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.

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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.

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

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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.

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— 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.

— 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?

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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.


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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”)

  • ubermiguel

    I dont know how any fan could be encouraged by the way oilers have played. The oilers were terrible before all their injuries. Whats scary is were depending on horcoff to be valuable piece and he is just an average hockey player making big money. I dont know how you could be a fan of the guy he ruins just about every play hes involved in. He might be a leader in te dressing room but he isnt a leader on the ice. Another thing that scares me is when you listen to 1260 they mention that tom gilbert will probably be in the number one pairing next year, and then you her that foster will be back and if thats case we will be last next year again. They should just move the team to quebec if thats the case.

  • stlpete

    I love hall and eberle but i kind of feel bad for them theirs no supporting cast what so ever. I wonder how good hall would be with boston, i bet you he would score 35 goals and be rookie of the year. I also think hall wouldnt have to even think about fighting playing for boston. I dont even know if crosby could bring the oilers to respectability and thats sad

  • Bucknuck

    This team better be at least in the running for a playoff spot next season. Selling at the deadline is fine this year, but if they do it next year (trading a real player for futures) I will be pissed right off.

    It’s time now, Tambo. hear me? Start plugging the damn holes. Aiming for last place for three years is not acceptable, even if your fans are the best in the NHL.

    • Sorensenator

      You will be sadly disapointed, the Oilers do not expect to be in the playoffs anytime soon.

      Our biggest holes on the team are at center and top 4 defensemen.

      Larsson will be a good minute eater and defender, but I question his overall ability to truly be a number 1 or 2 pick.

      Good all-around defensemen can be aquired in later rounds – it is a bit of a gamble to draft one that high.

      Colten Teubert is expected to a have a decent shot at making the team next year, as he may develope nicely into a top 4 D-man with size and grit.

      I wouldn’t mind a Brad Richards type player to fill the BIGGEST hole on this team at center. The only problem is, with emphasis on “only” is his lack of size. We are talking about, of course, Ryan Nugent Hopkins.

      You don’t have to be 6’3 220 to be an effective center as there are plenty of examples around the league. RNH is 6’0 right now, but the butter is spread thin – only 165lbs of it.

      He should be another 20 – 25 lbs heavier when it’s all said and done which would put him at the 185-190 mark.

      Still not that big for a center, I know, however his elusivness and phenomenal skating ability should make up for it. Patrick Kane and Tyler Ennis are two players that lack size but compensate with vision, speed, and desire.

      Note: Before I get trolled, I am not directly comparing RNH to Patrick Kane, only in a physical sense.

      • O.C.

        watched tsn when they covered the top ten picks, apparently Nugent Hopkins was comapared to Kane in terms of his balance and lower body strength. The scout on the show said it’s not a big an issue as everybody is making it that Hopkins is only 165. I think that if the Oilers are thinking about what they don’t have Nugent Hopkins fits the bill. The team already has an up and coming two way center in Lander and a potential 2nd line center in Pitlick. What this team needs is an elite offensive centerman.
        Also if he does round out to 6’1 190 thats okay in terms of size. Brad Richards is only that size, Plekanec/Datysuk/Zetterberg/Sedin are only around 5’10-6’1 and 180-190. Size is sometimes overrated, talent and skill are not.

    • I don’t get your “except” reference. You’re making my point.

      It was five years until that team turned into the 1997 playoff team. Apply the same time frame to this team, which has already missed the playoffs for five straight years.

      People are saying they’re onside with the rebuild, yet a good number of those same people are saying, “I better see some progress” or “This team better at least contend for a playoff spot next year.”

      Marked progress and contending for a playoff spot could take two or three more years, maybe four or five.

      • John Chambers

        Robin, what do you think is a reasonable timeframe for the Oil to seriously compete for a playoff spot? Ie, what season should Oiler fans demand to be back in the dance?

        I’ll all for tanking it two more years, with an emphasis on developing key players. Once the ’12-’13 season ends though, the team has to make some moves in a hurry and commit to being a good team, converse to how they’re currently committing to be a poorly-performing team.

        • Reasonable? Way too many variables to say.

          Looking at the youth, what were people projecting for Gagner and Cogliano for their second and third seasons after the rookie years they had? Where are they now after four seasons? What are people projecting for Hall, Eberle and Paajarvi next season and the season after based on what they saw this year? Where will they actually be two years from now?

          You’ve already got some people hailing Stu MacGregor as a genius and pencilling in the likes of Pitlick and Marincin and Lander and Hamilton and Martindale for jobs in the next year or two. Maybe yes. Maybe no. Have we really seen enough of these players for long enough to project accurately?

