See What You Want In These Edmonton Oilers

Jonathan Willis
February 20 2013 01:45PM

What order the wins and losses came in really doesn’t matter. The Oilers went 4-2-1 in January, and optimism abounded; so far they’ve gone 2-4-2 in February and consequently optimism is in short supply. What matters is that the team is 6-6-3 on the season, sits 11th in the Western Conference, and is just one win out of either the final playoff spot or second-last.

And that means whatever viewpoint one subscribes to – the ‘yes, they’ll make the playoffs’ or ‘Draft Lottery IV: This Time It’s Personal’, there’s something there to back it.

The Amazing 2005-06 Oilers!

The 2005-06 edition of the Edmonton Oilers – also known as the most successful playoff team iced by the franchise since the glory years – started the post-lockout era in mediocre fashion. With a nasty, seven-game road-trip coming up in November, getting off to a good start was important but the Oilers flopped, going 6-6-1 in their first 13 games.

There was a lot of hype entering the season with a pair of high-profile additions – Chris Pronger and Michael Peca – having joined the team. Unfortuantely, in the early going that hype was difficult to justify, particularly with Peca struggling, and the Oilers looked much like the same team they were before the lockout – a team that was life and death for the playoffs and bound for at best a plucky first round victory followed by a quick second round defeat.

The road trip turned out to be not so bad – the Oilers went 4-and-3, hung around until the deadline when Kevin Lowe was able to add Dwayne Roloson from Minnesota and finally solidify the goaltending. The Oilers were a greatly underrated team entering the playoffs – far better than their eighth seed would suggest – and ultimately made it to the Stanley Cup finals, where the loss of Roloson to injury likely cost Kevin Lowe a Cup ring as general manager.

The ‘Worst In Franchise History’ 2009-10 Oilers!

The 2009-10 edition of the Edmonton Oilers – a team that sunk to previously unknown depths, arguably the worst-constructed team in club history – started off in mediocre fashion. With a five-game road-trip on the horizon, the Oilers went 7-7-1 over their first 15 contests, cooling after a 6-2-1 start.

There was a lot of hype entering the season, as Steve Tambellini had his first real chance to put a stamp on the franchise and recruited two high-profile additions – legendary head coach Pat Quinn and new starting goaltender Nikolai Kahbibulin. Fan opinion had drifted downward somewhat after the hot start, and this team seemed like a decent bet to finish in more or less the same place previous editions had – either barely in or barely out of the post-season.

The Oilers went 1-2-2 on the road-trip; not a strong record but not an awful one either, and then Khabibulin hit his first major injury as an Oiler (the last game he played that season was the final one of the road-trip). Replacement Jeff Deslauriers would keep the Oilers competitive for a while, but by the new year it was clear the team was doomed and management decided that ‘rebuild through the draft’ would be the club’s new mantra.

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This Before…

The 2013 edition of the Edmonton Oilers have started their season in mediocre fashion. With a brutal, nine-game road-trip coming up the team has a 6-6-3 record, having cooled after a 4-2-1 start. There was a lot of hype entering the season, given the expected maturation of the young core as well as a pair of high-profile additions in free agent defenceman Justin Schultz and first overall pick Nail Yakupov but the optimistic talk has died down of late given their recent troubles.

The outcome of the road trip, as well as of the season, are yet to be determined. I expected this edition of the team to finish just outside the playoffs, with some potential to rise or fall depending on things like injury. I still feel comfortable with that prediction; this team’s performance this year hasn’t been especially surprising to me.

With that said, the examples of the 2005-06 and 2009-10 teams show that this is one of those things that could still take a ‘Crazy Ivan’ and change dramatically. Could they make the playoffs? Absolutely they could. Could they end up in the bottom five for the fourth consecutive year? That too is a possibility. The fate of the 2013 Oilers is yet to be determined, and it’s not that hard to look one way and see a playoff team, or look the other and see another wasted season.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, 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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#1 Toro
February 20 2013, 01:55PM
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Truly I'm sick of them losing and not being in the playoffs but the fact that its a shortened season , wouldn't bother me too too much if we brought in another top prospect through the draft but this is the final season I'm willing to do that!

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#2 nunyour
February 20 2013, 01:59PM
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no use making the playoff till the young guys can grow a beard.

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#3 Ales Hallsky
February 20 2013, 02:11PM
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Crazy Ivan Drago?

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#4 Trent
February 20 2013, 02:13PM
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How many core players are on the Oilers now?

After 10 years what has this team accomplished aside from 2006.?

How long is too long not making the playoffs.

How many first round players do the Oilers have playing.

If I looked at the Oilers in the last 10 yrs objectively I would say management has failed in this hockey market.

What have they done aside from picking a couple of potential superstars.

You look at LA STL Chicago Vancouver you see a plan to build a team.

Oilers will eventually become a good regular season team. They won't win the Cup with this management, give them 5 years and the 1st pick every year, they still lose.

