The 2016-17 Oilers Pre-Season Roundtable

Roundtable

The 2016-17 NHL season is upon us and that means it was, once again, time to sit the writers down, get their thoughts for the upcoming year, and figure out exactly the Oilers are as compared to last year. Fortunately for those of you reading this, we have all the answers to the questions you’ve been wondering about regardless of whether or not the Oilers will take our advice. 

Let the arguments begin!

Record

1) Do the Edmonton Oilers make the playoffs or do they set an NHL record for the longest playoff drought with 11-years out of the postseason?

Jason Gregor:

I say they shock the hockey world and make the playoffs and avoid owning the ugliest record in NHL history all by themselves. I will admit this is a selfish pick. It is hard to rationally explain why they would improve so much, but 11 is my favourite number and I don’t want it tarnished by being a part of such an ugly record.

Lowetide:

I am writing this on October 4th, and do think there is a chance we see one or two roster moves before opening night. At this point, I do not see the Oilers as a playoff team.

Robin Brownlee:

I have them missing the playoffs, but not by double digits and a $5 cab ride, as has been the case too often during this 10-year drought.

Matt Henderson:

The team as it stands while I write this is not a Playoff team. I have concerns about goaltending and defense. The addition of Kris Russell worries me a lot and there are two rookies on the 3rd line. Things can change. People can have career years, but I can’t give this team the benefit of the doubt after a decade of losing.

Chris the Intern:

This is the year the Oilers make the playoffs! The hockey gods are just scaring us with injury problems in the preseason, but we will not repeat what we had last year. This year we’ll have a healthy team, I can feel it!

Baggedmilk:

You know what? To hell with it. I say they make it. I say the Oilers go on some weird run at the end of the season that no one expects and squeek into the 8th spot. I don’t really believe the words I’m writing right now but that’s alright. I’d still bet Gregor’s money on it.

Screen Shot 2016-10-04 at 12.18.55 PM

2) Where do the Oilers finish in the division and with how many points?

Jason Gregor:

They will finish 4th in the Pacific with 92 points.

Lowetide:

I am picking the Oilers to finish No. 5 in the division with 82 points.

Robin Brownlee:

I have them finishing fifth in the Pacific Division with 84 points.

Matt Henderson:

Ahead of Calgary and Vancouver. Mid 80’s for points. That’s a big improvement!

Chris the Intern:

The Oilers will finish fourth in the pacific with 89 points.

Baggedmilk:

I see the Oilers finishing 5th (Canucks and Coyotes beneath them) in the division with 86 points. 

Happy

3) What about the 2016-17 edition of the Oilers makes you excited?

Jason Gregor:

Watching McDavid chase the 100 point total. I love offence and I think he’ll be close to the century mark.

Lowetide:

Connor McDavid is worth the price of admission alone, and I do think he will push for the scoring title if healthy. I am hopeful the defense and goaltending can keep the GA below 230 for the season.

Robin Brownlee:

I think McDavid will take a run at the scoring title if he plays 75-82 games. He’ll improve on that 1.07 PPG of his rookie season. 

Matt Henderson:

82 games of Connor McDavid and Oscar Klefbom excite me a lot. McDavid is such a pleasure to watch. He does things that only happen in video games. I look forward to watching his growth over the next four or five seasons.

Chris the Intern:

I’m excited to have a healthy roster throughout most of the season. I’m excited to see McDavid play more than 45 games, and I’m excited to see Nuge develop into the all-star centerman that he is and have the best season of his career! I’m also excited to see a “big” version of the Oilers, with Lucic and Maroon laying the body out there in full force.

Baggedmilk:

I was at the last pre-season game on Saturday and I was able to stare at Connor McDavid the whole night. Everything about this kid is exciting and I’m really looking forward to watching him get better and better. It’s like Connor is playing another game entirely, and I’m always waiting to see what he’ll do next.

4) What about the 2016-17 edition of the Oilers has you shaking your head?

Jason Gregor:

They still have little depth on their right side defence.

Lowetide:

I do not understand adding only Adam Larsson to the top 6D this summer. I would have thought another move—PP defender who could play top 6D—was a no-brainer.

