Devan Dubnyk: First Good Game of the Season

Jonathan Willis
October 17 2013 08:53PM

 

Another loss is going to be tough for Oilers fans to swallow, and some undoubtedly won't be in the mood to look for positives. There was at least one important item to note, though: Devan Dubnyk's solid play. In stopping 37 of 40 shots, not only did Dubnyk give the Oilers a chance to win but he showed he isn't about to go quietly into the night after struggling in the early season.

The Goals

Notice a pattern here? Like, say, a New York Islander left all alone at point blank range to put the puck wherever he wanted in the net?

Yes, Devan Dubnyk allowed three goals, but all of them were on the team playing "defence" in front of him. Patrick Roy and Dominik Hasek and Terry Sawchuk all rolled into one would have struggled with those shots. Sometimes there's just nothing a goalie can do about that.

Is He Back?

The Dubnyk tonight - the guy who seemed unflappable as the Islanders peppered his net, the guy who didn't collapse after New York had scored - is exactly the guy the Oilers have needed all season. He skipped the first four games, but if he's back now it makes life a lot easier for the team, for fans, and for a general manager who reportedly has spent the last week racking up dollars on his long distance bill with calls around the league.

Though it might not make much difference if the Oilers persist in letting the leagues Okposos and Tavares (Tavareses?) have however much time they want in the slot.

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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.
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#101 Evilas
October 18 2013, 09:42AM
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The season has barely started and the Oilers are drafting FIRST again and Colorada and the Leafs are going to meet in the finals.

I admit I was ready to stop watching, because I had very high expectations. But really what is happening with this team. Lets see, new coach from outside organization with totally new system for the first time since Quinn, several new players: Arco, Peron, Gordon who are major improvements over who they replaced. Jonessu, who is doing very well and I daresay an upgrade. An AHL 4th line - the organization has better players than that, hopefully they will be in place soon.

Dmen- Belov, Ference. The D has improved. There are proven winners on this team like Gordon, Peron and Ference. They are playing better and will start to win when the PP gets it's $h!+ together, it has been awful. The goaltending straightens itself out (and it will) and the players tighten up their coverage in their own zone.

Patience my fellow fans, the ship will be turning around in the next few games.

Jonathan, I wonder if you could do a comparison of this season's first 10 games W/L, save %, shots for/against, scoring chances for/against, FO's F/A, etc as well as key advanced stats vs the previous 5 seasons (or even to 2005-06?

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#102 loweblows
October 18 2013, 09:51AM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

If you think those 3 were the only shots taken from Dubnyk's doorstep you weren't watching.

should I have used the word "huge save" instead of "big save"

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#103 Dave
October 18 2013, 09:52AM
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** wrote:

I would fire everyone who directly has any say on the Oilers operations , from the assistant coaches Smith and Buchberger, to Kevin Lowe, to Laforge, Bob Stauffer, marketing, pro scouts, amateur scouts. Do a real cleanse.Otherwise it's the same voices regurgitating the same message over and over and over again ( and yes that was meant to sound extremely redundant).

Bob stays.

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#104 Lochenzo
October 18 2013, 10:03AM
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Impressive to watch the rampant speculation coming out of Toronto and TSN regarding Nail Yakupov. Those rumours sure took off in total favour of one team. I'm just surprised it didn't include the Oilers trading the right to call ourselves 1990 Stanley Cup champions to the Leafs for a couple of Toronto zoo elephants and a bag of peanuts.

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#105 Rama Lama
October 18 2013, 10:08AM
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Dallas Eakins system has to take the balme for everything that has happened. Exactly why are all the defender on the PK not covering the points any more and letting the opposition shoot at will.

Our PP and PK under this new system have been a joke! Eakins talks about a lot of things but so far .......it looks like a duck.

I don't care if the shot differential is better this year, our PP and PK look like a 5 year old drafted that plan.

