Year End Review of the Edmonton Oilers

It is mid-April and after a difficult and disappointing
season marred by injuries throughout the lineup, the Edmonton Oilers are looking at a top
end draft pick and facing some significant roster changes under their new
General Manager.

Is it 2010 or 2016?

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The Edmonton Oilers.

They’re like the punchline to a joke that has long stopped
being funny.

At the beginning of the year, and again at the halfway
point, I went through the Canucks, Oilers and Flames to predict what might be a
reasonable season for each team. Today I’m reviewing the Oilers’ season with
those initial projections in mind.

What Was Said

Here are some of the things that I wrote at the beginning of
the season:

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1.       Based on my projections above I’ve got the
Oilers scoring 227 goals this year.

2.       The defense is going to be a work in
progress right until the end of the year unless we see a big trade bring in an
established veteran who can fairly and effectively be called a 1st pairing
defender. This group is going to struggle to keep on a level with the forward
group.

3.       The goaltending looks to be improved, by how
much remains to be seen. However, working out a .914 team sv% averaged between
Talbot and either Scrivens or Nilsson puts the Oilers 10th in the league last
season, just ahead of the Winnipeg Jets and behind the Penguins.

4.       The playoffs are probably still a way’s off,
but they could find themselves at least in the conversation. Let’s say 4th in
the Division, 10th in the conference and somewhere around 19th in the League.

5.       What’s the worst-case scenario? Finishing in
the bottom five, drafting 6th overall and trading away Eberle or Hall and
Yakupov out of panic.

And here are the results:

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1.      
The Oilers scored 203 goals this year, off the
mark by 24 goals. Given the number of injuries I believe that my original
estimate may have been too conservative for a healthy roster.

2.      
The defense for the Oilers’ last three NHL games
featured a defense group included three players with fewer than 100 NHL games
played, and as a group they averaged 237 NHL games played. Two of the players
began the season in the AHL and one was a waiver-wire pickup at the trade
deadline. The defense was an already-rickety vessel held together with bailing
twine and prayer by season’s end. There were rumours of a Nugent-Hopkins for Seth Jones trade that Peter Chiarelli later denied. Injuries likely scuttled any attempt to make such a move.

3.      
The Oilers managed a team sv% of 0.905, up from
last season’s disastrous 0.888. This alone may be one of the most significant
developments for the team in the last five years.

4.      
The Oilers finished 7th in the
division, 15th in the conference and 29th overall. Not
even close.

5.      
They did finish in the bottom five, the lottery
results have yet to determine where the team will draft but they can draft no
later than 5th overall. More importantly, Peter Chiarelli did not
panic during the season and make any rash moves but will likely move at least
one of the bodies listed above, perhaps two or even all of the above, this
off-season as he addresses the defense.

This season wasn’t pretty but, and this speaks to the
incredibly low levels this franchise and its fans have seen over the past
decade, things actually appeared to be looking up this season.

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Because Oilers? Because Injuries!

Connor McDavid missed half a season after breaking his
collarbone when he was railroaded into the end boards. Oscar Klefbom only
played 30 games after suffering a broken finger and then developing a staph
infection in his foot due to an ill-fitting skate. Add to that extended games
missed by Eberle, Pouliot, Davidson, Gryba, Yakupov and Nugent-Hopkins and you
have a roster that was already in tough competing for mediocrity now completely
undermined by injuries.

Overall the list of walking wounded and games missed looks
like this:

(Source)

On the whole, just over one-third of the season was lost by
the Oilers’ top two centers, three of their top six wingers, and three of their
six defenders including two of their top three at that position.

I despise that old tripe about “injuries are not an excuse”.
No, they are not but they are an explanation and to wave them away as
unimportant is a lazy act of willful ignorance.

Now if someone wants to discuss injuries as they relate to
roster depth, that is fair and worth your time. But if someone had the temerity
to tell you that the Flames shouldn’t miss a beat without TJ Brodie, Dougie
Hamilton, Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Michael Frolik for a third of a
season how much patience would you have?

Let’s have a look at the player performance predictions and
where they ended up.

Oilers Final Player Performance-Flames RE series - Excel

I’ve highlighted those players whose ppg results were off
the predicted mark by a margin greater than 0.1.

Leon Draisaitl blew away my expectations of him this season
with a hot start. He settled as the season drew on with some speculation that
there was a rib issue hindering his playmaking and skating ability, but seemed
to find some middle ground later in the season. His future will likely be as a
swing man moving from wing to center as needs dictate.

Eberle had a down year along with Nugent-Hopkins, not surprisingly both lost time to injury, Nugent-Hopkins’ being the more serious (broken finger and later
a minor concussion) but both maintained a point-per-game rate above 0.60.

