Three points out

The Edmonton Oilers played what might have been there most important game in three seasons on Wednesday night. A hot run, and some help in other cities had put them in a position to tie for the final playoff spot in the West. Their shootout loss to San Jose means that they’re now three points out of both that post-season berth and dead last in the West.

An eye on the post-season

According to, six teams in the West have an 80 percent or better chance of making the playoffs. The exceptions are Detroit and San Jose – the Red Wings took a hit with their loss to Minnesota, but remain ahead of the Sharks (who were significantly boosted by their win over Edmonton). Both the Sharks and Red Wings are rated as over 50 percent likely to hang on to their spots, with the other six teams on the chart above all somewhere between 10 and 30 percent likely to make it to the post-season.

Edmonton closes out the month with very little chance to damage the hopes of those other teams. They play Nashville on March 25, and Columbus on March 28 – with three other games against St. Louis (twice) and Vancouver. A good run here, and despite tonight’s loss they’ll be in decent shape. Needless to say, they need a good run.

Some good news: Detroit and San Jose don’t have an easy schedule to conclude March – between them they will play a combined five of their final 10 games in the month against Chicago and Anaheim.

An eye on draft position

I completely understand that (virtually) nobody wants to watch the draft rankings. The organization is at a point where wins, not losses, are what will advance the rebuild. This remains the silver lining to a potential ugly losing streak, though. Colorado’s regulation win over Dallas on Wednesday worked out well for the Oilers, come what may. It kept the Stars tied with Edmonton, hurting playoff hopes in Texas, and moved Colorado up two points, hurting their draft position (and while nobody’s really out of the race in the West, Colorado is as close as it gets).

It’s March. A streak of wins, and the Oilers are buying at the deadline. A streak of losses, and the Oilers are buying at the draft. The Oilers’ on-ice results haven’t been this interesting this late in the season since the spring of 2009.

Recently around the Nation Network

  • BEST RESULT – Oiler finish 4 points out of the playoffs making a steady and determined push with the kids feeling confident they got the goods for next year. However with all the parity and 3 pts distrubition in the league – even finishing 4pts out the Oilers finish 13th in the Conference meaning they are in the top 6 picks and collect another piece of the puzzle.

    The real dealing will occur in the draft and the Oilers should set their sights on Shea Weber.. without a doubt the Oilers need a bonafide legitamate proven No. 1 Defencemen – then watch the team take off!

    If it means Sam Gagner, Oscar Klefbom and a pick so be it – One thing you cannot deny about Chris Pronger, the defense changed dramatically when a legit No. 1 is in place.

  • Citizen David

    I hope that if they miss the playoffs they’re close to it so they draft Lazar. The players I want the oilers to get one or two of: Lazar, Rychel, Nurse, Zadorov, Ristolainen.

  • 2004Z06

    I compare the relationship between the team and the coach to a Taylor Swift song….After the first male bashing hit one could think she had some bad luck in the dating department. After five different guy bashing hits you start to realize that she is the problem.

    4 coaches in 3 years and this team is no further ahead. Therefore you must conclude that coaching isn’t the problem.

  • Admiral Ackbar

    Seriously, what the hell was up with Dub’er last night on Boyle’s SO goal? Whenever you can throw out Ebs and Gags, you’re likely to get at least 1 goal. Dub’er though needs some serious practice with this. Maybe he’s just not that athletic, who knows…..?

    • Marcus

      DD played like crap last night. Numerous goalposts (means the goalie has been beat) and overall just slow to react.

      I’m thinking that he’s just a big goalie that seems smaller in net at times than he should be. He weaknesses seem to be both blocker and glove side. And in shootouts, well lets just say Freddy Chabot better be teaching him the ‘ol pokecheck soon.

      • TayLordBalls

        The Oilers had to see if Dubby is truly a #1,he has played well at times but he is letting in questionable goals at bad times,If Mike Smith is available July 1 I would like to see the Oilers take a run at him or possibly try to make a trade for his rights and Henrick Samuellsen.