          Looking at the veterans, will Ales Hemsky be here two years from now? How effective will Horcoff be? What about Whitney’s feet/ankles? Is Tom Gilbert a factor in 2012-13? Who will be the goaltender?
          As for free agents and players not in the system now, how confident are you Tambellini will add the necessary pieces to complement the core players and put together the right mix?

          So, you tell me what the timeline is.

    • John Chambers

      Nice post. I remember that year … it was something like the worst year in Oilers history a the midpoint of the season.

      I applaud Sather for having faith in the team and making some key moves that turned the thing around. Arnott for Guerin, and a pile of sh!t for Roman Hamrlik. The Oil ended up something like the 3rd best team in the league over the 2nd half of the season.

      Like Alex Anthropolous or Sather, I’d like to see Tambo step up and make some organization-transforming trades over the next year. That Penner deal was awfully uninspiring.

      • Guerin was a good Oiler and he definitely played a key role in making the team better. Arnott didn’t do so badly after being run off either, with that Cup winner in NJ.

        FYI, from the time Guerin arrived in Edmonton through the rest of his stops in the NHL, he’s had 642 regular season points (161 of those here).

        From the time Arnott went to NJ in the Guerin trade through the rest of his stops, he’s had 663 points.

        • John Chambers

          Stats? Who are you, Willis?

          Both Arnott and Guerin thrived in a different environment. That happens with people in sports, business, relationships, etc.

          I don’t think it’s fair for us to go into the next 3 seasons with the same blueprint. We might end up trading Paajarvi and Cogliano and watching them have successful NHL careers elsewhere, while still having brought back needed assets who contribute to the evolution of the Edmonton Oilers.

          Jason Arnott was going nowhere here. I think the key thing is that we didn’t trade him for Colten Teubert and a 1st.

  • Slapshot

    I hate to say it, but as long as the season seat holders (myself included) keep buying tickets, and selling out the place, there is no urgency on the organization to put a better product on the ice.They have finished 30th two years in a row and missed the playoffs 5 years straight and they have a waiting list for tickets,I still can’t figure this out.Katz is laughing all the way to the bank $$$$.

  • Reality Check to the head

    If I had Girlfriends like that, I would have put a bag on my head as well. Kidding of course. This going to be a long ride and hopefully the Oilers are able to reach their potential.

  • Mitch

    @Brownlee

    The Oilers need another top 3 pick next year as well, this is how you build strong franchises in todays NHL and being in a cold climate. The lottery picks must be HOME RUNS. It’s hard to stomach at times, the problem with the current roster is that there’s to much of the same player. The future is bright but managment must learn not to over value players in a salary cap world. I still feel that there’s 5 to 6 roster players that must be moved out because they don’t provide enough consisant jam to provide a long term winning product. Size is also a major issue, the game today is one in the corners and infront of the net. I see coaching issues, how hard is it to shoot the puck? Really pissing me off that we get out shoot game after game. 2012-13 the oilers should be well on there way to 7-10 good years of winning.

  • Mitch

    The Oilers are going to get Larsson or Nugent-Hopkins in June. From all I have read, or heard, both will be NHL ready next year. Either one fills a positional need and because of that, one of them will most likely make the team better.

    Projecting next year based on the current roster of career minor-leaguers, in-over-their-heads rookies, and miscast veterans doesn’t make sense to me.

    Top 5 pick next year, possilbyh, but as long as the Oilers don’t gas this years picks and the next, I can’t see them as bottom-feeders beyond next season.

  • Mitch

    @Brownlee

    The Oilers need another top 3 pick next year as well, this is how you build strong franchises in todays NHL and being in a cold climate. The lottery picks must be HOME RUNS. It’s hard to stomach at times, the problem with the current roster is that there’s to much of the same player. The future is bright but managment must learn not to over value players in a salary cap world. I still feel that there’s 5 to 6 roster players that must be moved out because they don’t provide enough consisant jam to provide a long term winning product. Size is also a major issue, the game today is one in the corners and infront of the net. I see coaching issues, how hard is it to shoot the puck? Really pissing me off that we get out shoot game after game. 2012-13 the oilers should be well on there way to 7-10 good years of winning.

  • The Farmer

    I am a season ticket holder, and am totally on board with as long of a rebuild as necessary as long as they get it right.