Taylor Hall registered his first full 82-game season of his career and while his point totals leveled off in the second half of the season
he was a force for the entire year, disproving many of his critics who said that he lacked
a 200-foot game.

Nail Yakupov may have played his last game as an Oiler. This
summer his name may be amongst the many that are headed out of town. I will
miss him on this team.

I underestimated Connor McDavid. As a 19 year old rookie in
a half-season shortened due to injury he kept pace with Patrick Kane on a
point-per-game basis while facing the best defensive competition opposing teams
had to offer on a team torpedoed by injuries and with a defense cobbled together with prayer and bailing twine. Words fail me. The Oilers are going to invest a king’s ransom in
making sure he remains healthy.

A Look At the Numbers

Below are various statistical categories that I tracked
through the season. Overall the Oilers kept an even keel, despite the injuries.

Oilers Final Goal Differential -RE Differentials - Excel

Oilers Final ScAdjFF -RE Differentials - Excel

Oilers Final Team SvPerc-RE Differentials - Excel

Oilers Final Talbot Sv Perc -RE Differentials - Excel

Oilers Final Nilsson Sv Perc -RE Differentials - Excel

The goal differential improved over the course of the
season, however the loss of Nugent-Hopkins and Klefbom are probably the two
biggest factors at play here.

The possession game for this team will need to improve, the two areas that would provide the greatest return in that area would be to add two top-four defensemen and to have a roster that can remain healthy.

The team save percentage started poorly and that more or
less nailed the lid on the team early with the injuries coming in afterwards to
throw dirt on the coffin.

Talbot emerged this year as a starting goaltender who should
be relied upon to deliver league average goaltending at the very least. At this
stage that is all a team can ask for.

Outside of Nilsson’s stretch from mid-November to early December things did not go especially well for him. I expect the Oilers will be aggressive in pursuing a replacement backup goaltender this summer. Chiarelli is fed up with wet feet and bailing and he will be patching holes in this boat without delay.

Hero of the Season

From a fan perspective, this could be difficult. Many fans would choose Brandon Davidson as a candidate because a team so starved for defenseman managed to draft and develop one of their own (it doesn’t happen often in Oilerville, and when it does they usually get traded right when they become capable players). His backstory (skipped some years playing because his family couldn’t afford it, walk on tryout for the Pats who became eventually became captain of the team, 6th round draft pick who made it to the AHL and then battled testicular cancer to eventually come into the NHL and earn a top-four spot) is an inspiration.

I suspect Peter Chiarelli would pick Cam Talbot as his hero for the season after spending some dear draft picks to acquire him and then overcoming a difficult start to the season, Talbot’s emergence as a capable starting goaltender strikes a massive item off the GM’s to-do list for this summer and gives the team something it hasn’t had since perhaps the departure of Dwayne Roloson.

Others would argue Connor McDavid who provided a compelling reason to watch every game he played, regardless of where the team was in the standings.

Off Season Plan

Defense? Defense. Definitely defense.

The Oilers are buying on the blueline this summer. The only thing we don’t know yet is the cost. All sorts of names have been thrown around but what we do know is that the blueline begins with Andrei Sekera, Brandon Davidson, and Oscar Klefbom. Nurse and Reinhart are the nearly-ready prospects and Mark Fayne is the old man who can’t get no love. They need at least one, ideally two right-handed defensemen for next season.

Some additional cleaning up of the bottom six is needed but not necessarily a priority.

I won’t speculate here on who they target or who is on the block, but suffice to say that many believe Peter Chiarelli could be one of the busier GMs this summer.

Why This Song?

You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down

Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut ’em down
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut ’em down

At the beginning of the season I’d picked Johnny Cash as the musical herald for the Oilers (Canucks got Tom Petty, Flames got Elvis Presley).

In this video Rick Rubin discusses Cash wearing black to show common cause with the disenfranchised and downtrodden.

There could be no better association for Oilers fans and their team today.

As I mentioned at the beginning, the Oilers have become a joke that people long ago stopped finding funny.

Instead it seems some people are finding sport in dropping by to punish fans or castigate them for their loyalties, laying at their feet the blame for the organization’s long season of discontent.

The media no longer have any time for Oilers’ stories aside from venting anger and resentment at the prospect of another 1st overall draft pick going to Edmonton. Indeed, it appears that it has become en vogue to argue that the team needs to be punished in some way for it’s sins, real or perceived.

Oiler fans are being targeted by those outside the market and the team has once again found itself, justifiably or not, at the center of everyone’s hit list.