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#106 Puckbag
October 18 2013, 10:49AM
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At the press conference which introduced MacT as the new GM, which reporter asked the question (paraphrase) "This is the same management team that sunk the Oilers over the last few years, what makes you think this same team will bring them back into contention?"?

It was this question which Lowe responded with his infamous "I have six Stanley Cup rings, I think I know how to win."

I would love to see this reporter ask this question again. And again, and again......

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#107 vetinari
October 18 2013, 11:00AM
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The Oilers are like going to a car dealership and talking to a slick salesman. They tell you that the old model that you currently are driving needs to be upgraded and you should really buy a new car-- it looks shiny and pretty and new, and so you do.

You take it out on the highway and motor quickly blows up so you go back to the dealership, they tell you that they fixed the problem and that there's a new engine under the hood so you go out again and the same thing happens. They tell you that they really fixed the problem this next time and that everything should be fine because they also put a new navigation system in the car. Again, you go out on the highway and the same thing happens. This goes on and on until either: 1. they really fix the problem; or 2. you leave the lemon at the lot and move on to something more trustworthy and reliable.

You, Oilers, are that lemon of a car, and your customers are getting impatient. Either fix the damn problem already or join the AHL, where you seem to fit in better. The shiny and pretty and new is wearing off at this point and there better be something under the hood that can get us to our destination and soon.

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#108 Doctor Smashy
October 18 2013, 11:47AM
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Ok....positivity...here it goes.

Only 7 teams have scored more goals than the Oilers.

Gordon is 62% in the dot, Arco is 60% (so is Ebs!)...Acton is 54%...Nuge is...ok I'll stop there...

Ahhh let's see here...we beat the Devils BUT they beat...oh wait....

Here's one...we are ahead of not one but TWO teams in the overall standings...

Finally, we are only one game under .500 at home!

That should get us through to Saturday right!?

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#109 Bjm
October 18 2013, 07:13AM
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".....I didn't know the renovation would be this messy", says Eakins . In other words , not my fault. Kind of like Pat Quinn saying , " they told me these young men have skill".

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#110 2004Z06
October 18 2013, 08:23AM
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A Dude wrote:

So many rants, and I don't blame the fans.

What baffles me is the continued fan base. The Oilers at its present state will not survive if it was an organization based in the U.S.

I have rid of myself with the emotional investment. For as long as there is no accountability in the organization, we will never be a Stanley Cup contender.

Best way to show it is just watch from TV but not buy tickets anymore for home games. Empty seats speak louder than blogs.

I have made the same argument. The problem in Edmonton is the fans care too much. Fans are afraid to give up there tix because they know some other sucker is on the waiting list to purchase them and they will never get them back.

This needs to be a simpler message. Boycott 1 game, just one. I guarantee the message will be sent.

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#111 Smokey
October 18 2013, 08:55AM
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dobiezeke wrote:

McTavish/Quinn/Renney/Krueger/Eakins...5 coaches with 5 different systems/philosophies. None have worked with this group. New players get inserted through the years yet the team still finds a way to crap the bed nightly. There is no attempt to play 60 minutes of hockey on a nightly basis.

There is no accountability from those that have been through the past coaches and no desire to play the game like they give a shat.

I find your comment strange. First of all the players besides Hemsky are a completely different group.

Anyways your right its the same garbage. I see the same things from the when MacT left. An organization that doesn't address issues and holes. Every year there's a new problem. It use be lack of talent. Then it was too much youth. There have always been size issues. The farm system was a disaster. Lack of decent veterans. Could not win face-offs, and struggled 5x5. Now its special teams, defensive zone coverage and goaltending. Overall its confidence.

Last night I saw a team that is like the Oilers. Poor ownership, piles of high draft picks. However they have figured out. Garth Snow is no longer a laughing stock, he has drafted and developed his talent. Filled in the holes with quality veterans, and found value contracts. Who would thought Thomas Hickey, and that McDonald guy would be top 4 defenceman. This is my only hope, that one day this group of Oilers clicks. I'd love to become the next NY Islanders at this point.