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#6 VK63
February 20 2013, 02:25PM
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I recall the Oilers scoreboard schlock from that 06 year and the term for Pronger was BACKBONE.

He was all of that and more... plus 3 penalties a night, one lazy, one a miscue and one a mean as f*ck reminder to all on the ice of where the bear does his business in the bush.

This version has a few appendages but a backbone is noticeably absent.

Those were some awesome good times in the old barn however. Good enough that Katz wanted a piece of that action and backed up the brinks truck. Hasn't worked out too good for him so far.

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#7 godot10
February 20 2013, 02:29PM
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Trent wrote:

How many core players are on the Oilers now?

After 10 years what has this team accomplished aside from 2006.?

How long is too long not making the playoffs.

How many first round players do the Oilers have playing.

If I looked at the Oilers in the last 10 yrs objectively I would say management has failed in this hockey market.

What have they done aside from picking a couple of potential superstars.

You look at LA STL Chicago Vancouver you see a plan to build a team.

Oilers will eventually become a good regular season team. They won't win the Cup with this management, give them 5 years and the 1st pick every year, they still lose.

LA had 2 lottery picks and one near lottery pick. St. Louis had 2 lottery picks. Chicago had 2 lottery picks. Vancouver had 2 lottery (top 5) picks, and a farm system built by Steve Tambellini.

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#9 geoilersgist
February 20 2013, 02:33PM
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This team needs a Jason Smith type on the backend. Man I wish I could back to '06 and kidnap Bergeron so that incident never happened.

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#10 EricOG
February 20 2013, 02:39PM
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When you analyze things a little bit, you begin to understand the fact that this management and the rebuild is going to fail miserably. What many people see as a flood of young d-men coming into the system is really a serious lack of balance in the depth chart.

The farm team has been depleted and does not show to have a single forward who can come up. MPS and Teemu are already with the big club. If management sits on it's behind and does nothing as soon as this trade deadline, the window will be at least 10% closed. We, as fans deserve a whole lot more.

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#12 oil99
February 20 2013, 02:40PM
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oilers don't have centre depth so they need to draft centermen. Their second round draft picks in last 3yrs aren't lookin good(Pitlick,Musil and last year's 32nd pick).When they could have drafted Brenandon Saad and Boone Jenner. I wouldn't mind them finishing 3rd worst this year and draft 6'2" 220lbs centre Barkov. Then flip Gagner ++ for O'riley and acquire Brian Boyle from Rangers for something .Also send Hemsky for Keith Yandle type defenceman. Oilers can throw money at David Clarkson in free agency also sign one of Ballard or Enstrom. Oilers centres in 2013/14 would be #1 NUGE #2 BARKOV #3 O'Riley #4 BOYLE Then we can hope for playoffs.

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#13 geoilersgist
February 20 2013, 02:47PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Kidnap Matt Greene while you're at it. Somebody (Dellow?) pointed out recently that the only reason Bergeron hammers that guy is because Greene gets beat on the outside.

The way Roli was playing Bergeron should have given him the shot. Man it has been way to long since playoff hockey in Oil Country. I really hope I can make it till next spring if need be.

On a side note the only problem with that video is the Nickelback...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=529LIoKq9JQ

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#14 laughing pug
February 20 2013, 03:01PM
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Well that video was good for a mid-afternoon cry.

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#15 vetinari
February 20 2013, 03:04PM
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Over the last three to four years, we are vikings when it comes to winning the draft and using the #1 pick well, but where we fail horribly is in the departments of trading and UFA signings-- 2 out of 3 of the jobs essential to a GM in fielding an NHL calibre team.

At this point, I think we will sink to bottom five status in the league by the time that the team's mega-roadtrip is over-- and mostly because our GM can't sign a UFA that we actually need or trade for a player that could fill a hole in our lineup.

We are now a quarter way through the season and .500 hockey is only good for about 20th place in the league-- and from this point going forward, a five or six game winning streak would put us competitively into the lower-middle of the playoff pack but a five or six game losing streak basically spells the end of this season.

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#16 Will
February 20 2013, 03:11PM
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True, history seems to repeat itself. But what is different about this year is that as a fan I see the Oilers potentially winning any and every game they come into, unlike the last few years when I saw them potentially losing.

There is a ton of improvement on this team, and likely much more is needed to not only be a cup contender, but to be a team that consistently makes the playoffs.

I see this road trip going 3 - 4 - 2, which isn't great but should be good enough to keep us in the hunt in the west. After returning home I think our record bounces back and we get back above 500. This team, unlike previous years, seems like it will only get better as the season wears on.

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#17 northof51
February 20 2013, 03:22PM
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I know we're talking about starts to a season here, but the Oil finished 2006 with a +4.3 shots per game and (WTF, this can't be right)a league LEADING 25.5 shots against! This year they're a -4.9 (33.6 shots against)... They may be a .500 club, but they haven't played other teams 50/50 (not just based on shots on goal, but on Corsi, possession, zone starts and faceoffs). Their play, not their record, is what keeps me drenched in pessimism.

