ONLY 61 MORE TO GO!

The Oilers lost again last night, to San Jose, in a game that saw the home side play well once the game was no longer in the balance. There are 61 nights just like that one straight ahead, and how the Oilers use them is going to set the stage for the 2014-15 season–which will hopefully be the first playoff season since 2005-06.

WHAT CAN THEY GET OUT OF THE SEASON?

The Oilers (according to MacT) have ‘8 or 9’ pieces to the puzzle already in the fold, and based on his own past the names I’d chose for those 9 are Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Yakupov, Gagner, Perron, Petry, Justin Schultz and Darnell Nurse. You can probably add Oscar Klefbom to that list, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

AUDITIONS

The Oilers have Ilya Bryzgalov in Oklahoma City, and he’ll no doubt get a long look in the NHL when he’s ready. Devan Dubnyk is playing a stronger game now, and it’s possible the big man will play well enough to earn a contract with the club next season (although it’s a long shot).

On defense, Oscar Klefbom was called up yesterday and Taylor Fedun has already made his NHL debut. Brandon Davidson, Martin Marincin and others are waiting in the wings and several of the Barons blue could see playing time during this lost season.

The acquisition of Roman Horak gives the Oilers another 4line option and the former Flame actually has a solid resume. Other players who may be recalled include Linus Omark and Anton Lander (who have already played this season) as well as Tyler Pitlick (who finally made it to the NHL only to be injured).

TRADES

To borrow a phrase from this man, you won’t have Ales Hemsky to kick around anymore! The chances of the Oilers signing the Czech winger have been reduced because of the lack of success this season. All free agent veterans are in danger of being traded any time now, and those who do stay are very unlikely to be re-signed. Nick Schultz, Ryan Jones, at this point even Ryan Smyth might be a deadline rental. We’re going to see a lot more roster turnover (Edmonton has already employed 33 players and that number is going to climb).

LEARNING CURVE

The GM is going to have to learn to under promise and over deliver, and the coach is going to have to learn about line matching and finding a useful 4th line he’s willing to play. In hindsight, a rookie coach was probably not a wise decision for this group, but the club has turned over the position so often there must be great hesitancy to replace him.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The Oilers will turn north soon or these men are going to end up in the infirmary. In a very real way, tonight’s game is important to this 4-15-2 hockey club. Win, and there is something to build on. Lose, and people begin to talk about historically bad hockey teams.

I sincerely believe this team is much better than they’ve shown, but they have to prove it. Tonight.

  • Zarny

    Despite their face plant to start the season nothing has really changed for the Oilers.

    They weren’t winning the Cup this year. The core players are 2-4 years from their prime. That’s what they’re building to.

    This year was about answering questions and no, Dubnyk isn’t good enough. The pressure was on and he cracked like an egg.

    A top pairing D, better balance in the top 6 F, a deal for Hemsky, a 3rd line beyond Gordon and an entire 4th line were all needed 21 games ago. Truly an indictment of Tambo’s tenure.

    The bold moves won’t be easy but a 3rd and 4th line should be. A top 10 D is highly unlikely but start going down the list. MacT is right the Oilers don’t need another 18 yr old lottery pick in the dressing room.

    • The Oilers were supposed to challenge for a playoff spot this year, or come damn close to it. MacTavish’s words.

      Despite what you say about winning the cup, there has to be signs of progression! This is clearly regression….huge difference.

      Dubnyk wasn’t even supposed to start this year, MacTavish went Whale hunting again! got burned everywhere he went! In fact MacTavish, offered more for Schneider then NJ but still lost out on him!!

      MacTavish knew Dubnyk wasn’t a legit starter from the beginning.

      MacTavish Boldly stated that Hemsky & Horcoff were done as Oilers! Since he opened his pie hole and every GM in the NHL new Hemsky was available teams low balled Mac-T to a point that Hemsky became untradeable!

      MacTavish had the draft, all summer, and 21 games into the season to find, correct, trade and sign said players, instead he tried it on the cheap and used AHL& KHL players as 3-4th liners & D-men.

      Then he signed Gagner to a near impossible to trade contract and gave him a retarded NTC something Tambellini had the brains never to do!

      Gave away Smid for a prospect…The same kind of prospect the COULD have drafted this summer for free!!!!! He all but gave Smid away for FREE!

      Tambellini was no gem but MacTavish is slowly proving his equal in many respects

      • Zarny

        I don’t necessarily disagree but you can’t judge MacT either way 21 games into a season. I’m sure he regrets the bold moves comment. It’s not that easy. Especially in the NHL’s 29th most popular destination.

        Hard to blame him for Van accepting less for Schneider. He had a bromance with Holmgren at the draft. He appears to have fleeced StL for Perron. Ference, Gordon and Belov were good additions. Some hits and misses.

