2010-11 OILERS: BOTTOM OF THE BARREL

What the Edmonton Oilers might do in the future or what they could’ve accomplished this season had an already thin and raw roster not been riddled by injuries is up to debate. That this edition of the Oilers will set several franchise records for ineptitude and futility is not.

With a 23-42-11 record, a 10-game losing streak on the go after a 2-0 loss to Los Angeles Tuesday and six games remaining, the 2010-11 Oilers will re-write several dubious entries in the team record book.

Unless the Oilers win two of their final six games, this team will end up with fewer wins than a team so devoid of depth a lumbering farmer from Irma named Gord Mark played 12 games on defence. Mark is the worst NHL player I have ever seen.

Unless the Oilers pick up three points from their last half-dozen games, they will finish with fewer points than a team that featured a blue line loaded with the likes of Greg Hawgood, Geoff Smith, Brian Glynn and Brad Werenka. Not the Cape Breton Oilers. The Edmonton Oilers.

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Of course those teams did not have the potential and could not sell hope the way this one can . . .

TAKING STOCK

Two years — or is it three? — into a rebuild that will see the team contend in another four to six years, according to the calculations of president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe, the Oilers have set, will set or are flirting with several franchise lows.

— The franchise low for wins in a full season is 25, set by the 1993-94 juggernaut that featured Mark ankling around his own end of the rink and a 33-goal rookie named Jason Arnott.

— The franchise low for points is 60, set a season earlier in 1992-93 by a team whose leading scorer, Petr Klima, managed 48 points with a goofy candy-cane tape job on the shaft of his stick.

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— The franchise low for goals in a season is 195, set in 2006-07. The Oilers will need to score 15 goals in their final six games to match that. They’ve scored 11 goals during the 10-game losing streak.

— With just two home games remaining, the Oilers will set a new standard for fewest home wins in a single season. They have 12. The record, set in 1995-96, is 15.

— The franchise record for consecutive losses in one season is 11, set in October and November of the 1993-94 season, the one in which Ted Green got bounced after a 3-18-3 start. They will tie that when they lose for the 17th straight time in Minnesota Thursday.

— By the way, leading scorer Jordan Eberle will need nine points in the last six games to match Klima’s whopping 48. Eberle will be lucky to match the 42 put up by Taylor Hall, Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky, all out for the season.

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WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR

Those entries aside, there’s back-to-back 30th-place finishes. Five straight years out of the playoffs is a franchise first. The old record for missing the post-season is four years, a feat done twice.

As for what could have been without all the injuries this season, where would the Oilers have finished had they not lost Ryan Whitney after 35 games and Hall, Hemsky, Gagner and Shawn Horcoff for big chunks of time? Twelfth in the Western Conference, maybe 13th?

As for what might be next season and beyond, are fans expecting Hall, Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi to build on their rookie seasons or are you allowing for the possibility that one or two of them will take a sophomore step back?

Will the Oilers get anybody with a 2011 lottery pick who can match the impact Hall made this season? Will they even land a prospect who can make the roster out of training camp?

What of Gagner and Andrew Cogliano? As good as it gets? Can Hemsky and Horcoff stay healthy? Will GM Steve Tambellini acquire veterans who will give the kids a fighting chance?

I can’t help but think of that 1992-93 team, and how a talented, young player and future captain named Doug Weight insisted better days were ahead. Then came the 1993-94 team and the 1994-95 team and . . .

There is no question Oilers fans are in for better days because, at least by the numbers, it can’t get much worse. The question is how long the pay off, if it actually comes, will take.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Wax Man Riley

    Um… yeah. The sheer Jenna Jameson-esque suckage of this team laid out as plainly as could be. Brownlee, how the hell can ownership continue to support this management team?

  • Wax Man Riley

    Hey Robin,

    I think that Hall proved all his naysayers wrong this season but “who can match the impact Hall made this season” I’d argue that he really didn’t make that big of an impact.

    The Oilers are still finishing last place.

    Hall IS an impact player but his impact THIS season may not have been any greater than Eberle, or Omark, or even Peckham (relatively, not talking about goal-scoring any stat column in particular).

    So if we draft Adam Larsson, or RNH, or whoever, and they might not even make the NHL this season, it shouldn’t be fair to think of it in terms of Hall or whomever else.