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#18 Rama Lama
February 20 2013, 03:31PM
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The issue that most Oiler fans have, myself included, is we do not see a plan.

Occasionally Oilers management will say things like, be patient, we are developing players, we are in a re-build mode, we are drafting high, we have a plan.........so be patient.

The problem is now fans are looking at the team saying, "what's your plan"? Fair question but no concrete actions taken to show fans we are moving in the right direction.

Finishing last and drafting first is not a plan......neither is waiting for players like JS to fall out of the sky. Leaving your youngsters to fend for themselves is not a plan. Playing 18 year olds out of junior hockey smacks of desperation, and is not fair to them. If expecting the youngsters ( most of whom can't eve grow a beard) to carry the team night in and night out is a plan........then it's no wonder people are calling for Tamby's head.

Like I have always said........the emperor has no clothes!

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#19 Oiler Al
February 20 2013, 03:34PM
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You can't go far in this league by scoring only one goal most nights!. The blues found that out last playoffs.Might work during the season but not if you are going for the works.

This team couldn't score last year, and they can't score this year.. Why?

Supposedly we have all these young guns on board, but there is not much happening?

The bottom six, wouldn't know a goal if it was sitting next to them on the bench, and ditto for the back end. Team's limited respect thus far has come from goal tending.

Where is the structure to this team.? Many nights they are running around like a bantam house league team.

I am starting to have real doubts about " everything is rosie" Kruger.

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#20 RexLibris
February 20 2013, 03:38PM
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What I've been looking for this season isn't necessarily the wins, or even the goals, but decisions. Better decision-making with, and more importantly, without the puck.

I like what I have seen thus far. Nugent-Hopkins has a better grasp of the defensive side of the game than many of his older peers, and Hall is using his linemates more effectively, even coming back to be a 3rd defenseman at times. Yakupov is figuring out the best places on the ice to lurk and when to assert and relent.

There are signs, non-quantifiable signs, that this group is worth building around.

For my part, I think we are looking at another non-playoff year, but I'd still rather have this group of players and no playoffs this year, than playoffs this year and be without our core group.

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#21 Old Soldier
February 20 2013, 04:19PM
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2 years 30th overall

the next year, 29th overall

right this second, if the season ended, the Oilers are 20th overall.

That is not failure to me. Before the season started, all the talk was "would the Oilers be in a position to battle for a playoff spot", and even the most optimistic fan agreed it would be a tough battle. They have improved key areas of their game, defence, special teams, goaltending....but they have more to do.

Yet they are in a position where they could make the playoffs, or they could fall down the ladder. A bit different from sitting at the bottom looking up all the time.

If the Oilers finish higher than 20th overall, or even make the playoffs, I will be extremely happy and equally surprised, but if they end right where they are, I do not call this season a failure.

We have youth locked up, any big money contracts with veterans we do have are all under 2 years length so we are in good cap space, we have players rejuvenating careers (Gagner and Hemsky) we have youth learning their way and showing glimpses (Yakupov, MPS, Harti, Lander, Petrell, Petry), and we have a young core that is incredible and only going to get better (Shultz, Hall, Ebs, RNH, Dubnyk).

Where we are right now is a combination of filling holes, and building experience and character. And for me, if we finish 20th this year, and make an equal improvement next year, I am thrilled. Dont let your competitive nature and the desire to win make you misjudge what we do have and what they are accomplishing.

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#22 VK63
February 20 2013, 04:37PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Staples had posted that the Oilers operating income for 2012 was north of 16 million. I assume that to be a net dollar.

The first couple seasons were money losers for reasons that included a weaker currency and the annual "garry grab" for the weak sisters in the league.

LaForge told us at one gathering what that number was. In one year if memory serves it was a loss of between 5 and 6 mill. Not sure how many years Katz has lost money owning them but its been a few.

16+ presumably would take care of a lot of those previous years losses. :)

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#23 Will
February 20 2013, 04:38PM
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@He Who Knows

I gotta disagree here. Our scouting staff, and development system are so much better off since Tambi took over. Unfortunately those things need to be in place before beginning to start building a perennial contender like Detroit. Also, they don't bear fruit right away. This process takes a long time, and even the best success stories of the rebuild phase took a while as noted by several articles that outline successful rebuilds.

Think of how long both Chicago and Pittsburgh were terrible for before they went for the rebuild. As for Katz, ya he's a business man, but having someone with deep pockets willing to spend is so much better then our previous decade of ownership that could barely keep the players we had. Why do you think the Oilers just let Glencross walk? because the ownership couldn't afford him.