        His comments about Horcoff and Hemsky were unnecessary but irrelevant. Teams knew both were available. It doesn’t matter whether they find out on TSN or a phone call when Mac asks “hey what do you got for Hemmer?” With the cap dropping Hemsky was always going to be traded at the deadline.

        Gagner’s contract was a good compromise. $4.8M for 3 years could easily be traded. The NMC doesn’t kick in until next year which gives MacT all year to evaluate and/or shop Gagner around and it only lasts 2 years. Tambo would have likely signed him for 7.

        The Smid trade was a salary dump. Unfortunate because I like Smid but not a big loss. He wasn’t playing well.

  • Hauk15

    Game Day Prediction
    Oilers win 11-0, Oil outshoot Calgary 50-15 and Dubnyk gets the shutout.
    Sam Gagner has a hell of a game tying the NHL record (10 points in game) with 2 goals and 8 assists. Taylor Hall scores 4 and adds 2 assists. Yakupov gets moved up to PP 1 and scores a hat-trick, Eberle adds one late making it 11-0 Oil.

  • Zamboni Driver

    Okay I am not the biggest LT fan (especially the “advanced stats”….btw…does anyone other than stats nerds actually call it that?)

    But the last line is completely ridiculous.

    This team is NOT BETTER THAN IT HAS SHOWN.

    Because…you know it has shown how good it is. And it sucks.

  • Johnnydapunk

    Possible off topic question that I am curious if anyone knows…

    Are the Oilers guaranteed to stay in Edmonton for the next 35 years as per the arena deal? Or has that not been completely signed and guaranteed?

    I ask as I do wonder if Katz has to keep the Oilers here for that amount of time or is there a tiny tiny chance that he can pack the whole show up and go off somewhere else?

    • considering the arrangements that have been made with the city of edmonton and the katz group, I seriously doubt that bettman would have any part of that with katz. unless of course, the arena deal blows up when the GMP comes in at 25-50 milly’s over budget.

      Hmmm…I suppose that is ENTIRELY POSSIBLE!

      what a joke this hockey team has become, players sucking, managment sucking, owners fighting with the city, city bending over and taking it, taxpayers pissed but still elect Iveson! haha…and now 6″ of snow overnight….damn.

  • nuge2drai

    Oiler Domination To Follow… In Year 9?

    Is it sad that I am reverting back to my usual cheering for the oilers this early in November?

    A part of me is hoping the flames win tonight so the oilers get the number one pick next summer…

    It’s sad a I have been conditioned to think this way after 8 seasons of losing…

    Pathetic actually.

  • Serious Gord

    The Oil have many, many problems and I don’t think they’re much better than what we see here. I also have to admit, I think these high end picks are not going to be top end players. They might be good players but just because you were picked first overall does not mean you’re going to be an NHL star. Nail is a bit of a mess. The Nugget seems to be a step slow (but he is still working his way back) and Hall is good but probably isn’t going to be a top scoring winger in this league.

    Too many similar players in the top 6, not much grit, weak blue line and a mess in net. It’s too bad they couldn’t pull a trade for Cory Schneider at the draft.

    • a lg dubl dubl

      Shneider hasn’t been that great for NJ this season so far, as bad as DD has been this year, Oilers D hasn’t really helped him either when he has played good.

    • Alsker

      Oh probably can stop maybe 20 shots but fLamers will get 25 or more. Honestly not sure to cheer for a victory over the city of cows or cheer for Hall to melt down and skew Lowe impaler style with his stick.

  • Rdubb

    What is still missing from this list is a TRUE first pairing defenseman for next year.

    How do your aquire this type of asset, free trade really not chance for us; draft them… We have our fingers crossed for Nurse, Klefblom, Shultz but they are not next year.

    Trade?

    By my estimation on five pairing defensemen have been trade in the last few year….

    Chara …. Ottawa thought they had enough talent on D and let the big man go.

    Campbell …. Chicago signed him to a bad contract and dumped the salary.

    Byfuglien … Chicago had a gap problem and lots of quality on D

    Phaneuf …. Calagry though they had enough quality on D

    Bouwmeaster…. Calgary signed him to a bad contract and dumped the salary.

    Do any of these condition exist now in the NHL? Yes 23% of the NHL meet these requirements.

    1) Blue Jackets lots of quality on D
    2) Buffalo….salary dump?
    3) NYR …. Lots of quality on D
    4) Pens… Lots of quality
    5) Blues lots of quality
    6) Capitals …. Lots of quality
    7) Jets… Lots of quality

    • Batfink

      Not contradictory. God knows, he wanted to move Horc and Hemmer’s contracts. God also only knows what the hell happened with the Smid deal. It’s called incompetence.

  • Slapshot

    Lets do a recap of this dysfunctional organization known as the Oiler’s.