And yet every other Canadian team has found itself outside the playoffs this year. The bottom ten teams in the league include six of the seven Canadian teams, the bottom five positions have four Canadian teams, and the bottom three positions are occupied solely by Canadian teams.

Of course the response to that is “this is just one year” or “we’re going to do this rebuild better and smarter than the Oilers” and it would be hard to argue that it could be done any less well up to this point.

But the popular idea now that the Oilers need to be punished, and let’s
be perfectly honest this isn’t punishing the team so much as punishing
the fans, is superficial and facile.

It is kicking a team and a fan base when they are down and it looks more like spite and vindictiveness than anything resembling the best interests of the game.

So you can run on for a long time, getting by myriad ways, and it is the nature of sports fans to boast when their team is up. But sooner or later you’ll be brought down. So best be careful how you go when things are up, because how you carry yourself in the good times says as much about what kind of person you are as what you do when the days get dark. 

Grant Logo

Find out more information at www.canada.ca


  • The GREAT Walter White

    All you need to know:

    Oilers finishes second last in the league again…

    Oilers set the record for the lowest win % over a decade of any team in the history of the NHL…

    Oilers tied the record for consecutive years out of the playoffs…

    Oilers won just 17 of the 45 games McDavid played….

    The rest is just filler.

    WW

    • Danoilerfanincalgary

      I’m not really sure why you are so concerned with the Oilers you have enough issues with your own team. Thanks for your input though as short sighted as it may be. Some people just take pleasure in others difficult situations tough way to go through life. Hope everything is ok in your life though WW. if kicking others while they are down makes you feel better then I feel bad for you.

      • DoubleDIon

        You poor victim. Did someone say your team isn’t very good? You should reply with a sanctimonious message on the internet and tell them they’re just upset about their real life…. Oh Wait….

        • JimmyV1965

          People are weird. I go on the sites of other teams all the time and never would I ever started posting crap about how bad they are and how craply their fans are. I wonder what’s wrong with a person like this? I don’t get it. Who does this kinda thing?

      • Cfan in Vic

        “I’m not really sure why you are so concerned with the Oilers you have enough issues with your own team.”

        It’s an article summarizing the Oiler’s season. As one-sided as it is, the WW post was completely relevant. Are you surprised about this type of response, given that this is a cross-nation post (read onFlamesnation)?

    • CaptainLander

      All you need to know

      In the last decade Stanley Cup winning teams do not include

      1, Edmonton Oilers
      2, Calgary Flames
      3, Vancouver Canucks
      4, Every Other Canadian teams.

      The rest is just filler.

      CL

  • Scarface

    Rex, I can’t handle your slant. Your knowledge of the other Canadian teams you review is below an acceptable level. You base it on a few numbers then put it out as the gospel. Certainly you’re not actually watching these teams play. Your undying love for the Oilers is equally poor journalism. Every team faces injuries, key ones at that. What injuries do often exploit is the lack of team and organizational depth, and highlight the reliance on certain individuals. You claim Oiler fans don’t deserve the backlash they are facing now. What you fail to acknowledge is that they make the bed they sleep in. Their off seasons are full of celebrating #1 overall picks and boasting top 6 forwards. To speak generally about that fanbase as a whole, humility and modesty are not part of their repertoire.

    • fran huckzky

      Your post is the first time I have ever heard of a fan web site described as JOURNALISM. If I want journalism I will read the Wall Street Journal and not Oilers Nation.

    • Atta boy, lump all Oilers fans in to the same boat. Who is the one with the slant here?

      Sounds like you have been sucked in by the Oilers fans who actually post unrealistic expectations on blog sites, and the even smaller number of fans who are “celebrating #1 overall picks and boasting top 6 forwards”.

      Thank you for speaking “generally”…

    • RexLibris

      No worries.

      Thanks for reading the article(s). I’m curious though what you feel an acceptable level of knowledge is though.

      For instance, I’m currently doing an officiating review (more on that later) and last night re-watched the final EDM/VAN game where Craig Simpson mentioned that Brossoit was drafted in the 5th round (it was the 6th) and that Nugent-Hopkins’ career with the Oilers is still young (it’s been 5 years).

      There are countless other examples of people paid to comment on hockey and watch games to an extent few fans could match but who routinely get the relatively mundane details wrong.

      With regards to watching the teams play, I don’t watch every game. I can’t. But I watch almost as many Flames games as I do Oilers games, maybe 65% of the season, and fewer Canucks games due to broadcast restrictions and the like.

      I try to make up for that by digging into player performances going back three years to determine a general trend and then rate that against scouting reports and team deployment strategies and habits to determine where they might go.

      It is by no means perfect, but I’ve certainly looked into the teams I choose to write about to an at least modest if not in-depth extent.