I agree that now that we have the money, and we can't get those players to build a team is frustrating, but I'd much rather have the talented core we got through the draft, to build around. No player will come to a city like ours without the players we now have. Was it easy? No. Are we there yet? no. But a team projecting upwards is so much better than a team that constantly finished outside of the playoffs then wasted draft picks for years and years and years.

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#24 Ducey
February 20 2013, 04:38PM
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He Who Knows wrote:

The fanbase needs to set up a protest infront of Oilers headquarters or outside Rexall. Start a facebook page or send a tweet. KEVIN LOWE AND STEVE TAMBELLINI NEED TO STEP DOWN. No more firing coaches, no more patience on the utter stupidity of management and no more EXCUSES. This has gone on for too long. Rebuilding is one thing but even average Joe can go out and draft Hall and company. Daryl Katz has been a curse since he bought the team. Stop sniffing old jocks and trying to milk the hardworking citizen of hard earned money for your palace full of incompetent dummies. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Everything Brian Burke said of Lowe was damn true. The majority of the fanbase is full of a herd of sheep that do not know a damn thing. This organization is a mess and it has to end now!

Yes, lets riot! The Oilers are are at .500 after 15 games! Lets hire Burke! He will talk about truculance and make us feel tough while trading away our future for mediocrity!

I guess you don't see the irony of "sheep" like you who have high expectations for the team based on the presence of Hall, Nuge, and Yak, but can't seem to remember how the team got them.

You can't tank for a few years in order to build up a bunch of good prospects and then get rid of them in favour of some vets just before they are about to develop.

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#25 Hayek
February 20 2013, 04:48PM
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Ducey wrote:

Yes, lets riot! The Oilers are are at .500 after 15 games! Lets hire Burke! He will talk about truculance and make us feel tough while trading away our future for mediocrity!

I guess you don't see the irony of "sheep" like you who have high expectations for the team based on the presence of Hall, Nuge, and Yak, but can't seem to remember how the team got them.

You can't tank for a few years in order to build up a bunch of good prospects and then get rid of them in favour of some vets just before they are about to develop.

Thank you.

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#26 Oilers21
February 20 2013, 04:50PM
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"the loss of Roloson to injury likely cost Kevin Lowe a Cup ring as general manager".....someone needs to please explain to me where this narrative comes from. Seriously, please educate me. The game two 5-0 loss wasn't something Markkanen would like on the resume, but he then proceeded to actually win 3 of the next 5 games, and the losses were 2-1 and 3-1 (which was actually 2-1 and an empty net). It's a little hazy but I don't remember too many terrible goals. Even if he didn't set the world on fire it's hard to pin the series loss on Markkanen.

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#27 Rama Lama
February 20 2013, 04:55PM
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RexLibris wrote:

What I've been looking for this season isn't necessarily the wins, or even the goals, but decisions. Better decision-making with, and more importantly, without the puck.

I like what I have seen thus far. Nugent-Hopkins has a better grasp of the defensive side of the game than many of his older peers, and Hall is using his linemates more effectively, even coming back to be a 3rd defenseman at times. Yakupov is figuring out the best places on the ice to lurk and when to assert and relent.

There are signs, non-quantifiable signs, that this group is worth building around.

For my part, I think we are looking at another non-playoff year, but I'd still rather have this group of players and no playoffs this year, than playoffs this year and be without our core group.

I usually respect your postings.......but whose koolaid have you been drinking?

We all understand this young group is worth building around..........but exactly who is doing the building?

What building process are you talking about? Exactly what is the plan for this building process and please state your evidence of such a plan!!

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#28 He Who Knows
February 20 2013, 04:57PM
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@Ducey

Yeah, small and fast, no grit no team toughness and trust me I did not have high expectations going into the year because you take a look at the other teams in the west, you know the ones who are playoff contenders and they all have a mix of everything. Patience is one thing but with the veteran group we have and the similar players in the system, this team is not going to be successful. Has Tambi made a whole lot of sense in his press conferences about his vision. Its easy to say how they are doing it like Pittsburgh and Chicago but there is a time when you have to make the tough decisions and follow suit. Patience will end up costing the team salary cap space and then plugging the holes will be the motto. The Oilers have money and look at how they were trying to spend it when Katz took over. They had no plan just trying to land a star player to play with Hemsky at a $9 million cap hit. Yeah bring Heatley into the picture and this team would have been even worse in the long run. A smart business model my ass.

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#29 Trent
February 20 2013, 05:04PM
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The only plan Oiler management has had is to build an All Star team. They have no idea how to build a winning team.

Call me in 5yrs from now when your writing the same article. Until management changes or changes its direction Oilers will be stuck .

Don't get me wrong they will get better but no cup in sight.

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#30 Light, Sweet, Crude
February 20 2013, 05:42PM
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@Rama Lama

Is your surname Ding Dong?

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#31 MarcusBillius
February 20 2013, 05:45PM
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@Old Soldier

100% agreed.