    2008-2013 Katz takes ownership of the Oilers appoints K Lowe president and the team goes into a free fall missing the playoff’s 8 seasons in a row, holds one press conference since taking over the team, threatens the fan base when he wanted tax payer concessions for a new arena with a move to Seattle, once the deal is okay-ed he retreats to his penthouse in Vancouver is never heard from again .

    2008-2013 Kevin Lowe after serving as the Gm for 8 seasons get’s promoted to President of hockey operations,one Stanley cup final appearance in 2006,Hires Steve Tambellini as his general manager after Vancouver passed him over several times and the Oilers officially start the so called rebuild,under Kevin Lowe’s and Tambellinis guidance the Oilers end up with 3 first round draft picks and the team does not finish higher than 26th in the standings,K Lowe holds a press conference were he get’s pissed off at reporters and tells them that he knows a thing or two about winning,because he won six Stanley cups as a player,yet his shortcomings as a general manager and president are very apparent, as is his record the team has been a complete failure under his leadership,Katz is known to be close friends with Lowe and cannot do no wrong.

    2008-2013 Steve Tambellini AKA Mr Dither’s should have never been put into the general managers role, yet he was,was indecisive,he preached that he would ice a competitive team and that the only way this team would win was through the draft,yet under his guidance we drafted players with the same skill set, leaving gaping holes in Goalie and defense,under Dither’s he had Mactavish as a coach,Quinn,Renney and Kruger, (assistants Steve Smith and Kelley Buchberger have been here since Quinn and Renney) Tambellini was let go after a big loss to Calgary and was never heard from again.

    2013-2014 Craig Mactavish after being let go in 2008,(handing in his resignation) he could not get a job in the NHL as a head coach,he was hired as a analyst on TSN and coached one season in the AHL ,gets hired again as a executive with the Oilers in 2012-2013 replaces Tambellini as general manager, tells Kruger his job is safe at his initial press conference only to fire him a few months later, hiring a rookie Coach who has zero NHL coaching experience says its time that the Oilers become a competitive hockey team,he will make bold moves and that he will not sit still and make decisive decisions not like his predecessor Tambellini.The team gets off to one of it’s worst starts in it’s NHL history and Mactavish preaches patience to the team and fans and says we are moving in the right direction,with Buffalo’s win and Edmonton’s loss last night the Oiler’s are again in 30th place,one of the team superstars Hall says he is tired of losing and that he does not have the answer to what is the problem with the Oiler’s. The problem with the Oiler’s starts and end ‘s with Kevin Lowe and Craig Mactavish, until Katz realizes this ,the loyal and supportive Edmonton fan base can get used to this dysfunctional organization known as the Edmonton Oiler’s!!!

  • Slapshot

    And tonight – rest assured the Shames will be out to lay a licking
    on the Oil – The Flames fans will taunt them and the players will be
    keyed to outwork them which should be fairly easy. If you are not ready
    to work tonight boys this could be the bottom finally falling out, not that it hasn’t already. Like Smid said, it can get worse. Loosen up, just say F–K It and go do what you know you can do. For god’s sake you are not this bad. Play run n gun with them, flat out river hockey. They have no chance.

    I think..

  • Word to the Bird

    I got into a heated argument with my father about the future of this organization and what it takes for this team to win. My father said we should wait until this offseason to assess what we have and trade the worst of the kids rather than trade while they have high value and get what we need. Then it dawned on me that that is what MacT is doing, in other words, he is doing exactly what Tambellini did in his tenure as GM. How does he not realize that a team have 4 identical forwards (even Schultz plays like the wonder kids) doesn’t work?

    I think a kid, ie) Eberle, should be traded for a great third liner and a top 4 defenseman. Then the first rounder, which judging by our stats should have high value, should be traded for more defensive help or a center. Goalies should just wait until the offseason IMO, since there will be a good crop in FA, plus we can give Duby time to get his legs under him. Of course Mactavish doesn’t see the gaping holes in our lineup but I’ve just given up hope in management.

  • Zarny

    Nashville ponied up $15M signing bonus to Weber last year. He is Team Canada’s No. 1 Dman. And in a world where the Norris Trophy was awarded to the best defenceman instead of the top-scoring Dman, he’d have 3 or 4 already.
    You’re not going get him for a couple of second-line leftovers and a D hopeful.
    It’ll take top-flight talent and a big bag of cash.

  • Serious Gord

    I think as fans we need to take a higher approach or as Kevin Lowe would say, ” take a second tier approach”!

    Its obvious that when Kevin Lowe/Katz/MacT talk about winning the Stanley Cup some day, what they are referring to is the first, first round draft choice. They don’t actually mean winning the cup…….this is our Stanley Cup.