Robin Brownlee:

I still have questions about the defence as a whole. I think it’s better with Adam Larsson and Kris Russell, but I don’t know if that translates to being good enough.

Matt Henderson:

The third line without Draisaitl and the 2nd pairing with Russell. The Oilers have the chance to go three centres deep with scoring ability. It can be a strength. They also need right handed defenders like mad but they opted for Russell instead. Russell’s NHL career suggests he is substandard in his own zone. This concerns me a lot.

Chris the Intern:

This goes against everything I said in my first question but I’ll always be a little paranoid that the injury bug will strike us. Last year ruined it for me. 

Other than that, the only thing that is really concerning me right now is how all the new guys will mesh. When was the last time we went five games in a row without adjusting the lineups? I hope we can get some solid chemistry going between all the players this season.

Baggedmilk:

A couple things… I’m still nervous about the defense. Yes, the backend is certainly better with Larsson and a healthy Klefbom but is that really enough? It looks like they’re going to be opening the season with six of seven defensemen being left-handed. I also think that Puljujarvi should start the year in the AHL, but it doesn’t look like the Oilers agree.

Surprise

5) With the roster essentially set, what move has surprised you the most?

Jason Gregor:

I had Caggiula as my surprise player to watch at the start of camp, but he’ impressed me even more than I expected. Hopefully he keeps it up. A close second to Pitlick for making the team and having a few strong preseason. Hopefully for his sake he can stay healthy.

Lowetide:

Hall for Larsson was a shocking trade. The Oilers can make it work—there is still plenty of firepower on the roster—but that was a shocker. 

Robin Brownlee:

That the return in the Yakupov trade was as crappy as it was. I knew it wouldn’t be great, but an ECHL guy as the primary return? 

Matt Henderson:

Caggiula has looked a lot better than I thought. I figured he would be pretty good, but not as noticeable as he was in preseason. I was not surprised, but Puljujarvi staying up with the big club disappoints me.

Chris the Intern:

Obviously the Hall trade surprised me the most, and part of me was really hoping that Chia wouldn’t sign Kris Russell. But as usual, we do not have ears inside Chia’s brain, and i’m sure he has his reasons for doing what he does. I was also pleasantly surprised that Caggiula made the team. When we signed him in the off-season I was expecting him to just be another AHL depth player for us, but he’s been very effective for us.

Baggedmilk:

That Puljujarvi seemed to be gifted a spot even though he struggled in main camp. Did they really hate Yakupov that much that they couldn’t have waited to trade him for an ECHLer until Puljujarvi had some time to marinate in the AHL? 

JJKhaira

6) Which player that’s currently on the farm team do you think will make the biggest impact on the 2016-17 roster?

Jason Gregor:

None. **Unless they send Puljujarvi to the AHL to start. I answered this before they set the final roster, but he’d be the only one.** I picked them to make the playoffs and if they do, then none of the AHL guys should be making an impact, the guys who are here should.

Lowetide:

If Jesse Puljujarvi or Drake Caggiula are sent to the minors, they would be the answer to this question. If neither man is demoted, then my answer is Jujhar Khaira. He will fill a fourth line role on the big club. 

Robin Brownlee:

I don’t see an impact player unless the Oilers send Jesse Puljujarvi to the minors in the next day or two. Nobody down there right now is that impact guy.

Matt Henderson:

Jujhar Khaira. I think he had a good camp and looks like he might be an effective 4th liner. There really isnt anyone on the AHL team (while I’m writing this) who looks like a difference maker in the NHL.

Chris the Intern:

Jordan Oesterle has been on the outskirts of the NHL for a long time. I think he’ll be very beneficial to the Condors this year and will likely get some NHL time as well. His puck-moving ability has shown every time he’s played with the Oilers, so I hope he gets some more time up here.

Baggedmilk:

It looks like Caggiula and Puljujarvi are both going to make the opening day roster so maybe a guy like JJ Khaira? He can be a wreckling ball on the ice and I can see him getting the call as soon as someone gets injured. 

ChiarelliQuote

7) How would you rate Peter Chiarelli’s work in his second offseason as the Oilers general manager?