      Now the one thing I will take issue with here is when you say the fans made their bed. No, they didn’t. They cheered on their team and celebrated a 1st overall pick (four times, unfortunately, but there you have it). Fans get excited about prospects and the draft, regardless of their loyalties because on that day you get to add another name, another person to your tribe. And we love them because they are one of us now, fans dream about what the future might hold for them.

      Picking a player 1st overall is only going to heighten that excitement.

      Further to your point, fans don’t make trades, they don’t hire or fire coaches. They don’t make decisions on ice time or defensive schemes, and they don’t inform the team at the draft table.

      The argument is often put forward that if a team does poorly then fans should boycott them until they do well. I think this fundamentally misstates the relationship between a fan and a franchise. The loyalty shown to the Oilers by their fans is, at times, undeserved. And far from the fans being a blind rubberstamp to everything the team has done wrong these past ten years, some of the most insightful and excoriating criticism of the team and franchise has come from people who would identify readily and without pause as being fans of the Oilers.

      So perhaps we are both speaking about the fan base generally and as a whole, but I prefer to give a fan community, any fan community, the benefit of the doubt.

      • DoubleDIon

        I don’t agree with the people who take pot shots at the bloggers here. You usually do a good job Rex even if you do cheer for the most hapless organization in pro sports.

        I disagree with a couple of your points, but in general your opinions have some thought and reasons behind them which is all I ask of people I discuss hockey with.

        I think you missed a big part of the problem in Edmonton in your post though, it can’t be quantified or charted. There is little/no accountability in the locker room outside of McLellan. I get trying to fit players into the age group of your core, but there’s something to be said for acquiring a professional who might be in the 27-31 year old window and is actually a top end NHLer. You’ve tried it with bottom pairing defensemen and 4th line forwards but haven’t with a top end player.

        If I’m PC I’m acquiring 2 defensemen this summer. One who fits into my core age group and another who can lead these blind boys and help them become pros while playing on my top pairing.

        I also disagree with you on Eberle. I’d ship his behind out of town even if all I got in return was cap relief. Him and Yakupov are two guys I’d get rid of for sure for different reasons. Yakupov is trying, but can’t figure it out. He cares but has no on ice brain. Eberle is the opposite. He knows what he should do and steadfastly refuses to do it. Can’t have a guy like that being a leader on your team.

        • RexLibris

          …even if you do cheer for the most hapless organization in pro sports.

          I’m not a Cubs fan. 🙂

          True though, the last ten years have been…trying.

          Good points, thank you.

          My take on the injuries is that STL went to war with four top-four defensemen, found a fifth in Parayko, and had an established coaching system and roster. (Check http://becauseoilers.blogspot.ca/ for information on defensive depth for teams, STL looks really good here)

          MGL used to post regular charts that showed not only games missed by the possession impact of those players and EDM had by far the largest loss until the very end of the season when NJD began to creep up.

          If you’re going into a gunfight with a pcoket knife and you get there to realize you accidentally picked up the bottle opener by mistake on your way out the door, things aren’t going to end well for you.

          With regards to Eberle and Yakupov, I think one or both are likely gone this summer if Chiarelli can’t solve the right-handed defenceman issue any other way.

          Sometimes fans are too close to the players to “see” attitude problems or the like, so I try to take these things in context and keep an eye out for evidence in the future.

          Jason Demers is the FA target, but they need two and then you are looking at Hamonic or Vatanen. Either one will cost you a winger, the former likely being the more costly to acquire.

          Thanks for reading.

        • Jarome Iginla is to old for the 27-31 years old window but it would be interesting if he finished his playing career with his birthplace team Edmonton Oilers as a player-coach to bring in the kind of locker room atmosphere you think is lacking.

          • DoubleDIon

            Jarome probably isn’t good enough at this stage. I’d be looking for a guy who can play 23-25 minutes on the blueline.

            Iginla has been similar to many of the Oilers stars the past 7 years or so. All offense with no consideration to the benefit to the team that being a 200 foot player brings.

            Ideally you want that player to solve a team need while providing leadership. Iginla gives you another one dimensional shooter. He’s an old version of Eberle.

          • DoubleDIon

            Yup. Iginla hasn’t played defense in almost a decade. He was a solid 200 foot player until 28 or 29 but hasn’t been in a long time. He was a physical player until 32 or 33 but hasn’t been in a long time.

            The “do you actually watch hockey” question is a stupid one. If anyone cares enough to post here then they watch hockey. Look at the data on Iginla, they tell the same story I’m telling you now and I saw every game he ever played with the Flames and a lot of them since.