  • Horcsky

    Yup, the team needs some vets for next season. The problem is that our idea of acquiring veterans to shoulder the load includes the likes of Jim Vandermeer, Jason Strudwick, and Kurtis Foster.

    We need some veteran depth at forward dammit!

  • Wax Man Riley

    Robin,

    You know what scares me most about your article? The real possiblilty of the #1 overall pick not being an impact player or franchise type player like is and will be. Is the draft really that weak? Over the past few years there was major hype over Stamkos, Tavares, Hedman, Hall, Seguin,etc and their potential to be cornerstone players. But this year, that type of chatter is non-existent. You hear this name or that name, but is there really not one single player that is the front runner? Are we about to draft the next Legwand? Damn! What a waste!

  • Wax Man Riley

    “Two years — or is it three? — into a rebuild that will see the team contend in another four to six years, according to the calculations of president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe, the Oilers have set, will set or are flirting with several franchise lows.”

    Sorry, what?!? This team better not actually be shooting for Stanley Cup glory in 2017-18. The fans may be patient, but if we’re only half way through the bad times, this ‘rebuild’ is on the never-never plan.

    The fact of the matter is, in today’s NHL you are constantly dealing with free agency. If the horizon that Lowe and Tambellini are aiming for is in six more years, everyone on the team now, other than Hall, Eberle and Paajarvi will have reached unrestricted free agency before the Oilers are contenders. More players at UFA age are going to look for a place where they’ve got an excellent and immediate chance to drink from the Stanley Cup…not something looking way out in to the horizon.

    As it is, Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, and Tom Gilbert are now four years in to their NHL careers…they’ve never played a second of post-season hockey. You can only lose so long before you become like the Atlanta Thrashers or Florida Panthers…basically feeder systems for the rest of the league. Your players get comfortable and complacent about losing, although they find they’re not particularly happy. In the end, they either ask for a trade, or leave as free agents.

    I was upset to see the Oilers trade Penner for nothing that helps this team this year or (likely) next, because how long can we keep losing and not have that affect the fanbase and the players? Is there any chance if we’re in lottery pick position next season that Hemsky has any inkling of re-signing with the team? If #83 goes, is there any chance that Ryan Whitney’s going to stay the season after that as the Oilers lose their top scorer and likely miss the playoffs again? If Whitney goes too…who’s the next to demand a trade out of town?

    If Lowe is shooting for six years from now, he’s missing the mark completely. This team needs to at least contend for a playoff spot next year. They need to be winning a round or two within a couple, and if they aren’t contenders in three years, then things are going to start falling apart.

    In the article above, the 90s Oilers are mentioned…there always seemed to be so much hope around the team back then too, although maybe some of that was youthful enthusiasm on my part. Still, every time someone started to do well, they moved to another team, and the Oilers stayed mired where they were seemingly forever. And they only missed the playoffs four times…we’re already at five now…this team can’t afford to languish at the bottom any longer.

  • I think the thing is that you can expect the guys at the top of the draft to emerge eventually as very good players, very quickly. Tavares is flirting with thirty goals, Stamkos has emerged as a perennial Rocket Richard trophy candidate, Crosby and Ovechkin became 100+ point players immediately, Kane has been a high end winger since year one… these guys adapt quickly. Only Erik Johnson didn’t step in and dominate quickly, and that could be attributed to his position, in part. I think it’s reasonable to expect Hall to break at least thirty goals next year, and possibly do more than that. Eberle they don’t need to do much more than tread water next year, as they already have Hemsky ahead of him, but it would be nice if Gagner took a step forward; his even strength production went up, but they very much need powerplay production from him… if he adds that, 60-65 points is not unreasonable. Paajarvi can just continue to develop quietly deeper down the roster, until he’s ready to light it up. Same goes for Omark, though a few more goals would be nice.

    If Hall scores you thirty goals, if Eberle produces 20-30-50, Horcoff gives you two-way play and scores fifty points, and Gagner can break sixty points, then the team is at least approaching respectability.

    Don’t get me wrong, if this team starts the season with Omark, Peckham, Petry, Paajarvi and Hartikainen in prominent roles, they aren’t going to be a playoff team. But maybe there’s enough talent to start edging towards respectability. My hope and belief is modest; that the playoffs are still a reasonable possibility by January.

