The Edmonton Oilers 2015 calendar was another disappointing year, on the ice at least.
They were 16-22-6 in 44 games between January and April, and they are currently 15-20-3 from October to December with one game remaining before the calendar turns to 2016.
They are a combined 31-42-9 in 2015, and once again they are struggling to be competitive.
The high point of 2015 was when the Oilers won the draft lottery on Saturday, April 18th, ensuring they would draft Connor McDavid first overall at the 2015 draft.
A few days later Bob Nicholson became the Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chair. He demoted Craig MacTavish and hired Peter Chiarelli as the new general manager. Todd McLellan and his staff were hired a month later, and then McDavid officially became an Oiler in June.
Fans were ecstatic about the changes, and confident McDavid would help end the losing. McDavid didn’t disappoint, but he broke his clavicle in his 13th game, and the Oilers are once again near the basement of the NHL standings.
The good news is they are only four points out of a playoff spot in the weak Pacific division, and McDavid should return to the lineup some time in January.
McDavid’s arrival combined with solid play from young Leon Draisailt and Darnell Nurse give Oilers fans hope, but until Chiarelli can acquire one, and possibly two, solid veteran defencemen this team will struggle.
Taylor Hall is having a great campaign and sits fifth in NHL scoring, while Draisailt is tied for 30th despite starting the season in the American Hockey League. Offence isn’t the problem, however — preventing goals is once again the Oilers’ Kryptonite.
The Oilers have allowed 3.11 goals per game, 27th worst in the NHL, and until they learn to play defence and get consistent goaltending they will continue to struggle.
WHAT HAPPENS IN 2016?
Chiarelli will continue to revamp his lineup. He wants a heavier team and he knows he has to improve his defence. He might be able to do it through free agency, but the UFA crop of D-men is not very deep after Dustin Byfuglien. The only other player who is currently playing top-pairing minutes is Alex Goligoski.
A trade is the more likely alternative, and in order for Chiarelli to acquire a reliable, top-three D-man he will need to trade a skilled forward.
I’m surprised by the push back from fans who bristle at the thought of having to trade a proven forward like a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Jordan Eberle. The team will not win until they improve the blueline. It simply is not good enough. When the team has to play Justin Schultz top-four minutes it will not be competitive.
Trading one of the aforementioned forwards doesn’t mean they are bad players. It will happen because they have value, and unless you believe Chiarelli can land a top-three D-man by trading spare parts, I don’t see any other alternative to trading a forward with value.
Chiarelli and McLellan have a better sense of what they need moving forward. There will be some tough decisions, but I see another summer of change for the Edmonton Oilers.
The Oilers have tinkered with the bottom end of the roster for years, but it has not improved the team. In 2016, we will see movement among the top-six forwards and the top-four defence.
There has been ample discussion about the Oilers running three offensive lines when McDavid and Nail Yakupov return, and while that might happen for a short time, it won’t happen next season. The Oilers must improve their defence, and trading two of those forwards is the most realistic option.
Who, when and where is difficult to predict, but I’m certain it will create a lot of discussion and debate among Oilers fans.
This club has to start improving in the standings. Changes need to be made and when they make their 2016/2017 debut at their beautiful new arena, there will be many new faces, and it won’t only be the bottom of the roster getting an overhaul.
A loyal Nation reader who asked to remain anonymous has generously donated four seats to Saturday afternoon’s game versus the Coyotes. He wanted us to raise a bit more money for our Month of Giving.
We will split the tickets up into two pairs. For each pair (row 14, great seats) we will take six $100 donations. If you want to enter the draw send me an email to email@example.com. I will send you a link where you can donate. The first six will go into a draw for one pair, and the next six will go into a draw for thesecond pair.
We will raise $1,200. Thanks again to the generous reader who wanted to help out.
Our fifth annual Month of Giving was extremely successful again. Thank
you very much to all the TSN 1260 listeners, sponsors and readers here at the Nation who helped make it a great 18 days.
This year we raised an amazing $85,250 (I’m including the $1,200 we will raise today) in 18 days of auctions.
started the Month of Giving in December of 2011 with the hopes of
raising $25,000 for various charities who help less
fortunate people in Edmonton. I was blown away when we raised $50,400.
We raised $55,600 in 2012, $77,150 in 2013, $92,765 last year and $85,250 this year.
In five years we have raised an amazing $358,165.00.
have helped us make a difference in many people’s lives, for simple
necessities like food. We should never take for granted how lucky some
of us are, and I believe we need to look out for others and I’m so
grateful that the listeners of TSN 1260 and the readers of Oilersnation
feel the same way.
I want to thank all the sponsors who donated auction items:
Realtor Michelle Derk
Vons Steakhouse and Oyster Bar
Dinette and Patio Furniture
The Edmonton Eskimos, Ed Hervey, Mike Reilly and Chris Morris.
Pro Am Sports
Derks Mens Wear
The Ranch Golf and Country Club
River Valley Health
High Stick Vodka
On the Rocks
Eagle Rock Golf Course
The Edmonton Oil Kings
Taylor Hall, Jason Strudwick and Ruth’s Chris
Blackhawk Golf Course and Al Prokop
Michael Anthony Jewellers
Vivo Ristorante, Ryan Smyth and Matt Hendricks
Chop Steakhouse and Brad German
would also like to thank those who bid so generously on all the
packages, if you didn’t win but still bid thank you for increasing the
prices. It allowed us to raise more money.
Thank you Glen, Craig, Darrell, Jeff, Corey, Mark, Matthew, Justin, Tanner, Lee, Greg, Chris, Jack, Troy, Amanda, Clayton, James, Cory, Ken, Diane, Arnold, Jill, Jesse, Jason, Greg, Derek, Ashley, Jeremy, Ryan, Steve and those who entered today.
This year we
helped out a variety of different charities. Your donations and bids helped
many who really needed it: The Christmas Bureau, The
Holiday Hamper, M.E Lazerte high school breakfast program, The MS
Society, Operation Friendship Senior Society, Rotary Breakfast program, Santas Anonymous and The Edmonton Food Bank.
Thank you Edmonton and surrounding areas. We live in a wonderfully generous community and I’m proud to call Edmonton home.
Thank you once again, and please know you made Christmas and the next few weeks much more enjoyable for many people in need.
God bless you.
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