            Iginla had 70 hits this year in the second most generous hit stat rink in the league behind LA. 2001 Iginla would have double or triple that number.

  • Crazy Flames

    Why would Chiarelli deny being in on the Jones trade. RNH for Jones would’ve been a steal for for the Oilers. I think RNH is a pretty good player but certainly no Johansen.

    Denying that you were trying to make a deal for Jones makes you look like an incompetent GM. Oilers need help on the back end. Oilers have an entire team of first round draft picks and still are no good. Vis a vis trade one of these players for a good young dman. Certainly wouldn’t have made them any worse….

    Or maybe it was like the Hamilton situation where no teams want to deal with the Oilers just because they are the Oilers and get plenty of help from the lottery anyways.

  • Natejax97

    We have the opportunity this year to finally get our long term franchise D-man, and to have full control at a reasonable salary for the next 7-8 years.

    I hope we draft Chychrun. Even if we trade down to get him.

    Franchise D-men are not available for trade, they are almost always drafted and developed.

    All this talk about Barry, Shattenkirk, even Hamonic…all of these options are unlikely, if not impossible with what we have on the trading block and we will likely lose the trade.

    Chychrun would provide our Aaron Ekblad / OEL for years to come.

    Trades will be made to improve the D over the summer, but a franchise guy is not coming our way, they need to be drafted and developed.

      • Natejax97

        No…trades will be made to improve the D. But Ekblad, Doughty, Subban, OEL, are not coming back on any trade for a winger, or even a centerman.

        If you latch onto Hamonic, that is great. Does he fix everything? No but he would go a long way. And if we can clear cap space in the deal, what a win!

        All I was getting at is I believe a franchise defenseman needs to be drafted and developed. Yes there are no guarantees, but please draft a d-man this year.

        What does the future of this hockey club look like? At some point, to win, we need a Shea Weber/Drew Doughty/Zdeno Chara/Duncan Keith type defenceman. The sooner we get that guy in our system, and the more of them we have, the better.

    • With the emergence of Parakyo who they’ll need to resign next year, I actually do think Shattenkirk is available, who will also need a re-up next year. I think if I’m the Blues manager I trade Shattenkirk with one year left on his deal because he has a lot more value, AND he’ll be the more expensive re-up option over RFA Parakyo. Plus, Shattenkirk has a lot of injury history.

      So, considering they already have a better cheaper replacement, and his value is high but not unobtainable, I do that deal with Edmonton and pick from either a skilled forward or a high draft pick or a mix of both.

      But, for my money, it’s still Hamonic, the fits for both teams is just too great. Looks like Okposo will hit the open market, how do you replace that? With Eberle. Yes you lose Hamonic, but you still have Leddy, Boychuck, Hickeny, and a fast developing de Haan. That’s a pretty strong top four with the emergence of Hickeny. I could stand to lose a 20+ point shut down D man for a 70 – 80 point winger from a crap team. Tavares to Eberle… IN THE EASTERN CONFERENCE NO LESS! All day.

      • DoubleDIon

        70-80 point winger? Are you trading them Hall instead of Eberle? Eberle is not a 70-80 point winger. He’s averaged 58 points over his last three seasons with a high mark of 65. He’s a 47-65 point winger that plays no defense and is butter soft.

        If he was a 70-80 point winger like Hall you wouldn’t trade him for Hamonic. Just like the Islanders won’t trade Hamonic for Eberle.

        • Well I mean he did get 76 in 78 games one year. But you’re right, I may have bumped up a bit. However, how many points you think he gets playing on a line with McDavid or Tavares.

          I guess you are saying the Islanders wouldn’t take Eberle for Hamonic? Are you an Islanders fan? Do you just hate Eberle? If you’re going by last three, Okposo’s averaged 61, so… 3 more. That seems like a one for one trade to me. Yes, Eberle is softer than Okposo, but I don’t really think Okposo is really known for his defensive acumen or work ethic either.

          Looking at the RW free agent list, not seeing anyone of Eberle’s caliber outside of Okposo.

          But you might be right, time will tell I guess if the Islanders make that trade this summer. I do think Hall is a gross overpayment. What do you think would make a good trade?

          • DoubleDIon

            A good trade would be Nurse. I do hate Eberle yes, I think he’s the poster boy for Oilers futility. I have no time for players like him.

            He played with McDavid btw, so I don’t know how playing with Tavares will magically make him better as I think McDavid is already the better offensive player.

            I’m not an Islanders fan, I just know that top pairing defensemen don’t get traded for one dimensional 60 point wingers. If the Islanders want a 6 million dollar winger they can just give it to Okposo.