  • ClosetGM

    If its 5-6 years seriously Tambellini should be let go right now. I am not the guy who yells fire klowe or fire Tambi at the drop of a hat! But this is riduculous, there is no way that is should take 5 yrs to rebuild this club a lot of the pieces are here or were here. We need to start running this team properly. IE Ryan Jones sign him you idiots. Who cares if he turns out to be nothing. What have we got to lose? Remember Glencross? Lost him for a couple hundred thousand, bad choice. I can see the same thing happening to Jones. We are not at the cap( not even close)overspending to make this a better team now and in the future is a wise investment. It shows the players that you are committed to making the playoffs and to winning. Lets get our heads out of our asses and figure out a way to make this team competitive sooner rather than later. But what do i know i am just a stupid fan that shells out over ten thousand dollars a year to the Oilers with season seats jerseys oilers soothers for the baby, and lets not forget the amount of beer me and my friends drink at rexhall. That in itself probably pays for Jones’ raise. Get it together boys or guys like me might start spending their hard earned money elsewhere.

  • ClosetGM

    PS AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • OilFan

    Again another great article with one MAJOR flaw. Petr Kilma’s stick taping at the time was second to none. I remember everyone on our hockey team taping our stick like Klima after his ot winner in the playoffs

    • ClosetGM

      Gold.

      I’m not picking on big Gord. He worked his butt off to get to the NHL. I covered him and his younger brother, Len, as juniors and if you would have told me he would play one NHL game I would have bet anything against it.

    • ubermiguel

      Wow, can’t believe you remembered a 5 year old Gateway comic. Props. Unless you wrote it, then props for that excellent piece of comedy.

      Is it sad I looked at Gord Mark’s stats that year and thought “only -2, that’s not bad.”

  • ClosetGM

    I officially name OilersNation.com the most depressing place on earth. Not that it’s any of the writers fault of course…there just isn’t anything positive to write about these days.

  • OilFan

    I am 100% behind the rebuild. I am not even concerned about the playoffs next year. What does concern me is that we are trusting the rebuild to the same idiots who thought Nik Khabibulin would be the final piece on a competitive team. The current management team could very likely mess this up and then we enter into a constant state of rebuild ala NYI/ATL/FLA etc. Other than a couple of shrewd trades in the spring of 2006 and some salary dumps in 2010, we have no evidence to suggest that these are even good hockey men. We should all be worried about that.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Mr. Katz must be getting near the end of his rope on this. Have to believe accountability will soon replace the trust he has placed in Lowe and Tambellini. Stu MacGregor could probably do better on his own.

  • Well this article makes me want to go behind the woodshed and Ol’Yeller myself into infinity.

    Also, the irony of the promo pictures the Oilers took with the Big Three that is promoting a half built house in the background should not be lost on anyone.

  • Death Metal Nightmare

    yeehaw. im glad i stopped watching games 2 months ago. Tambo and Stu have about 3-4 more drafts to do at a HIGH rate of success to get them out of this heap of crap. its hilarious that last year we thought was going to be the lowest point of this “rebuild” era but they really are going to out do themselves. sad franchise. even better that they have no dominant players to choose from this year during The Famine.

  • DoubleTap

    Been following the Oil all my life.

    But if I don’t see improvement next year I will no longer be able to support this team (Go to games, buy merchandise, watch on tv) until there is a wholesale managment change. That includes getting rid of Lowe.

    During the 90’s I never even came close to giving up on the team.

    Sad times indeed.

  • Oilers4ever

    Totally agree with comments here. If the goal is 6 years then Katz should be embarassed with the mgmt here fire them all. That’s a passive, not aggressive approach and shows that ownership really doesn’t give a rat’s ass how the team does. PERIOD.

  • Wax Man Riley

    As I sit in front of my computer, pretending to work, I am trying to put into words, again, what I have said numerous times:

    The Oilers are not contending for the cup this year. That was never the plan.

    They won’t contend next year, and they won’t contend the year after, so all the fairweather fans better go cheer the Canucks.

    Last year exposed the mess left by the 2006 blow up after the exit of CFP. Lowe put together a team that went to the SCF. When was the last time Vancouver, Boston, San Jose, Dallas, Colorado, Long Island, Minnesota, Philly (before last year), and most teams in the league did that?