Jason Gregor:

Right now I would say he gets a 7 out of 10. Above average, but time will tell if the moves he made worked out. I expect Lucic and Larsson to be solid,  but it is unclear how much of an impact the other signings/trades will make.

If Caggiula, Versteeg and Russell play well then he’ll look much better. If they don’t and one of Lucic or Larsson struggles then his grade will rightfully plummet.

Lowetide:

I think he paid a massive price to upgrade the defense, making a hugely risky deal. I like Larsson, but the cost was so excessive one wonders if there was any other way. I very much like the addition of Milan Lucic and smaller additions like Drake Caggiula and Matt Benning.

Robin Brownlee:

I understand the willingness to overpay to improve the defence, as was the case in the Taylor Hall-Larsson swap, because it was the top priority. I liked the signing of Milan Lucic, even if it’ll likely prove to be for a year or two too long. I thought he made no-lose bets on extending PTOs to Versteeg and Gryba. He gets a B.

Matt Henderson:

Poor to Extremely Poor. The Hall trade was a disaster in terms of losing value. Lucic’s final two seasons are scary. The Yakupov trade was sending a real NHL player away for nothing. The addition of Kris Russell adds a Trojan Horse to a bad defense. Good news, despite his actions from June forward, the Oilers still might be better. Thank goodness there’s a cure for staph infections and broken bones.

Chris the Intern:

As much as most people hate what he did with Taylor Hall, he still brought in Larsson, Lucic, Caggiula, & Benning. It was a busy summer for him and I think he did a good job. I still have trust in him for the long-term. Just because he signed Kris Russell doesn’t mean we’re all doomed (that’s what I’m telling myself, anyways). I would give him a solid B.

Baggedmilk:

I’m still rattled about the return they got for Taylor Hall. I actually like Adam Larsson more and more as I watch him but I still can’t believe that they couldn’t get a draft pick or something to go with Larsson. I think Versteeg is going to get signed soon enough and I like that Chiarelli added veteran depth, but there are still holes in the lineup. Where’s the power play defenseman? 

ToddMcLellan

8) What advantage does Todd McLellan have going into his second season as opposed to last summer?

Jason Gregor:

He knows the players much better. He won’t have to instill a new system and the players will know what his expectations are. He also has much more experience, ability and speed on his blueline which should lead to less time in the D zone.

Lowetide:

Two things stand out for me. First, I think his roster has some of the utility McLellan finds useful and the team should be able to defend far more effectively than a year ago. 

Robin Brownlee:

Familiarity with returning players — knowing what makes them tick as well as their capabilities and limitations.

Matt Henderson:

He knows exactly what he’s working with for the most part. I can’t think of any other advantage except maybe he’s the only coach with Connor McDavid on his team.

Chris the Intern:

McLellan knows the group much better now. He has extra coaching experience with McDavid and Nuge at the World Cup, and he should have some more confidence from fans around the city. He’s not the “new guy” anymore, so he can relax a little more.

Baggedmilk:

Players that are coming back will already know McLellan’s systems and what he expects from them. I would hope that the familiarity will help the team get off to a better start. 

challenge

9) What is the biggest challenge Todd McLellan will face in his second year in Edmonton?

Jason Gregor:

His blueline. How consistent can they be.

Lowetide:

I think the big issues could surround special teams, which at this point look completely out of sync. The 5×5 possession improved last season and should improve more in the coming campaign. Goaltending lacks the kind of depth a contender would have at this time of year.

Robin Brownlee:

The expectations of fans. It’s just his second year here, but fans are rightfully sick of seeing the Oilers miss the playoffs for a decade. That’s not McLellan’s fault, but it is his problem.

Matt Henderson:

The defense lacks dynamic players and there are two rookies on the 3rd line. There will be more success, but they need a difference maker added to the blueline.

Chris the Intern:

His biggest challenge, again, will be creating a successful defensive system with so many left-handed players.

Baggedmilk:

I think that McLellan will still have a hard time getting the Oilers to be productive on the power play. Yes, Connor is a wizard with a game genie but they still don’t have that big shot from the point. Without that big shot from the blue line it will be easier for teams to defend against the PP.

Reinhart

10) Who will be the first recall option at a) forward and b) on defense?