            Yes Okposo is better defensively and more physical than Eberle. Pretty much every NHL player is better defensively and more physical than Eberle. Eberle compares more to Ribeiro than Okposo.

          • JimmyV1965

            Okposo gets hurt all the time. Ebs has outscored him over the last five years. Okposo has one healthy season, during his contract year. Say what you want Okposo is more physical and such but Ebs is a better goal scorer.

  • Hockey Buddha

    This team absolutely needs to be fixed this summer. It has the assets to address its needs. Every team runs into injury trouble. It’s unfortunate, but it’s a reality. As compelling a case as the injuries are, the defense is the main issue. It’s not the players fault. We ran too many inexperienced players back there to win. We have a lot of nice things back there right now, and the forwards have improved their man coverage considerably this season, but we need some more maturity and stability on the blueline to be truly competitive. Should be an interesting summer and a fun ride next season. Oiler players and fans deserve playoff hockey. This city will be nuts.

    I really hope the team becomes the envy of the league in response to its many critics. The fans, in general, are certainly deserving it.

  • I don’t buy the argument that if the Oilers were just a deeper team they would be fine. But I could be wrong. I do know St. Louis was also really beat up this year, AND playing in the tough as nails central div. So I look at that and say, yes, that is an example of a very deep team that sustained injuries to key players like Shattenkirk, Petrangillo, Allen, Elliot, Lethora, Gunnerson, Stasny, and Parayko. I still don’t think that quite compares to the Oilers and the lengthy list of key people, AND how long those key people were gone. The main difference I see is that their forwards, especially their stars stayed relatively healthy, whereas their defence did get hit but they had the depth or the goal tending to see it through.

  • Valar Morghulis

    “They’re like the punchline to a joke that has long stopped being funny.”

    No, it is the joke that keeps on giving. Just like the trolls that come on here trying to make us feel bad or something. We know we suck. All you guys do is make yourselves look like complete asses.

    • RexLibris

      This article, and the comments, are running concurrently on FlamesNation and OilersNation, so we’ll get to troll each other without leaving our own backyards!

      Yay.

  • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

    Good read Rex.

    Tell me, who’s your 6 million horse to get traded this summer? I don’t see any senario where one possible two don’t get traded.

    • RexLibris

      If someone leaves it’ll likely be Eberle with a FA replacement added to Chiarelli’s summer shopping list.

      Lowetide would prefer they acquire two RHD without touching the forwards, and while I agree, I’m not sure how Chiarelli goes it unless he’s got some very creative trade solutions in his back pocket.

      • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

        Yes, I read his blog regularly as well, I just don’t know where the cap relief comes if you don’t send one 6 million dollar player away.

        Although, I was opposed to trading Eberle for Hamonic as some have suggested on both blog sites, after watching Hamonic in these playoffs, whomever gets this guy they’re getting a tough, in your face, hard as hell D-man, I’d trade Eberle for him.

        • RedMan

          I am assuming you meant you’d trade Eberle AND a first round pick or Eberle AND Draisitle and 2 seconds… because, you know, other teams realize the value of Eberle on a 6M contract.

          I KNOW you do not expect a team to part with a top pairing D-man for a guy that doesn’t play a 200 foot game and leaves everyone wanting more – a reclamation project for sure that costs 6M!!!

          Heck, the Oilers wouldn’t trade their OWN best D-man, who is a second pairing #3 guy, for a guy like Eberle straight across!

          So, Eberle + what pics + what prospects?

  • vetinari

    @RexLibris

    I want to complain about something but all the trivial reasons have been taken by the non-Oiler fans– can you suggest something to b!tch about? I’m lazy that way and figure that however you respond, they’ll come back for a second helping of b!tchstew…

  • Ed in Edmonton 1

    Excellent article.

    WRT extra hate for the Oil’s fans due to the team’s failure, some phsych grad student could probably write a thesis on it.

    My theory is that there is an expectation that no tem can remain unsuccessful with so many top drafts and a generational talent. And that is what ticks people off.

    No the for Cubs fans, no-one expects them to get better.

  • Oiler Al

    I would not apologize for a first overall pick!

    After all we earned that privilege by being losers for the past ten years.

    It is not the fans fault that the team has a meddling owner , fronted by idiots who should not have been in charge of a beer league team.!

    People in hockey land seem to think that Oilers planned a “tanking strategy” over the past many years.

    Not so…… it was utter, incompetence at its highest level.

    The perpetraters are still noxiously roaming the halls on Kingsway.

    Here’s hoping for that NO. 1 pick.

    • TKB2677

      If the league didn’t change the rules, the Oilers would not have got the first pick in the Yakupov draft or the McDavid draft. I honestly think that if the Oilers would not have fluked out and won the McDavid draft, no one would care right now.