    There is only 1 Ken Holland. I wish he was an Oiler, but he isn’t, and even he wouldn’t be able to put a team together with the mess that was left in 2006 and the injuries that have destroyed this team in the last 2 years.

    I will see you all in 2016 when they are pushing for the finals for a second straight year, and I will see you in 2019 when they are still pushing for the finals. There can only be one Stanley Cup winner a year and in the next 10 years it will not be Oilers winning every year, or Detroit either.

    This team is being built for the long-term. Not the Burke way of now, now, now. Tambellini will probably not be here to collect a Stanley cup ring. That will be reserved for the “genius” that takes this team over and makes one trade at the deadline to solidify everything that Tambo and Lowe had done in the last 5 years.

    • John Chambers

      Here here. Thanks for the sanity.

      I don’t mind the Oilers being a bad team. I do mind them being a rotten-to-the-core team. I blame injuries for making us this pathetic, and take solace in the fact that we had won 7 of 10 games during a stretch in February.

      On a boring conference call today I did some napkin GM’ing. Deciding that we need more depth at C and D next year, and realizing that Ryan Nugent probably shouldn’t make the team even if we draft him #1 overall, I consulted NHLnumbers.com, tsn, and hockeydb to decide on which free agents would be good plugs to keep us a bad team in the process of developing, but not a painfully awful team that don’t belong in the league.

      My list of FA’s who will make us not-so-awful are:

      At C – either Fleischmann or Tim Connolly. Preferably a 1-year contract to play 2nd line C behind Gagner while we give the Nuge another year to develop.

      At D – I wanted to sign Bieksa, but decided that type of luxury we endulge in prior to the ’13-’14 season. Instead I thought there would be good value derived from Jonathan Ericsson from the Wings.

      Other guys we might want to look at are Jussi Jokinen for scoring depth (if we have a good reason to trade Hemsky), and Pascal Dupuis as a depth winger who can kill penalties.

      The whole objective next year should be to continue to have the kids get loads of ice time, develop into top NHL players, have a few more vets to increae the competition level, and field an awful goaltenting tandem to ensure we lose tons of games 6-4.

      Aside from the development of Hall and Eberle, this past year has been a total embarassment. Management would be crazy not to add a few affordable veteran re-enforcements, even if it means picking 7th overall on draft day 2012.

      • fuck off

        It would be nice if they signed a couple veterans who can play D and a centre who can win a draw for the love of Pete – short term 2 yr deals even if means a bit of an overpay to make it happen. If losing, drafting and developing is the plan – and the present *strength* is at forward – I letting them play without a constant fire drill in their own end will help them immensely. You can do that and still draft in the top 10 in 2012.

  • Dan the Man

    They got nothing left to sell to me this summer. I’ve seen enough of this city losing. It’s embarssing to say i’m from Edmonton when talking hockey to someone from another hockey city. Hype. I for one will not be fooled this time. I am not a season ticket holder, but I spent over $3,000 on tickets to watch garbage this year. I will not do that again.

    I don’t believe Tambilini is the right person for the managing job. You have to be a vulture to do that job, and I dont see him as one. Also when they signed Renny and Quinn 2 years ago I just could not figure out why. Quinn has never really won anything in the NHl, and Renny has had 2 head coaching jobs, and been fired both times. Can this organization for once…JUST ONCE stop hiring losers.

    In goal we have a washed up has been ever since he’s signed here. And a very good back-up, and I do mean a backup(Dubnyk). So that leaves nobody in goal. Roloson would have been the choice of most people in this town, and he would have provided some form of security in net. But instead they let him walk.

    Gilbert is not anywhere near a #1 defenceman. Not even close. And he will never be any better on a team that needs grit all around.
    Smid and Peckham are at best 5-6 defencemen.
    Whitney seems to be a keeper, even though I don’t like his lack of intensity.

    Cogliano is “what you see is what you get” and what you get is not what you want. Let him go.

    Hemsky..bless his brittle bones should have been shoped at the deadline. He is to small and not tough enough. Way to many small weak players on this bunch of shambles. Last time i seen a big truck hit a pickup…the pickup got hurt. Very few small players can play big. Flurry and St. Louis are about the only ones that come to mind that really helped their teams in their prime. And when the going got tough, they were tough enough to take it. St. Louis still is.