To be within reasonable shot of a playoff spot with 1 game left in the season would be great, IMO. Ending up 10th would be a big improvement (but then I wouldn't know whether I want Calgary to be 9th and have a crappy pick, or Calgary to be 11th and behind the Oilers!)

12th or lower would be a disappointment to me.

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#32 Rama Lama
February 20 2013, 05:45PM
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Light, Sweet, Crude wrote:

Is your surname Ding Dong?

To you it is Mr. Ding Dong.........is your last name bitchuman?

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#33 dougtheslug
February 20 2013, 05:45PM
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Ah, the roller coaster life of an Oiler fan - for the sake of argument, what if last night Hall's dump in the last minute doesn't hit the linesman's knee, goes deep into Kings territory, and time runs off the clock, and the Oil win a shootout - really, not a far fetched scenario- the Oil are now a respectable 7-5-3, tied for last playoff spot with a game in hand, ON is celebrating the return of respectability.....

OK, if wishes were horses we'd all take a ride, but come on, the Oil have played pretty well,(compared to other years, at least not wilting when they've fallen behind), been in every game they have played (other than that one period versus SJ), they have proven scorers who seem snakebit so far (RNH off the crossbar last night - a cm lower and it is a different game) - sure we could use a 6'4" power forward - a Nik Lidstrom on d - a Milan Lucic(drafted 50th overall AFTER the Bruins had picked someone named Yuri Alexandrov 37th - if they were so smart what were they waiting for? Sometimes you just get lucky)

What's the plan? I prefer a patient rebuild to giving up Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton for Phil Kessel(I'm sure that deal is out there - for a vast overpay - how would you like that ON?)Let the kids play and see what happens - that buzzsaw we witnessed against Colorado was not a mirage, IMHO.

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#34 RexLibris
February 20 2013, 05:52PM
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@Rama Lama

I haven't said anything about who is doing the building. I'm not a Tambellini apologist, but I think credit is best given where deserved. He was able to move a few players for what was likely at or above market value (Staios for Johnson and a 3rd, Grebeshkov for a 2nd, Penner for Teubert a 1st and a 3rd, etc). And he revamped what was a wholly dysfunctional farm system.

Are there better examples of how to build a team, heck yes. Ray Shero looks pretty good, but it was Craig Patrick who got that ball rolling. Dale Tallon did some decent work, and took the fall in Chicago for what was, ostensibly, Stan Bowman's blunder, but again, it was Bob Pulford who started that process as well.

I wouldn't be opposed to the Oilers replacing Tambellini, provided it isn't with someone whose resume screams "win now".

As for the crux of my original statement, I'm not arguing about the wins or losses, or whether the Oilers need a Lucic or an O'Reilly, but rather that those player they do have are showing signs of improving and executing the game at a higher level than previous seasons.

I have no idea what the exact plan is for this management group, and I'm not going to defend every action they take. But there are far, far worse examples of how to run a hockey team in this league, in this division even, than what we have here in Edmonton.

As a side note, Kool Aid gets a bad rap, as it wasn't actually the drink of choice at Jonestown, but instead was Flavor-Aid, a similar product that was widely available in South America due to marketing towards the North American Hispanic community.

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#35 DSF
February 20 2013, 05:54PM
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Normally I don't draw many conclusions until the 20 game mark but since this is a shortened season let's take a rational look.

Points after 15 games:

2011/12: 20

2013: 15

Being 5 points in arrears to the team that finished 29th is not a good sign.

GF/G

2011/12: 2.52

2013: 2.33

The Oilers are scoring at a lower rate than they did last season.

GA/G

2011/12: 2.83

2013: 2.67

One bright spot is that goals against are down marginally.

GF/GA DIFF

2011/12: -.31

2013: -.34

THe goal differential is actually worse than the team that finished -27 last season.

SF/G

2011/12: 26.7

2013: 28.7

SA/G

2011/12: 30.7

2013: 33.6

Shot Diff/G

2011/12 -4.0

2013 -4.9

Shots are up slightly but they are giving up even more resulting in an even worse differential.

PP

2011/12: 20.6

2013: 23.9

The PP is somewhat better but it should be noted that the opposition has figured out the Oilers PP and is denying them zone entry and Schultz point shots.

Important to note that in 8 games in February, the Oilers PP has scored 6 times on 40 chances.

That is 15% which would rank them in the lower third of the league in PP efficiency.

Also worth noting is that Justin Schultz appears to have also been figured out by the opposition.

In 7 games in January, he scored 5 points and was +2

in 8 games in February he has scored 3 points and is -7

And he has ONE ES assist in 15 games...no goals.

Better hope for a couple of wins in the next two games or this could get ugly real fast.

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#36 dougtheslug
February 20 2013, 06:03PM
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DSF wrote:

Normally I don't draw many conclusions until the 20 game mark but since this is a shortened season let's take a rational look.

Points after 15 games:

2011/12: 20

2013: 15

Being 5 points in arrears to the team that finished 29th is not a good sign.