  • DieHard

    Our problem over the last 6 or so years is pretty obvious to everyone. Our drafting after the first round pretty much sucked. A few exceptions but the exceptions are not extraordinary. Our drive for big and skilled did not pan out. Our second round choices were just plain stupid. Oh, and by the way make sure you only draft left-shot defense-men because you can never have enough. – end rant-

  • TKB2677

    Any season where you can rid yourself of J. Schultz and get an asset back that isn’t a horrible contract, the season has to be considered somewhat of a success doesn’t it?

    Next up, Yakupov!

        • Hockey Buddha

          Seguin is highly skilled, but he’s got a lot of growing up to do. I’m glad we selected Taylor over Tyler; Tyler wouldn’t have fared well in our fishbowl. A lot of those antics would be very difficult to ignore.

          • DoubleDIon

            Edmonton is a fishbowl? I always thought it was more of a toilet bowl… Just kidding Oiler people. Edmonton’s media scene is really easy on the players. More so than any other Canadian market I’d say. Hall or Seguin is a question with no bad answer. Yakupov was the bad pick the team made. They actually should have drafted Murray even though he didn’t work out in hindsight.

        • DoubleDIon

          Which player like that do you have? This year there was one player like that in the league. The Oilers certainly don’t have anyone like that. Hall is the closest to PPG at 0.79 and put in effort defensively, but he reads the defensive play very poorly and I’d say he’s average at best defensively as a result.

  • Draft Dodger

    Hey Rex, loved the article,

    Really looking forward to your review of officiating.

    I started writing a piece on the lack of professionalism demonstrated by NHL referees in the current season. Inspired by the reaction to James Neal’s dive 12/7/15 and Francois St. Laurent laughing after ejecting a clearly frustrated Paul Maurice.

    One of the avenues I investigated was the potential for an age problem among NHL referees. Doesn’t seem to be a lot of research into it. – There’s some out there on soccer referees where they improve with experience until a certain age, then bias sets in and they get worse.

    Like many a wanna-be writer I didn’t complete the article. If the table is useful to you or interesting to anyone else, here it is:

    All active referees list taken from http://www.scoutingtherefs.com

    Ages taken from NHL Officials Association list where available and google’d for relevent news sources otherwise:

    http://www.nhlofficials.com/featured_officials.asp

    Average NHL referee age: 41.7 years

    Max Age: 57
    Min Age: 29

    Jersey# Name Age

    2 Hasenfratz, Mike 49

    3 Leggo, Mike 51

    4 McCauley, Wes 44

    5 Rooney, Chris 40

    6 Charron, Francis 32

    8 Jackson, Dave 52

    9 O’Rourke, Dan 44

    11 Sutherland, Kelly 45

    12 St. Pierre, Justin 44

    13 O’Halloran, Dan 52

    14 LaRue, Dennis 57

    15 Hebert, Jean 33

    16 Pochmara, Brian 40

    17 L’Ecuyer, Frederick 39

    18 Kimmerly, Greg 51

    19 Dwyer, Gord 39

    20 Peel, Tim 50

    21 Luxmore, TJ 31

    22 Hebert, Ghislain 35

    23 Watson, Brad 55

    24 Skilliter, Graham 31

    25 Joannette, Marc 47

    26 Martell, Rob 53

    27 Furlatt, Eric 45

    28 Lee, Chris 46

    29 Walsh, Ian 44

    32 Kowal, Tom 48

    33 Pollock, Kevin 46

    34 Meier, Brad 49

    36 Morton, Dean 48

    37 Rehman, Kyle 38

    38 St. Laurent, Francois 39

    39 Romasko, Evgeny 34

    40 Kozari, Steve 43

    41 Lemelin, Mark * 34

    42 Brenk, Jake * 34

    43 Chmielewski, Tom * 29

    44 Nicholson, Kendrick * 33

    45 Mclsaac, Jon * 33

    46 Lewis, Dave * 33

    47 Hanson, Trevor 33

    48 Rank, Garrett * 29

    • RexLibris

      That’s a really interesting take. I know the NHLOA has been actively moving people into the system to try and stem the tide of retiring officials, but a generational gap is a very intriguing option to explore. If you do write it please let me know via twitter, I’m @CodexRex.

  • beloch

    You’ve probably heard the old Alberta saying, “Please God let there be another oil boom. I promise I won’t piss it away this time!”. Well, there’s one for Alberta NHL teams too: “Please God let us have league average goal-tending again. I promise I won’t piss it away this time!”.