The fix is simple, clean out the whole management group. Find a new organizational philosophy, put quality individuals in place. Get rid of the old boys, the nepotism, and start fresh. New owner would be good too.

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#112 PrairieDog19
October 18 2013, 09:05AM
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-30- wrote:

The most myopic people on the planet? Oilers fans.

I've suffered as long as anyone with the ineptitude in management but how about some perspective?

How many games are we into the season? The team is AGAIN learning a whole new system. If things are still this bad before Christmas I'll be concerned.

Almost every team has a losing streak during the season. Thank goodness ours is early.

So much for reason and common sense on here.

-30-

I'm with you on this one. I am personally glad the slump is happening this early on in the season. I think they'll be better for it and in a couple months time things will be a lot different.

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#113 Serious Gord
October 18 2013, 09:15AM
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Loweblows wrote:

If Krueger was still the coach and employed the same PK and PP what would our record be......just wondering

The last twelve games last year the oil won 3. - not much different than this year.

As for posters above assigning blame - there is plenty to go around: MacT didn't fix the teams imbalances, Eakins is trying to implement an esoteric D and seems unable to implement tacics to open up the game in the third when the the team is behind, and on and on.

But at the very core the reason is favoritism. The old boys - sycophants to the owner have corrupted the entire organization - destroying initiative and morale.

The way to fix it is trickle-down: change the pres at the top with an outsider who owes no favours to anyone and let him start the process of holding people to account and removing those who are incompetent.

Yes that means more pain before a turnaround - likely a few if not all of the stars will be on their way out either from lack of oerformance or because their next contract will be too dear- but the window to win the cup with them was already less than four years, with this lost season and some pretty harsh changes during next year (another missed playoffs?) cuts that to a very unlikely two years.

Depressing outlook I grant you, but the agony and - even more forbidding - the apathy this favoritism will generate if left in place will be far worse.

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#114 S cottV
October 18 2013, 09:23AM
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Dubnyk did the job - 37 of 40 and no fault on the 3 GA's. Once again - very poor coverage on the 2 even strength goals and the short handed goal. This swarm defence continues to produce glaring scoring chances against the Oilers, as the guys struggle to implement it. Don't like the system at all and I really doubt that it will work at the NHL level. The most typical defensive zone systems, involve a combination of zone and man to man coverage, depending on where the threat is. Some teams throw in occaisional swarm tactics in certain situations, where options are particularly limited and there is a surprise element. To swarm as the default, where there is no surprise element - is kind of like a football team blitzing all the time. With the fluidity and speed of NHL hockey, I just dont see how you can get away with overly forcing the defensive process.

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#115 tileguy
October 18 2013, 09:23AM
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One thing I do know for sure, you won't see me spending 2 beans to go watch a hockey game. How much for a beer now?

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#116 Hinter
October 18 2013, 09:28AM
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Hey Everyone the person to blame is KEVEN LOWE,this clown needs to go!

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#117 Danger Pay
October 18 2013, 09:29AM
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Please sir, can I have some more humble pie?

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#118 Soccer Steve
October 18 2013, 09:48AM
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A buddy and I were watching the game last night. I said to him that if we swapped jerseys - only jerseys and nothing else - with Detroit I bet that the new Oilers team of all Detroit players would start to lose consistently and stop making the playoffs every year. And that the new Red Wings team of all Edmonton players would start to win, etc.

And I think I'm right. That has to mean only one thing.

We all know what that is.

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#119 Mark B
October 18 2013, 09:51AM
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What I could not understand about last nights game was the powerplay? In the second period the Oilers had 3 powerplays all in a row 6 minutes! Yet I did not see Belov on the powerplay at all?? This is a guy with a good shoot, keeps it low and makes sure it get through. If he was on my team and I had a powerplay I would have Belov out ther as much as possible and just keep feeding him the puck!! Or am I missing something????