GF/G

2011/12: 2.52

2013: 2.33

The Oilers are scoring at a lower rate than they did last season.

GA/G

2011/12: 2.83

2013: 2.67

One bright spot is that goals against are down marginally.

GF/GA DIFF

2011/12: -.31

2013: -.34

THe goal differential is actually worse than the team that finished -27 last season.

SF/G

2011/12: 26.7

2013: 28.7

SA/G

2011/12: 30.7

2013: 33.6

Shot Diff/G

2011/12 -4.0

2013 -4.9

Shots are up slightly but they are giving up even more resulting in an even worse differential.

PP

2011/12: 20.6

2013: 23.9

The PP is somewhat better but it should be noted that the opposition has figured out the Oilers PP and is denying them zone entry and Schultz point shots.

Important to note that in 8 games in February, the Oilers PP has scored 6 times on 40 chances.

That is 15% which would rank them in the lower third of the league in PP efficiency.

Also worth noting is that Justin Schultz appears to have also been figured out by the opposition.

In 7 games in January, he scored 5 points and was +2

in 8 games in February he has scored 3 points and is -7

And he has ONE ES assist in 15 games...no goals.

Better hope for a couple of wins in the next two games or this could get ugly real fast.

Or maybe Schulz is playing hurt or is running out of gas in his first pro season playing way more hockey than he did in college - "the opposition figuring him out" is a bit of a leap

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#37 DSF
February 20 2013, 06:11PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Ah, the roller coaster life of an Oiler fan - for the sake of argument, what if last night Hall's dump in the last minute doesn't hit the linesman's knee, goes deep into Kings territory, and time runs off the clock, and the Oil win a shootout - really, not a far fetched scenario- the Oil are now a respectable 7-5-3, tied for last playoff spot with a game in hand, ON is celebrating the return of respectability.....

OK, if wishes were horses we'd all take a ride, but come on, the Oil have played pretty well,(compared to other years, at least not wilting when they've fallen behind), been in every game they have played (other than that one period versus SJ), they have proven scorers who seem snakebit so far (RNH off the crossbar last night - a cm lower and it is a different game) - sure we could use a 6'4" power forward - a Nik Lidstrom on d - a Milan Lucic(drafted 50th overall AFTER the Bruins had picked someone named Yuri Alexandrov 37th - if they were so smart what were they waiting for? Sometimes you just get lucky)

What's the plan? I prefer a patient rebuild to giving up Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton for Phil Kessel(I'm sure that deal is out there - for a vast overpay - how would you like that ON?)Let the kids play and see what happens - that buzzsaw we witnessed against Colorado was not a mirage, IMHO.

1) They didn't deserve to win the game against Columbus. If Columbus had won that game, the Oilers would be in 14th, one point ahead of the 15th place Jackets.

2) Please see my post above. The Oilers are playing WORSE than last year by almost any metric.

3) Setting up a strawman argument like the Kessel trade is a waste of oxygen....especially since the Leafs are currently tied with the Bruins, 3 points out of top spot in the EC while the Oilers are desperately trying to stay ahead of Calgary and Columbus and Calgary could pass them if they win their game in hand tonight.

4) The buzzsaw WAS a mirage. Colorado was playing without 3 of its best players and, even then, it took an empty net goal to beat them by two.

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#38 DSF
February 20 2013, 06:14PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Or maybe Schulz is playing hurt or is running out of gas in his first pro season playing way more hockey than he did in college - "the opposition figuring him out" is a bit of a leap

Since all but 1 of his points in January were on the PP, I sincerely doubt it's because he's "running out of gas"

He's only played 49 games this season.

Assuming he's hurt is the real leap and always the excuse in Oilerville when a player isn't getting it done.

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#39 Lofty
February 20 2013, 06:25PM
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Nottherealbrownlee wrote:

We lost game 1 because Rollie got hurt.

MacT went Canuckistanian pride and busted out Ty Conklin into game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. No, not reliable and occasionally brilliant backup Jussi Markkanen, but Ty freaking Conklin. Lead blown.

So the reason the Oilers didn't win the cup was because of MacT? He took a mediocre team to the finals and you blame him for not taking the ship?

He did a good job and got a lot out of his line-ups. Something the Oilers haven't enjoyed since Sathers 2nd stint with a stacked line-up. Krueger hasn't had enough games to be weighed in the Oilers coaching history.

In my opinion, at this point Oiler fans should applaud MacT's decisions rather than ridicule them. He most often challenged for a playoff spot with a budget team. The blender may not have been pretty but it won games the line-up shouldn't have.

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#40 Rama Lama
February 20 2013, 06:27PM
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RexLibris wrote:

I haven't said anything about who is doing the building. I'm not a Tambellini apologist, but I think credit is best given where deserved. He was able to move a few players for what was likely at or above market value (Staios for Johnson and a 3rd, Grebeshkov for a 2nd, Penner for Teubert a 1st and a 3rd, etc). And he revamped what was a wholly dysfunctional farm system.