    So got ahead and take Nuggent-Hopkins, another fancy toy for real men to beat around.

    Exciting last place hockey? Not for me. I like winners.

    You fan base will dwindle, unless people really love being losers. I think most have had it with your garbage.

    If players actually had to earn their paycheques, do you think we’d be last place for two seasons in a row?

    Sell your crap to someonelse this summer. You are a bunch of losers. And you make the city look the same. Have shame. Lots of it. You deserve it.

  • Wax Man Riley

    @ JB

    This is a good point, because you never know. Just a short history of how this team was built and went to the SCF gives me confidence.

    I haven’t seen the Isles, Thrashers, Panthers get even close. (well, the Panthers at the beginning of the trap era…but that was long ago).

    • Wax Man Riley

      I think I’d be more enthusiastic about this process if the outcome were guaranteed, but perpetual losing and high draft picks tends to lead to more of the same. That and the fairly evident lack of progress this year makes me a little bit skeptical. Pitt/Chi/Wsh were lucky enough to draft legitimate franchise types in Crosby/Toews/Ovie. Hope the Oilers lucked out with Hall the same way.

  • Wax Man Riley

    My point is more to illustrate how hard it is to build a winning team. Not all teams can be winners all the time. There will always be Detroits and there will always be Long Islands, and the rest will be somewhere in between.

    Chicago was a bottom feeder that won last year. San Jose/Ottawa has been a top-tier team that just can’t get there no matter how many points they get in the regular season.

  • stlpete

    Here is a thought…
    Do you think that Katz hates Northlands so much that he doesn’t even want to hit the postseason until the team is in his new building?

    • Gilmore Tuttle

      I am sure his hatred would be overcome with the $1 million plus profit he would get for each home playoff game. According to the presentations to council during the arena debate Northlands loses about $20k each game due to the costs related to utilities, staff, police, etc. while Katz gets all the revenues. If he really hated them, he would want to make the team make the max run like 2006 to really cost them money.

      I see the Oilers signed Roy to a three year deal. Soon the brain trust will sign that Swedish guy and they will have a four-headed goalie monster (5 if they keep Gerber). Sounds like one of those cheesy Sinbad/Clash of the Titans movies.

  • Slapshot

    Not sure how we can expect to win with the injuries. The first three lines look like this:

    First line – AHL call up- AHL call up – Rookie
    Second line – Rookie – Cogs – AHL call up
    Third line – Jones – AHL call up – AHL call up

    C’on, this isn’t Tambo’s fault

  • stlpete

    Why is the Edmonton sports media so soft on the Oiler’s management and coaching? With a dismal track record like the Oilers have had, anywhere else in the NHL, management would have been turfed long ago. Renney seems like a decent guy and says the right things but his team is notorius for its slow starts and our power play and face-off capabilities are inept. Can’t good coaching improve both of these areas? Obviously Pat Quinn was a poor choice and it appears Renney may be as well. In selecting these guys we passed over the likes of Tippett and Laviolette who were both available at the time. It’s embarassing that the local media are so cowed that they won’t take on the Oilers and call for the necessary changes.

  • stlpete

    Well I think that if they do keep loosing and getting good drafts that none of it will matter anyway because even the good players will not want to stay. They will be looking for a way out and that would keep the team in the same situation they are in now. Winning is a must for any player to stay because lets face it that is what they are here for to go after the Cup and if they don’t believe they have a shot here they will go somewhere else and search for it. Hossa is a good example of that. And to be honest, I can’t blame a player for thinking that way, I’d do what ever it takes to go after the cup as well.

  • Let's Rebuild

    The main reason we will not be like Florida, Islanders or Atlanta with the perpetual rebuild is those teams will not spend to the cap. Katz will! End of story. When the time come to acquire high price free agents, to take us to the next level, we will pay the $$ to acquire them. Both Chicago and Pittsburg paid for part of their cups via free agency. The perpetual rebuilding teams will not.

    I’d like to think Kovelchuk would have stayed in Atlanta if they went out and bought a top end player for him to play with. However, they did not and so he left.

    I have trust that if in a few years we need to spend the money we will.

    (I even had my wife embroider a throw pillow with the saying “Oiler’s Rebuild – They’ll spend, if they have to”)