Time For A New Plan

Winning the lottery means a lot of things for this franchise
that will now be buying rounds for every bingo caller for the rest of time. A few
random ping pong balls in the right sequence and the entire organizational
philosophy can take a 180 degree turn. A week ago we were talking about another
“Developmental year”. Now there would be no greater mistake than sitting back
and waiting for magic to happen on its own.

When Craig MacTavish gave his thoughts on the plan for next
season, after nine out of the Playoffs and six since the team started formally
rebuilding, he said, “For me, I would forecast it as another developmental year.”

Another year where the growth of the team would be largely
determined by the growth of the players already in the organization.
Forecasting just a few changes (goaltending being half of the changes), that
sounded like Oiler management speak for, “I’m not doing anything until the new
arena opens its doors.”

It sounded a lot like, “The mandate for this team isn’t to
actually win games and nobody will be held accountable if they don’t.”

For a management group that’s been mailing it in for years,
the plan set the bar so low that the risk of failure was negligible. When the
goal is to lose in a game where only winning matters there can be no
consequences. If you lose, you were supposed to. If you win, you’re a genius.

golden-ticket

Then Bill Daly punches Edmonton’s Golden Ticket and
everything now has to change.

The plan to let the team go through another developmental
year was pathetic before, now it would be catastrophic.

The facts are plain. The Edmonton Oilers will have three years
of Connor McDavid on his ELC. He will probably hit all of his bonuses which
means he will earn 3.75M per season. After that I can’t envision a scenario
where he makes less than 7-8 Million dollars per season if he is as good as
advertised and that includes a discount. The Oilers have Hall, RNH, and Eberle
on 6 Million dollar deals and Yak will get two years of playing with McDavid
before he gets his next deal (he’ll be buying rounds for bingo callers for the
rest of his life too).

We haven’t even figured Klefbom, Nurse, Draisaitl, or Goalie
X into this equation. Then you need to figure the team will have to find a top
pairing player in the next 12 months and pay him too. The Oilers are going to
struggle to keep this core together unless people start taking sweetheart home
discounts.

The truth is this club has been rebuilding for so long and
drafting so high that their window to succeed with the group they’ve assembled
isn’t very big. The cap is going to be a concern when McDavid earns his second
contract. They might be able to navigate it but there will be sacrifices.

That means this neglectful development plan has to be
re-written.

The time to start going for it is now. This core cannot wait
for a miracle, they just got one.

It is not reasonable to expect this roster with minor tweaks
of supporting positions to make the playoffs. They need two defensemen and a
goaltender. They need Boychuk, Leddy, and Halak but instead of the maligned
Garth Snow making the deals it’s the maligned Craig MacTavish making the deals.

They will have center depth as of June 26th. They
have more than enough wingers to ice a decent team. They have young defensemen
in Klefbom, Nurse, and Marincin and two of those three are already better than all
of the veterans on the roster. They need two impactful defensemen and at least one
impactful goaltender.

Most of all, though, they need the mandate to win now. They
need the organization to weigh every decision against whether or not the move
would help the team win today.

That means there can be no more of this “We are a few years
away” nonsense. The clock is ticking on the most productive years for the
majority of Edmonton’s young core and they will get just 246 games of McDavid
for less than 4 Million per season. Every game played in McDavid’s ELC that isn’t
done trying to win a championship is a complete and utter failure to recognize the
fleeting nature of these opportunities.

Good news.

Ring

When Bob Nicholson was announced as the CEO of the Oilers
Entertainment Group, he spoke about how everything he did in Hockey Canada was
about trying to win championships at every level. Specifically, he said:

“Holding up this logo, the color of gold was always in my
past. With Hockey Canada our goal was to go after gold and to have gold medal
performances as we moved through every one of those championships.”

It is impossible to imagine that a plan to sit back and let
everything get better on its own resonates with the new head man in the
organization. Nicholson stressed that he was brought on by Katz to build a winner.
He spoke to how the gold background behind the Oilers logo had deeper meaning
for him. The landscape for the Oilers is set up for changes. Whatever plan was laid out a week ago can be thrown out today.

2015-2016 cannot be a developmental year. Not under any
circumstances can this organization drag its feet any longer. Connor McDavid
changes everything for the team.

The time to win is now.

  • vetinari

    “The time to start going for it is now. This core cannot wait for a miracle, they just got one.”

    Best line of the article and likely will define the 2015/16 season for the Oilers.

    The team has burned off the ELC’s of four core players and we can’t afford to burn off Draisatl’s, Nurse’s or McDavid’s ELCs without something to show for it.

    I see some hard decisions for this team and it starts now. Keep current management, who have so far proven to be inept at best and bungling at worst, or bring in new objective eyes who owe no loyalty to the existing players?

    Bring in a veteran coach or go with the reliable and gifted young guy?

    Setting the team to cruise control and then collecting another draft choice is no longer an option.

