A losing streak to end the season would be the best thing for the Edmonton Oilers

Well on their way to a seventh consecutive season without the playoffs, fans of the Oilers are probably long past being sick of trying to find the upside in losing. Despite that, one last run of terrible play – say five losses in their final seven games to match the current five-game losing streak – could be exactly what the team needs, for three reasons.

The Obvious Reason

All of a sudden, the Oilers have just a three point lead on Calgary and Carolina for the third overall (pre-lottery) draft position. Based on the scouting reports there seems to be a gap between the top-four in this year’s draft – Seth Jones, Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin, Aleksander Barkov – and the rest of the pack. While the Oilers should be past the point where they’re tanking for picks, with the playoffs out of sight there’s no reason not to grab the best talent available.

Let Go

There are a lot of players on the roster who should have been cleared out some time ago. The summer re-signings of Lennart Petrell and Darcy Hordichuk come to mind, as do the deadline decisions to retain guys like Ryan Jones and Ryan Whitney.

Other lists will have other names, too – and there’s no doubt in my mind that both at least one of the Oilers’ compliance buyouts should be getting used this summer (Ben Eager, Eric Belanger). [As pointed out in the comments, the rules allow for compliance buyouts to be held over to the summer of 2014, so it’s only prudent to retain at least one of them – JW].

A lousy run to end the year might just break management’s tight grip of their underachieving depth players, and encourage them to be a little more aggressive about trying to make the team better.

Which brings me too…

Ownership Impatience

What will it take for the top men in hockey operations to be shown the door? The post-Pronger collapse of the team under EIG ownership didn’t do it. Neither did the implosion in 2009-10 after the acquisitions of Pat Quinn and Nikolai Khabibulin (the latter’s contract should have been a firing offence in its own right). The failure to climb out of the draft lottery in 2011-12 cost Steve Tambellini’s third coach his job, but once again accountability stopped just short of the general manager’s office.

Virtually every position on the team – from the assistant general manager to the head coach to the trainers to the players – has seen change during the slightly less than five-year reign of Tambellini. If the difference between a 10th-place finish and a 13th-place finish is the difference between regime change and the status quo, the Oilers are likely to be better off in the long-term with a 13th-place finish.

At some point, the team hopes to start winning again, and for that to happen they’ll need a highly competent executive in the top hockey operations job. Based on the last few years, is there any reason to believe that person currently works in Oilers management?

Recently around the Nation Network

  • Are we a fraud NHL team ? Dominated and pushed around by a mediocer AHL team , while we are playing for our playoff lives in the NHL . I dare say maybe our rebuild has only taken us as far as a mediocer AHL team in reality . Time to take the callouses off our eyes ? I used my magnifying glass to watch our team play ,makes them look pretty big afterall .

    Still reeling from the way we got waxed by Flames AHL squad . As fans even we are embarrassed , as are the players and coaches . Lets not over react , but lets not under react either . Management is ‘mum ‘in times of negativity . Oiler slick has turned to goo sludge . Oilers new logo on retro sweaters will read ” Slippery When Wet ” . The slide for five . Poking fun at a pokey team .

  • outdoorzguy

    The way there playing we don’t have to try to tank . I felt 4-5 weeks ago we would get a 5-8 pick and it’s possibly the 5 not 8 . I would send J. Schultz & Magnus to OKL to give them a shot at playoffs . Bring up Tuebert who will probably be cut but find out for sure .

  • Eulers

    Maybe now is the time to try Hall at center. What do we have to lose at this point? Might as well do the hard learning when the mistakes have little consequence.

  • RexLibris

    The Edmonton MSM will break out the knives on Tambellini and offer him up to the rabble.

    Lowe and company will get another grunt front and center. Maybe Howson maybe someone else as desperate as Steve was.

    Nothing is going to change until Taylor Hall calls his agent and tells him to get him out of town.

    • The Oilers Shot Clock

      the simple truth is that if things don’t change dramaticly, new management that makes dramatic moves to make this team a contender, if the team doesn’t start winning next season, then that’s what hall will do, and eberle, rnh, schultz and yaks will be on the phone to their agents 5min later. and when every other gm knows these guys all want out of dodge, we’ll be lucky to get abunch of 4th line ahl players and a bag of magic beans for them. the point is if things don’t get alot better awful quick, then they’re going to get a whole lot worse awful quick. this is exactly why replacing the entire managment team right now is critical.

  • Czar

    If we’ve learned anything in the last few years it should be to avoid anyone ever associated with the Canucks! Tamboob, Renney and Quinn are proof enough of that. DSF is right again[ouch] about Jim Nill,he might be very tough to get but would be well worth it!

    There were opportunities in the past to get the right people in the organization. I don’t care who’s behind the bench,when a guy like Hitchcock becomes available he should have been pursued and the minute John Davidson parted ways in St.Louis Katz should have had a limo at his door and a contact in his hand.

  • Czar

    I’d like to see Taylor at centre too. But tell him at the end of the season. Let him work on some things and be ready to give it a try at camp.

    It also spares the locker room any tension. Obviously, moving Taylor to centre means somethings gotta give in the middle.

  • does anyone think its possible for us to be drafting top 3? need to be that high to get a top 4 player as its more likely now someone wins the lotto and pushes us back.

    Or is is likely at all if we are drafting 5th to get Barkov?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    How would you feel about this? Buyout Horc, then offer the same contract to Bozak this summer. I’m assuming that you can buyout anytime over the summer. So you can sign Bozak and then do your buyout. Still a hard thing to do to your captain.