Oil have the cap space for a couple seasons.

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#50 Dman09
May 24 2011, 03:53PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

You know Smyth would have led the Oilers in Goals and Points this past season. Not that the Oilers need too many more LWs, but the guy still knows how to get to the front of the net on the PP and he'd be the perfect vet to have (IMO).

He does get paid too much, but the Oil have the cap space for a couple seasons.

Hes also a lot better at killing penalties than most of the guys on our team right now.

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