    The only thing I dont understand is with all the short term cap space, why cant we get some short term veteran support. What does it matter if you have to overpay to get a good face off guy to come play for two years until the “kids” ELC’s are burned up. Or a top four D man. Even if it is Edmonton, money talks, and we have piles of cap space to bring in some quality mentors to the young guys that could pay off huge down the road. Just dont sign anybody long term and we wont get caught in the same problem we had last year.

  • Dan the Man

    The only thing that got me through last year was thinking “there is no way things can get any worse”. Somehow they did but yet somehow it doesn’t feel worse.

    Kinda like the first time you get really drunk and bring home an ugly chick from the bar and you think you couldn’t possibly do any worse but then you get even drunker next time and the girl gets even uglier but it still doesn’t feel nearly as bad as the first time.

  • Dan the Man

    Just read via Bob McKenzie tweet that Aaron Ekblad, a 15 year old, 6’3″ 200 lb D-man has been granted early admission into the OHL by Hockey Canada.

    Maybe the Oilers should continue to suck for a few more years….

  • Dan the Man

    Mr. Brownlee please man, Gordie Mark is/was a great guy and very entertaining at the AHL level.

    I’m glad Gordie made a comeback and gave us a few years of great stand up hockey in Cape Breton.

    As for the worst ever, nothing tops Peter Soberlak and his band.

    Some guys get no praise 🙁

  • dubbs44

    Management has a vision that has taken them how long to evaluate ? Each year we continue to get worse instead of better . How much longer can we continue on this course before inevitably we can’t help but get better than previous year one year in the future ? Will it be enough to make us even a top 9 contender ? When has Tams ever shown that capacity as a GM ? So far they have shown little expertise in evaluating talent , developing talent ; and even worse in obtaining valuable talent and holding onto it .

    By most standards one would have to grade a 5 year excuses laiden bottom feeder as -LOSERS ! If Oilers had the ability to add valuable talent to team outside of draft i’m sure they would have done so by now ? Sure Tams can do a better job , i don’t see how he can continue to make it any worse than he has already – i hope,anyways .

    I suspect by letting Penner go they tried to fill more than just one glaring void with that trade . A defenceman of possible note in Teubert , and an additional defenceman like Larsson and or Musil in upcoming draft . If it be Musil and not Larsson then i’d expect our first choice will be Landeskop, to replace Penner on wing or a centerman like Coutourier (size being a big factor there) or chance it on RNHopkins . The Penner trade might end up being a major step forward if that is their thinking . Still, it could also be a bust knowing our luck . I’d feel much more optimistic with a new managerial team heading up a rebuild .

  • Wax Man Riley

    I have to think that if we went for it and bought free agents and traded picks to get over-hyped free agents then the Oilers would be Leafs-West.

    That is what it sounds like a lot of posters here want:

    “Come on Tambo! Make a big move. Trade some future to get better now and barely compete for 8th like the Flames. Trade 2 first round picks for a big name. Lets start trying to limp in! We want to be the Leafs!”

    No GM….I reapeat, NO GM, not even you NHL ’11 GMs would be able to build a winner from 800 man games lost to injury in 2 years. Having your best players out hurts a team. Having a team that is made up of more than half of AHL call-ups or NHL rookies due to injuries is not a formula for a Stanley Cup. Take 8 starters out of Detroit and tell me how good they are.

  • Wax Man Riley

    Some here talk as though the Oilers are the only team that sustains major and minor injuries and have to use AHL talent . I’d prefer a team , as most would , just missing the playoffs over the years , over a deadlast team any day of the week . Besides we are not the Leafs , we are far worse off . We get over hyped about our 3oth place roster . Fastoil is at least honest and accurate in his assessment . There are other clubs that have had as many injuries as Oilers over the last few years and bigger stars than we have , and yet i don’t see them sitting deadlast hoping to become a contender 5-6 years down the road .

    • Wax Man Riley

      Oops… Double post.

      Edit: Ok, I’ll put something a little more productive. Reddox works hard but has zero finish. Gotta love his heart, but he should stay on the 4th line and the PK.

    • Wax Man Riley

      I completely agree. Vancouver has had a ton of injuries this year too, and they are in first place. But also, they are about 5 years ahead of where the Oilers are now. If 4 years ago they had sustained this many injuries, they would not have been 49-26-0-7.

      Take Daniel Sedin, Markus Naslund, Sami Salo (of course), Mattias Ohlund, Kevin Bieksa, Taylor Pyatt and Alexander Burrows out of the lineup for extended periods.

      Replace them with Nathan Smith, Nathan McIver, Lee Goren, Patrick Coulomb, Brad Moran, Jesse Schultz and Luc Bourdon for extended periods and tell me how well that team finishes.