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#120 Shredder
October 18 2013, 10:01AM
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Duby didn't play bad but we still let in 3 goals. When 3 goals is the team record for least allowed, even this early on, I think the team needs to focus on how they're going to prevent goals.

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#121 rob
October 18 2013, 11:44AM
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ok folks,time to panick,mact needs to do something BOLD now!yaks,klefbom,justin schultz,first round pick,hemsky or what not to get us some top d.with eberle hall and hopkins,along with perron,gordon gadzik we are starting to take form up front,get us d!(and a goalie)

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#122 wigswag
October 18 2013, 11:49AM
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There were mistakes on all three goals. Arco skated right by Bailey on the first goal but without knowing the system I can't say if that was a mistake on his part or a winger not picking him up after (no one ever picked him up)? The second goal unfortunately was all Arco, bad clear and then caught on wrong side of Okposo (hope he learns from that). Third goal was J. Schultz being J. Schultz. He was caught between watching the man in the corner or helping Gordon (a more physical defender would have hit Tavares and we would have gotten the puck)(yes it is that simple, if you're going to support do something). Also had his stick been facing the puck carrier instead of flopping in the slot he probably would have deflected the pass. These are all little things that seem to be killing the oilers but I am seeing fewer of them and that what you get with a young team.

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#123 LOIL99
October 18 2013, 12:03PM
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@Soccer Steve

@Soccer Steve.

I think you missed my point a little bit. Fans have EVERY RIGHT to be pissed off and angry at ownership/management. I am a season ticket holder and feel the way you do about that for sure. The rebuild started in 2009 but should have started much earlier...

But the point I was trying is not that we shouldn't be pissed off and frustrated at all the losing (see above). My point is that we cant put unrealistic expectations on our young core just because of what happened long before they got here.

The reality is that our core players are all very young and I hate that they are getting crucified in the main stream media and social media because they aren't a top team in the NHL. Its unfair and unrealistic for them to carry this team to the top of the NHL in their early 20's. They need time to develop and that can take 5-6 years easily (see Tavares). Its unfortunate management is putting them in a position to fail.

TO SUM UP - ownership and management should be receiving all the hate, anger and frustration. Not the young players. They are in an unfair position. Now, if they all hit their mid-20s making their $6M per year and STILL not winning, that's a different story.

PS - The #1 thing I have read that made me post this is all the "Yak hasn't progressed, Yak was not a good pick, Leafs wouldn't trade Reimer for Yak" BS. The kid led league in goals and points for a rookie last year yet he is being made out as a bust already??

TAKE A BREATH EVERYONE!!

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#124 TigerUnderGlass
October 18 2013, 12:03PM
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madjam wrote:

It's a major stat and deserves some weight in analysing a player and team performance . If you add up our core players bad +- you see they are on for the equivalent of one or more goal against almost every game . That adds up to losses , not even ties in the majority of games . The stat lets one know whom is most responsible . You've seen the games , are those stats not indicative of how we are playing , and whose on for all those goals against ? I made the premise about who is responsible (the core) and merely used that stat to further amplify it .

If by "major" you mean "garbage" I agree.

Other terrible players with a bad +/- include Ovechkin, Giroux, Vanek, Green, Stepan...the list goes on.

Stepan went +25 last year, good for 5th in the league and just behind Crosby and his +26. Funny how he is so bad at hockey now.

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#125 2004Z06
October 18 2013, 12:07PM
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k wrote:

October 04 2013, 06:41PM

It matters not whether Nuge returns Oct 10th or Nov 10th because the Oilers are not close to being a playoff team. They simply have too many holes throughout their lineup.

4 years into the re-build and we have Ryan Smyth on the 1st line, we have named no less than 6 alternate captains and the coach believed there were others that were deserving, that almost had me throwing up in my mouth.