Jason Gregor:

Forward

Lowetide:

I think Jujhar Khaira and Griffin Reinhart will be the first recalls, although Reinhart remains with the team at this time. 

Robin Brownlee:

It depends a lot on how guys are playing in the AHL at the time, but I will go with Puljujarvi if he is sent down at forward. Griffin Reinhart on defence.

Matt Henderson:

Forward – Khaira, Defender – Oesterle

Chris the Intern:

Once we are returned to a healthy roster, I believe Slepyshev will be the first recall option on forward, and Oesterle will get the call on defense.

Baggedmilk:

JJ Khaira will be the first forward to be recalled and I think Jordan Oesterle will be the first defenseman. Reinhart’s camp was brutal and he shouldn’t be back until he wants it more.

ConnorMcDavid

11) Who will be the top line for Edmonton this year, and how many goals will they score (by player)?

Jason Gregor:

I doubt we see one trio stay together all season, but the top line will be whoever plays with McDavid. I see Lucic and Eberle playing the most with him. 

Eberle 33 goals, McDavid 30 and Lucic 24.

Lowetide:

Lucic-McDavid-Eberle will be the 1line and I will predict 82 goals for the trio.

Robin Brownlee:

As most people do, I expect it’ll be Lucic-McDavid-Eberle. Lucic gets 24. McDavid gets 38. Eberle gets 30.

Matt Henderson:

Lucic (23) McDavid (35) Eberle (33)

Chris the Intern:

Lucic (25G) – McDavid (35G) – Eberle (28G)

Baggedmilk:

Looch – McD – Eberle. I think Lucic finishes with 23 goals, McDavid 31, and Eberle with 36.

McDavidKick

12) What do you expect from Connor McDavid in his second NHL season?

Jason Gregor:

He will be the most exciting player on the Oilers. I’ll say he becomes only the 11th player in NHL history to register 100 points in a season prior to his 21st birthday.

Lowetide:

I think he could hit 90 points and will be in contention for the scoring title.

Robin Brownlee:

I think McDavid finishes in the top five in the scoring race.

Matt Henderson:

I expect he will be top two in NHL scoring, drag this team to a point where they are competing for a Playoff spot until at least the new year, and will win one major award. I think he scores 35-65-100 this season and I know that’s a crazy big number in the modern era of the NHL.

Chris the Intern:

I expect nothing short of 90 points for Connor’s second season, I want him in the running for the Hart, Art Ross, and Ted Lindsay award too!

Baggedmilk:

I expect him to make my eyes fall out of my head on a nightly basis. I honestly think that can push 95 points if he stays healthy all year. The kid is amazing. 

NugeHulk

13) Aside from McDavid, who do you expect to carry the mail offensively?

Jason Gregor:

Eberle has produced the 22nd most points in the NHL over the past five seasons. He needs to be second on the Oilers in scoring.

Lowetide:

The McDavid line will provide most of the offense, but we should expect solid numbers from Nuge, Leon, Benoit Pouliot and Kris Versteeg. I hope Jesse Puljujarvi can supply some offense but it will depend on where he is deployed.

Robin Brownlee:

I think we see a bounce-back season from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and I expect that Oscar Klefbom will lead the blue line in scoring.

Matt Henderson:

Ugh…I think it’s probably Eberle as the next highest scoring player on the Oilers and Nuge as the highest scoring player not on the McDavid line. With the loss of Hall this team doesnt have a ready-made offensive driver. I have Draisaitl scoring less than 50 points this season because Hall isnt there to carry him. Edmonton will score by committee when McDavid is on the bench.

Chris the Intern:

I hope Nuge has an amazing season this year. He’s going to bounce back from his nagging injuries and be a real offensive help this season.

Baggedmilk:

I think Nugey is going to have a big year this year. He looks a little bit bigger, a little bit quicker, and I can see him benefitting from playing behind Connor and an improved (hopefully) power play.