Are there better examples of how to build a team, heck yes. Ray Shero looks pretty good, but it was Craig Patrick who got that ball rolling. Dale Tallon did some decent work, and took the fall in Chicago for what was, ostensibly, Stan Bowman's blunder, but again, it was Bob Pulford who started that process as well.

I wouldn't be opposed to the Oilers replacing Tambellini, provided it isn't with someone whose resume screams "win now".

As for the crux of my original statement, I'm not arguing about the wins or losses, or whether the Oilers need a Lucic or an O'Reilly, but rather that those player they do have are showing signs of improving and executing the game at a higher level than previous seasons.

I have no idea what the exact plan is for this management group, and I'm not going to defend every action they take. But there are far, far worse examples of how to run a hockey team in this league, in this division even, than what we have here in Edmonton.

As a side note, Kool Aid gets a bad rap, as it wasn't actually the drink of choice at Jonestown, but instead was Flavor-Aid, a similar product that was widely available in South America due to marketing towards the North American Hispanic community.

The crux of your argument is centered around puck-management and how certain players have improved in this area.

Given what the article was intended to discuss " see what you want in these Edmonton Oilers", and the string, you picked a very minor point of improvement to discuss.

I too like that the Oilers are exhibiting better puck management skills on the top line, but there are some glaring holes in this line-up that need to be addressed. My biggest challenge is that our top six ( all are small) forwards are being set-up for failure, by not having a solid supporting cast to help them carry the load. Yes we do have some up and comers on the bottom six.........but all I can think of is just who will protect our young guns from guys like Raffi Torres, Curtis Glencross, and Dustin Brown? Our talent is getting run out there with no response.

We are one or two concussions away from hiring a true enforcer!

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#41 Spydyr
February 20 2013, 06:52PM
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I hate to say it but missing the playoffs one more year may not be a bad thing.

It is hard to take missing them for this long.

The big picture is important:

1) Do not trade draft picks or any asset that may help the team in three years.When the playoff runs should be deep.

2) Out with the old Smyth Horcoff Whitney and Kahbi this summer.The only players in the bottom six worth keeping are PRV and Harti.Rebuild the bottom six bigger and younger.

3)For the love of all things Oil draft a second line centre this summer.

Making the playoffs this year would be great.Getting rocked in the first round and perhaps a major injury to a core player would not be good.If you think Hall is playing with reckless abandon in the regular season imagine what he would be like in the playoffs.

Waiting one more year may not be a bad thing.

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#42 Todd
February 20 2013, 07:34PM
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DSF wrote:

Since all but 1 of his points in January were on the PP, I sincerely doubt it's because he's "running out of gas"

He's only played 49 games this season.

Assuming he's hurt is the real leap and always the excuse in Oilerville when a player isn't getting it done.

As per usual DSF you've just been waiting around lurking to be a giant b1tch. You were negative about Schultz from day 1 and it must have sure bugged you when he quickly made the adjustment to the NHL. The minute he has a few normal games you pounce and proclaim him a bust. Its so predictable and lame.

I suppose the opposition "figured out" Daniel Sedin earlier this year when he went 7-8 games with only a few points.

For the most part your commentary is almost always full of sour grapes, flawed logic and general b1tchery that nobody cares about.

The bottom line is Schultz is exactly what this team needed, and a dream come true addition to the rebuild. Being 'figured out' as a rookie in the NHL is a pretty good compliment.

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#43 DSF
February 20 2013, 07:45PM
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Todd wrote:

As per usual DSF you've just been waiting around lurking to be a giant b1tch. You were negative about Schultz from day 1 and it must have sure bugged you when he quickly made the adjustment to the NHL. The minute he has a few normal games you pounce and proclaim him a bust. Its so predictable and lame.

I suppose the opposition "figured out" Daniel Sedin earlier this year when he went 7-8 games with only a few points.

For the most part your commentary is almost always full of sour grapes, flawed logic and general b1tchery that nobody cares about.

The bottom line is Schultz is exactly what this team needed, and a dream come true addition to the rebuild. Being 'figured out' as a rookie in the NHL is a pretty good compliment.

Read this and get back to me:

http://www.boysonthebus.com/2013/02/19/game-notes-oilerskings-feb-19/

An excerpt:

"Just a horrible game on so many levels here. Sam Gagner put up a season worst -16 even strength Corsi, beating his own record of -14. He was on for 6 shots for, and 22 against. Think about that. Almost 4 times as many shots were taken against his net as he got off on theirs. And therein lies the contradiction of Samwise. The guy has the offensive talent level to complement great players and put up points, but his overall play this season at even strength has been extremely, unquestionably poor. Out of the 15 games played so far, he’s had one of the worst three Corsi rates on the Oilers 8 times. I’m not sure what’s wrong with the second line, but it’s not working, and not having a serviceable second line will kill this team’s chances of making the playoffs.

