The Push

At this point, it seems all but certain that the 2013-14 season is done for the Oilers. The team is in a hole so deep in a conference so good that clawing back into a playoff spot is going to be an extremely difficult proposition. Given that, does it make sense to start the tank job and go for the best available pick?

Not on your life.


Rebuild has gotten to be an ugly word in Edmonton, but the idea is sound. The trouble is that the Oilers have only been able to execute one part of it.


"Withdrawal or backward motion" pretty much sums up the Edmonton Oilers post-Pronger. But that’s only half the battle.

Again from

Pick a definition; that’s the plan now. The Oilers need to construct a better NHL team. They need to establish, increase and/or strengthen their ability to compete with other clubs. They need to mold or form young players into championship-calibre professionals. And on and on it goes.

The Edmonton Oilers are masters of “re-.” They’ve got “re-“ down cold. It’s the whole “build” part of the word that was always going to be much, much more difficult and seems to have the organization flummoxed.

Tossing The Season

That’s why it’s important that general manager Craig MacTavish not toss his hands in the air and say ‘forget it, we’ll move the vets at the deadline and take the pick.’ That portion of the rebuild needs to be over. That’s not to say that pending free agents that aren’t in the plans can’t be let go at the deadline – just that the focus has to be on building the team for next year.

Draft picks are a long-term investment that, if they pay off at all, pay off years down the road. This isn’t a team that needs more draft picks. This isn’t a team that needs the highest possible first overall pick this summer.

The lone focus here, with this season already all but over, has to be on making the playoffs next season – and the best way to do that is to do everything possible to make and keep the team competitive this season. Even if that means picking 10th overall rather than in the top-five. 

  • why do people come on here and make ridiculous trade suggestions, as if they believe that every other team in the league will go out of their way to make Edmonton better. Furthermore…what the hell has Tyler Myers accomplished since his rookie season? Honestly. Think about these things before you post them.

  • Old School G

    Since Buffalo’s making changes MacT should be calling about Foligno, Ott, and Tallinder, just a few guys that would address team needs right now.

    Maybe whoever the Sabres name as GM will forget all about the Vanek offer sheet and deal with us? Both teams badly need to make some changes, both fan bases would welcome it if the deal was fair I’m sure.

  • Serious Gord


    Fedun’s demotion in favour of Potter would also be consistent with Katz ordering management to reduce payroll. Fedun is oon a two way contract. Potter is on a one way NHL deal.

    Seven hundred grand savings is nothing to sneeze at when you are talking about your own money.

    Another year with no playoff revenue, I wouldn’t blame Katz for cutting the budget. Spending to the cap sure didn’t bring results.

    Although choosing Smid to dump salary is still perplexing to me. Terrible trade.

    • Alsker

      I’m with you, money can’t buy love or a winning hockey team. As for Smid if there would have been another deal in place where $ needed to be shed, whatever. With MacT stating its for cap help next year than he’s either an idiot or Smid crossed the line on something. With all our matinees so far this season its fitting that this is such a soap opera.

      • Thumby

        When does the Oiler management ever do anything to help the Oilers? With Kevin Lowe as pres, the Oilers have definitely competed for the No. 1 pick. This new version of last yr., is worse!! With Lowe as pres., the Oilers will continue to struggle, with this team & it’s so called “stars”. Why the Oilers are at the max with the salary cap & have got this shi##y team, stuggests to me that this team is not run properly & Lowe is leader of this sinking ship!!

  • G Money

    When you spend only 8% of budget on top two defence when $10% is minimum , and 5% on goaltending when 6% is minimum – your backend sucks slough water like our Oilers do . Can hardly expect forwards to make up for all of that over site , now can we . We need to trade for backend pronto , not other forwards which will do little to fix our major problems on back end . Results show exactly that, as goals against keep mounting inordinately.

  • G Money


    I’d also like to point out that the Oilers have gotten worse – not better – since Tambellini left. The decisions made under MacTavish have made this team worse, as the record indicates.

    How exactly is that Tambellini’s fault?

    Tambellini is merely a convenient scapegoat for you.

    I guarantee when Lowe & co. eventually leave (and it will happen eventually if they keep losing) you’ll be harping on how it was Lowe’s fault all along.

  • Citizen David

    i’m here for 2 things:

    1. complain about Lowe all we want, until Katz understands culpability and/or cares about its definition, he goes nowhere.

    2. what about Bob? any other home building projects?

  • Devolution

    I really believe this team has the talent, and in fact, coaching to win. They need to play out the season, learn to win and also learn not to lose.

    I have never played a high level of hockey, but surely a team needs some games to gel with each other and a new system. This season is gone anyway; give them a chance to put it together with no drama hanging over them.

