The Edmonton Oilers have procured boatloads of elite level young talent. That requires a loyal fanbase, an owner willing to buy in (or in this case suggest) on a rebuild, an effective scouting group and time. To build a winner, there are a few other elements.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL, PATIENCE
"More recently, the Red Wings have been able to build around good players–not only good players, but great players. They did a good job drafting other guys, now they can be patient with their other players. Kenny (Holland) can argue that it’s a strategy, I think it is more a product of how deep they are. I think more often than not, you succeed by leaving your guys–like a fine wine–to let them play in the minors. I remember being so envious of Kenny over, say the last three to five years. He was so matter of fact about what was going to happen to his team next year and the year after. ‘We have this guy, he’s going to fit in here.’ It was all going to fall into place because he knew he had Datsyuk signed. He knew he had Zetterberg signed. He had Lidstrom signed for two more years. With those guys, you can win."
-KEVIN LOWE, Behind the Moves
I believe there is a lot of the Oilers current roadmap in that quote. The signings of Hall and Eberle–perhaps imminent based on credible sources like Ryan Rishaug–would represent the first two of four ‘franchise’ contracts to be negotiated during the last days of the rebuild. Get those gentlemen signed to reasonable, long term deals and it sets the outer marker for Nuge, Nail and the rest.
The other item–and this may partly explain the inertia displayed by the Oilers after noontime July 1–is that the club may finally be willing to ‘roll their own’ role players via the AHL. Although we’ve been talking about a guy like Teemu Hartikainen for a long time now, he is still not a waiver worry this fall! The Oilers could send him down and have him play in OKC for another season. That’s what Detroit would do, difference being it is going to be very difficult to argue that Hartikainen is outside the 12 best forwards on the team–Magnus Paajarvi too for that matter.
THE RIGHT MEN IN THE RIGHT JOB
Detroit always seems to have the right man in the right spot. Although there are some short term missteps (Dave Lewis as head coach), they are quickly fixed in a precise manner and things roll along as usual. The Oilers have been doing some fine addition in this area over the years, with (imo) Stu MacGregor and Todd Nelson clearly quality in their roles.
The jury is out on the front office trio of Tambellini, Lowe and MacTavish but in fairness the decisions made so far–since the owner suggested rebuild Feb 2010–have had more to do with the draft table than signings and trades. I’d count management victories over the last 5 years as the hiring of Stu MacGregor in his current role, retaining Ales Hemsky, bringing back Ryan Smyth, improving the farm system and winning the Justin Schultz sweepstakes. Your mileage may vary.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
We’ve been in a black and white, two channel world for several years now but the foundation seems solid, the leaks are slowing being fixed and the improvements up front give massive curb appeal.
Upate: word from Bob McKenzie’s twitter is that the Oilers and Taylor Hall have concluded negotiations on a 7-year, $42M contract. MUSIC!