For a team that has played as soft as the Oilers over the past number of years one of their biggest problems is they don’t have an identity, they often play with fear and fold-up quicker than a cheap polyester suit when the going gets tough.

The culture that has existed in that locker room is toxic and as long as some of the core veterans remain I’m afraid that we’ll stay on the periphery despite drafting 1st overall three years running.

Many here at Oiler Nation believe that because they have been able to draft top prospects that other prospects and quality NHL players would be jumping at the opportunity to come aboard. That my friends isn’t going to happen very often, Schultz signed but others will simply move on to other teams.

It’s a little discerning when Jesse Joensuu is the best Oiler forward on opening night. The Oilers will probably finish ahead of the Flames in their division but not by much. MacT simply couldn’t get enough deals done, We are the worst run organization in hockey today, sorry Florida.

--------

This was posted October 04,13 and I'd like to retract what I said about the Calgary Flames.

I find it interesting you assume that the toxicity of the dressing room lies ONLY with the veterans and not with some spoiled brats.

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#126 Soccer Steve
October 18 2013, 12:15PM
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@LOIL99

I think I may have missed your point too then. Thanks for the clarification. (No inter-sarcasm there. People can still be cordial on the internet, can't they?)

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#127 dougtheslug
October 18 2013, 12:26PM
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madjam wrote:

Recognizing problem and accepting it , is first step in solving it . Lets step back to Lowe and Tambellini assembling of our core for the future . they felt Oiler fans would support offensively gifted forwards over a slower rebuild from back end . They draft all wingers and no centermen or goalie or defence thru out Tams tenure that have panned out . This year we finally draft a defenceman first , but are not using him as yet . New Gm and coach just added more to problems . One has to wonder if Tams tenure and acquisitions should be gutted , and restart another rebuild with size and grit and backend coming to forefront . That should not require ridding ourselves of all of them , however . Little less flash and heap more crash and size so to speak .

Isn't RNH a center?

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#128 ubermiguel
October 18 2013, 12:31PM
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Virtual_Xi wrote:

37/40 after 60, but 22/25 after 40 when it counted. I'm sorry but .880% aint gonna win you games.

They've done studies, you know. 60% of the time, cherry picking your stats to fit your argument works every time.

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#129 FireKLowe
October 18 2013, 12:32PM
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Puckbag wrote:

At the press conference which introduced MacT as the new GM, which reporter asked the question (paraphrase) "This is the same management team that sunk the Oilers over the last few years, what makes you think this same team will bring them back into contention?"?

It was this question which Lowe responded with his infamous "I have six Stanley Cup rings, I think I know how to win."

I would love to see this reporter ask this question again. And again, and again......

I believe it was John MacKinnon. The best question ever. I wish other Edmonton journalists would ask tough question like that more often.

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#130 BIGDAWG
October 18 2013, 12:56PM
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Question is... How long will season ticket holders keep selling out the REX??? I love my Oilers but there is no effin way I am paying to see this team. Its hard enough to watch them on tv.... It will get better...... wont it?

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#131 Oiler Al
October 18 2013, 01:24PM
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2004Z06 wrote:

Really? You think the swarm is the problem? How about the fact that only half the team shows up to play on any given night. The "systems" being implemented are not the problem, the attitude and lack of compete in a lot of these players is! The swarm wasn't here last year...same result, the year before....same result and on and on. The coach and the system are clearly not the problem because after 4 coaches and 4 systems, nothing has changed!

Everyone is looking for an excuse with this team. They simply do not work hard enough to compete nightly in this league.

NO EXCUSES

I wasn't suggesting the SWARM was good or bad, I just asked Racki who were the other teams running the system that he made reference to.

Was curious of their success or otherwise , that was it. Personlly I could not recognize as swarm if it was sitting on my nose, to my optics looks like a lot of guys running around without a plan.