Something is wrong with Justin Schultz. He’s taken a nose dive the last few games, enough to be the 3rd worst skater against the kings on a per minute basis. I think the back injury is worse than the team is letting on. We better hope it’s a back injury."

The bottom line is Schultz has been dreadful for almost a month.

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#44 Todd
February 20 2013, 07:58PM
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DSF wrote:

Read this and get back to me:

http://www.boysonthebus.com/2013/02/19/game-notes-oilerskings-feb-19/

An excerpt:

"Just a horrible game on so many levels here. Sam Gagner put up a season worst -16 even strength Corsi, beating his own record of -14. He was on for 6 shots for, and 22 against. Think about that. Almost 4 times as many shots were taken against his net as he got off on theirs. And therein lies the contradiction of Samwise. The guy has the offensive talent level to complement great players and put up points, but his overall play this season at even strength has been extremely, unquestionably poor. Out of the 15 games played so far, he’s had one of the worst three Corsi rates on the Oilers 8 times. I’m not sure what’s wrong with the second line, but it’s not working, and not having a serviceable second line will kill this team’s chances of making the playoffs.

Something is wrong with Justin Schultz. He’s taken a nose dive the last few games, enough to be the 3rd worst skater against the kings on a per minute basis. I think the back injury is worse than the team is letting on. We better hope it’s a back injury."

The bottom line is Schultz has been dreadful for almost a month.

Ya, total bust. Wish we hadn't even got him now.... You were right all along.

Drink up them sour grapes.

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#45 Walter Sobchak
February 20 2013, 07:59PM
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Spydyr wrote:

I hate to say it but missing the playoffs one more year may not be a bad thing.

It is hard to take missing them for this long.

The big picture is important:

1) Do not trade draft picks or any asset that may help the team in three years.When the playoff runs should be deep.

2) Out with the old Smyth Horcoff Whitney and Kahbi this summer.The only players in the bottom six worth keeping are PRV and Harti.Rebuild the bottom six bigger and younger.

3)For the love of all things Oil draft a second line centre this summer.

Making the playoffs this year would be great.Getting rocked in the first round and perhaps a major injury to a core player would not be good.If you think Hall is playing with reckless abandon in the regular season imagine what he would be like in the playoffs.

Waiting one more year may not be a bad thing.

This^ 100%

it make to much sense, watch how you come across or you get crucified by loyalists.

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#46 DSF
February 20 2013, 08:03PM
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Todd wrote:

Ya, total bust. Wish we hadn't even got him now.... You were right all along.

Drink up them sour grapes.

No one said he was a bust...he's just isn't what you think he is.

Kevin Shattenkirk scored 6 goals and 28 points at ES as a rookie coming out of Boston University and another 3 goals and 15 points on the PP.

Schultz can't hold his jock.

Drink that Kool Aid

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#47 Butters
February 20 2013, 08:07PM
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DSF, the Oilers didn't desrve to beat Colombus, granted, but they deserved a better fate against Dallas. It took 2 flukey goals for the Oiler to lose that one. Against LA it took a linesman stripping the puck from Taylor Hall to help LA beat Edmonton.

Also, the depleted Colorado Avalanche beat a pretty good Nashville team after losing to the Oilers.

Unlike last year, the Oilers are not taken for granted, and if memory serves, they haven't seen a lot of backup goaltenders.

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#48 DSF
February 20 2013, 08:14PM
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Butters wrote:

DSF, the Oilers didn't desrve to beat Colombus, granted, but they deserved a better fate against Dallas. It took 2 flukey goals for the Oiler to lose that one. Against LA it took a linesman stripping the puck from Taylor Hall to help LA beat Edmonton.

Also, the depleted Colorado Avalanche beat a pretty good Nashville team after losing to the Oilers.

Unlike last year, the Oilers are not taken for granted, and if memory serves, they haven't seen a lot of backup goaltenders.

Oh, no doubt the Hockey Gods balance things out but one nimrod above was suggesting the Oilers should be in a better position than they are based on one game which is just nonsense.

They're outshot and outchanced on a regular basis just like many seasons before.

If other teams can shutdown the PP, it's game over.

The Oilers are the worst team in the league 5V5 and the PP has gone in the tank.

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#49 MarcusBillius
February 20 2013, 08:15PM
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@Lofty

Unpopular opinion here, but I think Chris Pronger took the Oilers to the Finals. Best defenceman in the world at that time. The next year he put Anaheim over the top against a very skilled Ottawa squad, and a couple of years later he helped lead Philly in a losing effort against a stacked, young, fast Chicago team.

All due respect to MacT, but the subsequent seasons of failure suggest that it wasn't him carrying the Oil to the promised land.

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#50 RexLibris
February 20 2013, 08:20PM
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@DSF

Ahem, Flavor-Aid.

;-)

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