    This team has to get real serious, real creative and real aggressive real quickly.

  • @S_2_H

    MY DAD WAS IN EDMONTON FOR MEETINGS LAST NIGHT AND WHEN THEY WENT FOR SUPPER AT A STEAKHOUSE KEVIN LOWE, BOB NICHOLSON AND PETER CHIARELLI WERE SITTING ONE BOOTH OVER FROM HIM!!! HE SAID THERE WERE A FEW OTHER HOCKEY GUYS HE RECOGNIZED BUT COULDNT THINK OF THEIR NAMES THERE WITH SECURITY GUARDS ETC.HE ALSO SAID MACT AND MCLELLEN WERE NOT THERE

  • Leef O'Golin

    We can probably afford to keep most of the core together, but good drafting and UFA signings are key. Salary cap should jump up in the next few years as well. Chicago massively overpaid Toews and Kane, but they still have about 5million plus players. Its underpaying the depth guys that will save us. Getting the Nikitin, ference, purcell, gordon, hendricks, contracts off our backs should give us a whole bunch of room.

  • A-Mc

    Copy pasted from an article on the oilers website about the interview macT had today on oilers Now.

    “I think it marginally changes,” said MacTavish. “I said at the end of the year, before we were fortunate enough to win the lottery, it’d be a very important developmental year for us. I still believe that. We arguably have the three best players in the CHL right now and they’re going to be flowing into the program, certainly Leon. All three will. Next year, Leon is done with his junior eligibility, as is Darnell. The player we pick will be on our team next year.”

    From the sounds of it, the Oilers (if MacT is still around) plan to have all 3 of Nurse, Draisaitl and McDavid on the Oilers next year.

    It might be a dangerous move to have so much inexperience in the line up but alteast we’ll get a look at all 3 at once. I’m excited to see Nurse: we’ve needed him for a while now.

    • CaptainLander

      He also mentioned he would like to have Roy back. I would say even if McDavid and Leon are on the team next year (Leon on the wing maybe, even Mcdavid starting on the wing is not terrible ala Stamkos)they will have enough experience up front. Now if the plan is to have Nurse. Kbom, Jultz, Marincin take up 4 spots on the back end now I have an issue.

  • Anton CP

    – failure is good for development
    – bold moves
    – Shultz has Norris trophy potential
    – another developmental year
    – were only missing a couple pieces

    losing Jeff Petry for nothing, Nikitin’s contract, hiring Eakins…

    I had SO much respect for Mac T growing up but he is a very bad manager. Sutter is a great coach but was a poor manager. Please bring in someone who can do the job!! heres hoping McDavid will make a legitimate GM want to come to Edmonton.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    “Every game played in McDavid’s ELC that isn’t done trying to win a championship is a complete and utter failure to recognize the fleeting nature of these opportunities”

    “The time to win is now”

    Holy baby blinders. 18 years old and you’re pinning it all on the RIGHT NOW??? The credibility of this site, lost in the perpetuity of negativity, has gone out the window. Year 3 maybe. Year 2 if he truly is Gretzky incarnate. First year? Really? Seriously?

    • It’s not about winning. It’s about trying to win.

      Why in 3 years? What happens 3 years from now? The belief that all we need is just more time is extremely weird. We are already several years into the Hall/Eberle era. We gave them time and they didn’t magically start winning games.

      Nothing will miraculously happen in 3 years that can’t start happening today. You can’t just flick a switch and tell the team “OK Boys, now we’re gonna try to be good.” It’s flawed thinking.

      Every opportunity to get better today needs to be taken. I would love to hear the plan for year 3 in this fictitious world everybody lives in where suddenly the Oilers start being good.

      • B_Oliver

        Exactly how I see it Matt, I couldn’t agree more. This team is actually STACKED up front. I’m drooling at the thought of line combinations next year. With 2 top pair defense, and league-average goal tending, this team will be dangerous. The time to win is NOW.

      • Agreed wholeheartedly.

        There is no reason this team can’t produce a less embarassing 75-80 point season minus any major additions, including Connor McDavid. If the team can figure out who tends goal and maybe makes a splash and can find a top end dman (not necessarily a perennial Norris candidate) this team could/should at least be able to work hard enough to knock on the door for the playoffs.

        Add up everything they have in the system plus potential moves there’s little reason to treat next season as a throwaway.

        • Andy7190

          Enough with the Loser Mentality. 75-80 PTS may get you to 25-26th overall, but you’ll need another 20 PTS to even get close to the playoffs.

          As long as you’re dreaming, why not have a dream of success and not mediocrity? Put a plan into place that gets 2 top D-men and a starting goalie at a MINIMUM, whether it costs one or more of your supposed Golden Boys or not. This concept that you can keep everything and add the needed pieces will NEVER happen. Trading high-pedigree but under-performing “stars” for what you really need is required, but seeing the hesitancy to clean house or make any jockey trades makes that seem unlikely.