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#132 Smokey
October 18 2013, 01:38PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Dallas Eakins system has to take the balme for everything that has happened. Exactly why are all the defender on the PK not covering the points any more and letting the opposition shoot at will.

Our PP and PK under this new system have been a joke! Eakins talks about a lot of things but so far .......it looks like a duck.

I don't care if the shot differential is better this year, our PP and PK look like a 5 year old drafted that plan.

I am of the mantra don't fix it if is not broken. Frankly I concur the penalty kill is passive and terrible. Its somewhat personnel and its passive nature. I wish someone could break down why its foobared. It seems like the players don't know what their coach wants them to do. If there is one thing that should of been left well damn alone was the penalty kill. If your going to waste 4 million on players, give Jones and Smyth more minutes on the penalty kill. Then Eakins should ask Bucky and Smith what the hell they were doing right last year. Smyth should be off the power play.

In regards to the Power play it seemed like the puck movement is good, However the two things I've noticed is the team misses Gagner down low making sweet dishes, and that RNH has been less effective. Seems like the Nuge is handling the puck on the side boards less.

Other then big holes in the slot, and constant overplay leaving guys wide open, and bad goaltending I honestly think think this years problem 5x5 is this stupid system. It should of been kept simple for these kids. Too many damn changes for two years for a team to get acquainted with.

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#133 TigerUnderGlass
October 18 2013, 02:00PM
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@Smokey

Canucks should have a cup.

You shut your filthy mouth.

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#134 Rama Lama
October 18 2013, 03:50PM
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Smokey wrote:

I am of the mantra don't fix it if is not broken. Frankly I concur the penalty kill is passive and terrible. Its somewhat personnel and its passive nature. I wish someone could break down why its foobared. It seems like the players don't know what their coach wants them to do. If there is one thing that should of been left well damn alone was the penalty kill. If your going to waste 4 million on players, give Jones and Smyth more minutes on the penalty kill. Then Eakins should ask Bucky and Smith what the hell they were doing right last year. Smyth should be off the power play.

In regards to the Power play it seemed like the puck movement is good, However the two things I've noticed is the team misses Gagner down low making sweet dishes, and that RNH has been less effective. Seems like the Nuge is handling the puck on the side boards less.

Other then big holes in the slot, and constant overplay leaving guys wide open, and bad goaltending I honestly think think this years problem 5x5 is this stupid system. It should of been kept simple for these kids. Too many damn changes for two years for a team to get acquainted with.

I'm not sure why Eakins would have thrown the baby out with the bath water as it relates to the PP and PK??

You are right they should not change what is working........having Hemsky and RNH killing penalties just makes no sense to a hack like me. Maybe I'm missing something........his genius is without question.

RNH, Perron, Schultz, Hemsky, Hall, and Ebs look totally lost on the PP ......once again we are back to moving the puck around the perimeter without actually shooting it. I thought we solved this issue in the latter part of last year?

Eakins wants his finger prints on everything........so he has changed everything.

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#135 Geitus Maximus
October 18 2013, 07:31PM
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madjam wrote:

Recognizing problem and accepting it , is first step in solving it . Lets step back to Lowe and Tambellini assembling of our core for the future . they felt Oiler fans would support offensively gifted forwards over a slower rebuild from back end . They draft all wingers and no centermen or goalie or defence thru out Tams tenure that have panned out . This year we finally draft a defenceman first , but are not using him as yet . New Gm and coach just added more to problems . One has to wonder if Tams tenure and acquisitions should be gutted , and restart another rebuild with size and grit and backend coming to forefront . That should not require ridding ourselves of all of them , however . Little less flash and heap more crash and size so to speak .

I agree we should draft for more need. I would just hate to see the Oilers start from scratch again and try unloading players. No team will pay a premium for players on a losing team and has no history of winning. I do believe the Oil will be a good team if Dubs plays better than he has and Eakins makes some D system adjustments.

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