  • LinkfromHyrule

    Yet again a two goal lead blown in the third… I get the feeling that the task of grooming our crop of talented young players into real NHL players is above the head of RK. He seems like he is a good coach that understands his system but what he’s been tasked with is too much for him.

    And man, STOP MESSING WITH THE LINES IN THE THIRD. Our young players need to be put into those difficult situations so that they can grow as players. Instead you put out brown and petrell. That is a joke.

    I think maybe a coaching change is needed for this team

  • draft nail yakupov – check

    sign justin schultz – check

    ink hall and eberle to potential albatross contacts before required – check

    shuffle a couple of deck chairs – check

    play a meaningful game in march (results irrelevant) – check

    i would think tambo is pretty happy with himself.

    well done

  • 106 and 106

    I think the Oilers need to trade their first round pick for a player that actually help them now.

    Detroit has been successfully doing this for years, 10 of the last 16 years they have traded their 1st round pick away.

    Yes we may end up being Brian Burked but it is worth the risk.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      i’d be VERY cautious before the Oilers start doing this. i get worried when i hear people say let’s trade Eberle or Marincin or Yakupov for a proven top end player….then after he’s here, he wants to be traded, or doesn’t want to sign long term here and leaves when he’s a UFA, and we end up with nothing.

    • There are two problems with trading away the first round pick this year

      1 – it’s likely to be a top 10 pick in a deep draft year.

      2 – What kind of top six roster player or top four d-man can the team really expect to get?

      • vetinari

        Granted, which is why I didn’t suggest it last year. This year we are currently in the 9th overall position.

        In 9th overall drafted 2000-Brent Krahn, 2001-Tuomo Ruutu, 2002-Petr Taticek, 2003-Dion Phaneuf, 2004-Ladislav Smid, 2005-Brian Lee, 2006-James Sheppard, 2007-Logan Couture, 2008-Josh Baily, 2009-Jared Cowen, 2010-Mikael Granlund, 2011-Dougie Hamilton, 2011-Jacob Trouba

        The older we go on the list the more accurate information we have, but it is more or less 50% chance at getting a player.

        If you trade for someone that will help you can get 100% chance of getting a player.

        For instance the Wings trade for Kyle Quincey and it was a 1st Rd pick straight across. He is in their top 4.

        If the Oilers could get a top 4 defenseman for a 1st Round pick, which will likely be a higher 1st than the Wings had I think that is a win. We could even throw in Peckham or Potter so the other team has a body.

        The reality is by doing this it would likely mean a few extra points in the standings, and thus a worse position for the team getting the pick. There is a chance the Oilers could win the lottery, but as the old saying, it is better a bird in hand than a bird in the bush.

  • @Bonvie

    You would trade Yakupov (who has only played 29 NHL games) for Tyler Myers (who is in his fourth season and struggling big time)? Give your head a shake. People need to quit pulling the trigger so early on Yakupov. Throwing him under the bus,and putting him in trade situations is ludicrous. Give him a few years and let the kid play. As DSF would say, good grief

  • Sorry everyone, they’re not doing it this year. This year is about gaining that valuable experience of coming close but not quite pulling it together at the right time (in both the game and the season).

    If this year’s lessons are learned, then next year will be different.

    • 106 and 106

      when has a good run that barely misses the playoffs ever translated into success the following year? not for this team. learn? these guys? they keep making the same mistakes, putting fourth a half a.. effort, making the same excuses, these guys don’t learn and even when they seem like they might have they can’t change on a consistent basis.

    • 106 and 106

      Tonight was quite telling boys, and though 3 points out is just 3 points out – we can’t keep expecting teams to keep beating the sharks/detroit/phoenix and had a chance to reel them in tonight. If anything this year will finish really strong and light a spark for any UFA’s considering Edmonton/the kids to rally around for next go.