    Readers of this site are all too familiar with the circus side-show that has been goal-tending for the Flames since Kipper retired. Well, the Oilers’ goal-tending was actually worse (0.891 vs 0.897!!!) last season than the Flames’ goal-tending has been this season. Arguably, this was by design. MacTavish brought in two untested backups and they immediately stank up the crease. He rode those two mules for the entire season, right to the #1 pick. It does reek of deliberate tanking but, then again, MacT did trade Dubnyk away for Matt Hendricks. The man clearly knows nothing about goalies.

    The Flames’ situation this season was slightly more complex. They started the season with two goalies who had proven they were competent NHL starters, but both unexpectedly stank. Ramo eventually worked himself into shape only to be injured. Hiller never did recover and is done in the NHL. Given how well he played last season, who saw that coming? I didn’t. To say his decline has been precipitous is like saying the rockies are a little bumpy. This complexity makes it hard to accuse the Flames of deliberately tanking this season.

    Fortunately for the Oilers, Cam Talbot has actually been good. 0.917 is actually a bit above average. They need a better backup, but Talbot is clearly their man going forward. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the rest of the team needs to improve that much more. Winning the draft lottery with a handicap of Fasth and Scrivens is one thing, but potentially winning it again with a goalie like Talbot is just damning for the rest of the team, even considering their injuries! As craptastic as the Oilers were last season, they had to be that much worse this season to actually drop a position in the standings with greatly improved goal-tending.

    Given the painfully public struggles with attitude and commitment the Oilers’ have had this year, I think Chiarelli is likely going to blow this team up good. Aside from McDavid and Hall, nobody on this team is safe. There are lots of players who might do better with a change of scenery, but the fact that they’re unlikely to do better in Edmonton is a huge problem. They’ve changed management. They’ve changed coaches. The Oilers are still oiling. It’s time to take off and nuke the entire wretched roster from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

  • Smuckers

    One year ago today, just a few days after winning the McDavid lottery I remember listening to Bob Stauffer interviewing Craig MacTavish. I cringed as usual as I could not stand hearing that buffoon go on and on about a decade of run and gun hockey to come. That guy could not manage the team out of a wet paper bag!

    My attitude brightened shortly after the interview as Stauffer made mention of the rumours that Peter Chiarelli was spotted in Edmonton. The fact that MacTavish was unaware his job was in peril seemed quite in line with his clueless assessment of talent.

    Now it remains to be seen what Chiarelli can do this summer. But after taking the advice of Bob Green and others of the former management group to trade for Reinhart, I think it would be prudent for him to clean house prior to the draft this year.

    • More than prudent , it is vital if we are ever to attract any good free agents. Pronger got all the press, but every single free agent from the 06 cup run couldn’t get out of town fast enough, Peca , Samsanov, Tarnstrom , Spacek and Dvorak. To be fair Peca had said as soon as he was traded he would head back east for family reasons, but for the rest we are left to assume that either the players, their agents or both, recognized that the 3 stooges got lucky and it would be best to leave as they could see where this would end up. That these guys that couldn’t find their ass with both hands to still be drawing a paycheque in any capacity is absolutely ludicrous, and why the hockey world still thinks we are a laughing stock and will continue to do so, until they are permanently turfed from the organization. Cant see Katz firing Lowe and I cant see anything changing as long as Lowe and his band of unqualified cronies has anything to do with our once proud franchise.

  • BobbyCanuck

    I have heard that at least 8 teams are looking to acquire a #1 RHD. That is a lot of competition

    Cannot see Chia being successful unless he overpays or retains salary.

    There are only two players on our team that would get us a #1 or #2 RH D-man straight across, anything else would have to be a bundle of players. One of those two players getting traded would surely get Chia stabbed in some back alley

    Lets just pray that Hawks/Kings get blown out next game, and their GM decided to blow up the team.

    Seabrook/Keith/Doughtey passes to McDavid for a break away…swooooonnn

    Hey, we can dream

    • The GREAT Walter White

      Isn’t Wideman a righty?

      He would be a #1 D on at least one “NHL team” I can think of….

      We should get a much better return than we got for Russell!

      WW

      • Keepyourstickontheice

        Hmm, a 32yo RHD with 1 year left on a contract, sad to say but yeah we could use him. We’ll take him for Musil+ Gazdic + 3rd round pick but you’d need to retain 1.5 mil on his contract.

        No way you’re getting the crazy value you managed to get out of Dallas for that puck magnet though.

  • Cool Story, Brodie!!!

    Listen guys, if things had been a little more mcdavid and a little less mcdavid, then things could have turned out mcdavid. But you know what they say ” if mcdavids and mcdavids were mcdavids and mcdavids we’d all have a merry mcdavid”