  • Rdubb

    Its funny how MacT and Six Rings used Tambellini and coaches as a face for the failures of the rebuild years. At this point the dysfunction is way too ingrained in the makup of this team to turn around. MacT and Lowe have created a cesspool here in Edmonton where integrity and pride have no merit anymore.

    When MacT got hired his main focus was to lead this team back to the promised land and hired a new coach who is as big a spin doctor as he is. MacT and Lowe basically wiped away thr Tambellini years as wash and made him out to be the reason why the Oilers sucked so bad for four years. A funny thing happened though, he managed to assemble a team with a coach in Krueger who was bringing them back to respectability.MacT and Lowe saw this immediately put it to rest and hired Eakins and packaged him as the saviour.

    A fat load of good that did, here we are again in the middle of November sh!t out of a playoff spot. No bold moves just a lot of finger pointing, what bugs and disturbs me is how thr whole organization is fine with all of it. Terrible on ice product and a putrid attitude from the fanbase. Mr Lowe and Mr McTavish if you have any integrity please just admit youre wrong and let someone else have a crack at putting together a competitive hockey team.

  • Rdubb

    Hopefully the Oilers management will see which players play with HEART the rest of this season and which players decide to “mail it in” and play off of talent alone (which by the way we all know isn’t enough to win games in todays NHL anymore, those who play with Heart & passion will always beat those who play with only talent).
    The upper management (MacT) should also ask his leaders, Ference, Hall & Eberle, which players they feel should stay and which ones should go, either by trade or by not re-signing.
    Hopefully MacT does the above prior to the deadline or before so that he can trade the “dead weight” and bring in guys from the farm or by trade to finish the season, and than this coming off season, he’ll have to decide whom’ll stay up from the farm next season and he’ll also have to over pay a few free agents to come over, but his best bet for getting skilled, gritty players who play with heart and passion is via trade, & if that means trading a possibly skilled player who does not want to change his style of play or play in the defensive zone all while bitching and complaining about not getting enough time, well, so be it! A good young tender and d-man should be able to be had from the NYR since they’ll never trade or not re-sign King Henrick. Plus, Slats still looks out for us a bit and is always a willing partner…

  • Batfink

    …”the coach is going to have to learn about line matching and finding a useful 4th line he’s willing to play. In hindsight, a rookie coach was probably not a wise decision for this group, but the club has turned over the position so often there must be great hesitancy to replace him.”

    This is why hiring Eakins was an utter waste of time. There was no reason to change the coach other than to make a PR splash and at this point, I swear that’s the primary goal of this organization.

    Due to the way the Eakins hire/Krueger fire went down, I am not as upset about the team’s performance as I normally would be simply because it’s about time this team got what it deserves for how it handles its business…particularly Kevin Lowe as the architect and one constant of this mess.

    That said, it would (I don’t have the balls to say will) be nice to see the Oilers finally become a playoff team again. Nobody wants to see them squander the talent acquired through the rebuild.

  • Never said he was perfect but if he knew RNH wasnt going to be out long and the Gagner thing was a bit of a last minute debacle. Its not perfect but if youre down your top two centers who the hell is going to trade you one and not rob you blind anyways? MacT would have been held by the nuts by every GM in the league trying to get a center to fill a gap for a situation that happened for a couple of weeks.

    To me i still want him to find a way to get a guy like couturier and then send out gags/hemsky/1st round pick/even yak or eberle if they are still around to go fix the defense but i dont know the realistic price of something like that.

    Seriously though man, what GM would be expected to completely reverse a legit basement dweller team in less than 12 months? Dont spout to me your usual drivel giving specific teams with certain optics. Sure Colorado looks stellar but they were never as unbalanced and problematic as the tambellini Oilers.

    edit…. and that comment disappears. i feel like i should remove mine to save myself the headache of actually having this discussion.

  • and they got a legit top 2 center back? i know you have a thing for holland but we’ll see if that move amounts to anything. Pretty sure you would have said “wow look at that incompetent guy bring in a ahl C to cover his top two spots, what a hack” if they did something similar.

  • to be perfectly honest im sick and tired of “trying to grab a guy who is nhl ready” id rather them hold out for the right trade to get guys who are legit nhl players now. We have enough “nhl ready” guys who may or may not end up being nhl players

  • DSF

    No, they got a very promising 22 year old centre who has had significant success in the AHL in return for a D prospect who was expendable because they Leafs are loaded with D prospects. (sound familiar?)

    In his most recent move, MacT traded away an actual NHL player for a goalie prospect who might be a useful player in 3-4 years.

    I would think the chances of Holland having a impact in the NHL in the next 2-3 seasons are much, much higher than that of a 20 year old goalie.

    Don’t you?

  • Except you could take that description and go “he found a promising center who just turned 25 and had success at the AHL level for free”

    You just dont count that because that center needs a phonebook to see over the steering wheel.