      And we were up 3-1 – sigh.

  • Bonvie

    They didn’t sell last year when they were clearly out of the playoffs I can’t see them selling this year. I was clearly frustrated when depth D were fetching 2nd and thirds and we didn’t move any of those D, same went for the depth forwards.

    Nothing changes with this team from year to year they still need a top pair D man and depth at center is paper thin. These are the problems caused with the trade of Brodziak for nothing, and punishing Souray banishing him from the kingdom.

    I would really like them to use Yakapov to get them Tyler Myers or another young top flight D-man. the center problem could have been dealt with in a minor trade or signing such as Arnott, maybe not a permanent fix but a better contract than having three Hordichuk type players two of them in the minors. At least Eager is a good player down there Hordichuk still is out of his league.

    • Bonvie

      Many discussions around Buffalo trade situations automatically exclude Myers, whose contract is thought to be awful at this point. His numbers have declined year after year. It sounds like he may be a casualty of the amnesty buyout by some accounts. And you want to give up Yakupov for him?

      Yak had some great shifts in the game, including that sequence in the 3rd. I get why Kreuger does not want to throw him into the fire, but I can’t understand why he is not trying to give him more responsibility in the late stages of the games. He wants to win more than anyone, and thrives to play in those tight games where there is more meaning (exhibit A – game tying goal in LA). I usually will defend RK, but his unwillingness to develop Yak in later stages in the game is in my mind a huge blunder, and is possibly costing this team points. Who was on the ice on the 3rd goal? Why, Petrell and Brown, those stalwarts that have the veteran experience and defensive presence that Yakupov lacks…

      • Oilers89

        The Yak situation appears to be a microcosm of what the oilers try to do too often. Which of course is trying not to lose instead of trying to win. Our ‘defensive’ players like petrell are almost guaranteed to never win you the game, but there is a chance they will lose it. At least with Yak he has a high chance at both ends (while not as bad in his own end as he is made out to be). I would highly prefer they go after the win, obviously you share the same feeling.

        Side note: with all that said, I have liked the oilers game lately and other than the issue with Yak it appears as though the team might be learning how to be competitive.

    • OilLeak

      Back at what exactly? Did e suddenly became a better player because he finally scored after consistently cheating for offense and leaving the defensive work for his teammates? Seriously, watch Jones for a whole game. The guy is everywhere, but where he should be.

      • Phixieus666

        actually I believe it does. I think they changed it so that its only a lottery for the first overall and winner goes to the bottom and everyone else just shuffles up one spot. So ya finished last means at least you’ll get the second pick. Unless I’m wrong but that was my understanding of the lottery changes

        • DSF

          I stand corrected. Thank you for that.

          This new format is then arguably worse than the old one IMO. There is far too much incentive to tank a season – even arguably more than in years past.

          Also lets assume that the team that finishes 20th gets the number one. As I read it, everyone else from part place up to 21st last automatically gets the pick position that is one plays where they finished (2nd last gets the third pick for example) then lottery draw resumes with the 21st pick.

          The temptation for a bottom feeding team 2nd to 5th last to tank is even higher than last year.

        • Wax Man Riley

          I stand corrected. Thank you for that.

          This new format is then arguably worse than the old one IMO. There is far too much incentive to tank a season – even arguably more than in years past.

          Also lets assume that the team that finishes 20th gets the number one. As I read it, everyone else from part place up to 21st last automatically gets the pick position that is one plays where they finished (2nd last gets the third pick for example) then lottery draw resumes with the 21st pick.

          The temptation for a bottom feeding team 2nd to 5th last to tank is even higher than last year.

        • Rambelaya

          Yep, you nailed it.

          Right in that link it says “No club will move down more than one position as a result of the Draft Lottery.”

          So finishing dead dog last will get you 2nd overall pick, at the worst (unless you trade it away).