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