  • Big Cap

    In general I agree they should not try and tank this year, but since they are losing so badly it doesn’t really matter. What they shouldn’t do is give away that 1st round pick for a short term fix on a lost season.

    I took a look at how Chicago, Vancouver, Boston, Detroit, San Jose and Pittsburgh spend their cap dollars. What macT needs to do is start addressing gaps. based on those six teams, an ideal budget would look something like this:

    Percent $M
    1st 25.0% 17.5
    2nd 17.0% 11.9
    3rd 9.0% 6.3
    4th 4.0% 2.8

    1st 14.9% 10.4
    2nd 9.6% 6.7
    3rd 5.3% 3.7

    Starter 7.7% 5.4
    Back up 1.9% 1.3

    Extra roster 2.9% 2.0 (players 21 to 23)
    Available 3.0% 2.0 (deadline deals)

    Total 100% $70.0 (estimated for next yr)

    One quick look at how much the Oilers are spending on their 3rd line and their bottom pairing show some major issues. Underspending on the top pairing also stands out.

    If the Oilers are going to trade Hemsky, it should be for a two-way 3rd line winger on a value contract that extends into next season or beyond. When you look at the bigger picture, that’s probably better for the Oilers than retaining Hemsky and being forced to underspend elsewhere.

    It means spending $3.5M on Nick Schultz is crazy. It means Ference contract is going to look horrible in a year or two when he is on the third pairing.

    It means MacT should be looking to trade one of Eberle, Yakupov, or Gagner as the centrepiece for a top pairing defender.

    Tanking is not the right choice. Fixing how they manage their cap space is what they should focus on.

    Too bad I have no faith in MacT or Howson to fox the problem.

  • Thumby

    We may want to be past “rebuild” and it may be silly to be in a “rebuild” at this point in time, but the Oilers just traded a legit NHL D for prospects with no one to immediately fill his shoes… that’s a rebuild and we’re still in the middle of it.

  • Rob...

    So pathetic. I tuned in to Stauffer this afternoon for the first time in ages. He states in the first segment that Arcobello says he still works on a shift by shift basis. Sounds great, right? Except that in the second segment Stauffer plays the actual interview and yet again he fed Arcobello the answer and got him to parrot it back to him. Shame on you Bob. Could you possibly show more disrespect to your interviewees? Let them answer the flippin questions on their own.

  • Big Cap

    I’m so tired of all the negative articles and the “seasons over” comments. Has anyone read the secret. Negative begets negative that’s why this thing with yak is front and center, the teams record the booing at games all of it is killing this teams mojo. They asked smid what’s wrong with the team yesterday and him not being an oiler he could of said anything you know what he said? Classy guy says “I have no idea” and he is right. What’s their record when the outshoot opponents? Or what’s there record when they score 4 or more goals? The answers to these questions don’t make sense. Everyone needs to back off the amount of pressure the fans/media is creating on these players is ridiculous. Eakins said the other day I’m seeing vets make mistakes they normally wouldn’t. That’s pressure. They couldn’t wait to go on the road last week cuz the fans were howling for blood. Yes they sucked that det game and deserved it but look at the record. As fans do we want to see the record improve or turn into the same haters that all us fans have been beating back with a stick over the years. How many times have you heard a van fan or any fan say the oilers suck over the years? Now instead of defending the team what we now agree? This is the worst I have seen the oilers record but the best hockey numbers wise I have seen them produce over some years. It’s not entirely a personnel thing. It is bad stinkin luck that has accumulated over years and when you come out of such a rotten time sometimes the bad luck doesn’t want to let go it wants to drag u back down. Us supporting our time to the fullest and them winning will change things for good but the more negativity we add to this fire the more harder it’s gonna burn. Let’s stay positive people they still have a slim chance and what a story that would be if they came sliding in at 8th when the seasons done. Let’s cheer for a 50-20-12 finish…’s still possible

      • Thumby

        @Mike you have got to be kidding me. Either you are high or really have no concept of how professional sports or any business for that matter works. I could care less that these guys feel bad or have “pressure” and we are so negative and they couldn’t take the booos from the crowd. You and the Oilers can both grow a pair. They are professional hockey players making millions and millions per year. You get paid to perform and it’s not a popularity contest.

        By the way @Mike, in the real world, if you don’t perform you get fired. Ou boss doesn’t care if your feelings get hurt when you don’t meet deadlines and reach quotas. Results and bottom lines is what the real world asks for.

        What a joke!!!

  • Thumby

    So I guess we have now two types of fans : Tier I, those that pay season ticket prices and are now officially watching a team tanking in November and Tier II ,those that can stay home and can turn this circus off their TV while not giving these clowns the satisfaction to take our money. I’ll take fan tier II please.