THE SEASON OPENER PARTY

Battle of alberta graphic-01 

After a long summer of arguing and waiting, the NHL season is right around the corner and that means it’s time for us to throw another party. We wanted a second take on last year’s season and decided that we would celebrate the start of the second year of Connor’s reign over Oil Country. Thanks to our friends at AMA Travel, Cornerstone Insurance, the Pint, Oodle Noodle, and United Cycle we’ve got a big night planned for you complete with raffles, swag bags, and two trips (valued at $5000 each) for two to the outdoor game in Winnipeg courtesy of AMA Travel.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Where: The Pint Downtown
  • When: Friday, October 14th at 5pm
  • Why: Because we’ve got a hankerin’ for some partyin’ 
  • How: Tickets are available here

See you on October 14th!
  • oilerjed

    As for Yak, if after two years of trying to unload him, if a 3rd/2nd round pick is the best they could get for him then that should speak volumes about his trade value around the league. He didn’t work out here (much to my sadness) cut bait and move on. At least we didn’t lose him for nothing to the KHL……..

      • oilerjed

        If he was a free agent next year and was traded at the deadline for a 3rd, that would be a win though right? I liked his cheap contract and his style of play but unfortunately no one else in the entire NHL wanted to pay bubkiss(sp?) for him. What are ya going to do? force him into the lineup that he clearly wasn’t feeling apart of? He wanted out and we got something for him that is equitable to a veteran mid range player on an expiring contract. That’s not nothing.

        • WHH

          Value is just in the eye of the beholder. We hear Chia say, that was the going price or that’s all we could get for him. Seems when Chia is dealing we are always on the weak end of the trade according to what he tells us. He has acquired some good free agents, but in my perspective he has lost most trades. Anyway, they got rid of the players McLellan did not want to work with that’s the bottom line.

          • oilerjed

            It’s safe to say that if there was a deal out there for more that Chia would have taken it. Yak was on his way out one way or another. Same with the Hall trade, at some point the trigger had to be pulled and it was. Winning and losing trade stats are only tallied by reporters and fans. As far as a GM is concerned it only matters if the team is heading in the direction they want. If it is then the trade was a win. Right or wrong.

            I think the key is what you said about McLellan, if these moves were made because it gave him the team that he wants, I’m ok with that too. .

            Much better odds then the if it was the team that Kevin or Craig wanted.

          • WHH

            I accept the premise if there was a better trade out there it would be made. However, my concern with Chia is he seems to work with blinders on once he zeros in on a player. For ex. he said he had his eye on Larsson for a long time. He seems to almost force a trade and therefore I challenge that a better return couldn’t have been gained for a different defenceman.

          • nuge2drai

            I question the timing of the trade.

            In 6-8 months, most teams will need to drop their 4th best dman for pennys on the dollar.

            This would be the time to capatalize.

            Chia pushed the trigger prematurely.

          • oilerjed

            Depends on your perspective. Some would say that this was at least a year overdue and in hindsight I guess they were right.

            This years focus seems to be moving on. Chia said he was going to take a year and see who really wanted to be here. After taking that year Hall and Yak were both moved. Obviously from his insiders perspective they were two players that the club were the best to move out. He could have moved RNH or Ebs, both could have been packaged into a very nice deal for someone. But he didn’t.

            I think that says a lot and I think Yak was a continuation of that line of thinking. And whether it will be raining 3-4 defenceman in April or not I lke that Chia’s focus is on getting incrementally better now.

  • McRaj

    Matt, you need to stop being so negative and get over the Hall and Yak trades, and wait until we see Russell on the ice to be such a downer.

    I get your passion and frustration but dude PC is a GM, and you a blogger, and me a fan for a reason. He obviously has knowledge that we do not.

    Maybe let’s give the Oilers 10 or 20 games with this new roster before being so critical.

  • TruthHurts98

    Not that pumped for this season, a huge gaping hole on the right side D. None of Russell, Sekera or Davidson look comfortable on the right side. If Larsson gets hurt the season will be bleak. I’m still hoping PC somehow pulls off a deal at the start of the year to bring in a true RHD that can QB the PP. If that happens I will have hope of the playoffs! Otherwise I’ll predict they finish with around 80 points. The PP needs a boost and Connor can’t do it all himself. PC sat quiet on the waiver wire today and they seem intent on GIFTING JP the RW spot then. Epic fail of an offseason. Blah.

  • FireScorpion

    3 out of 6 predict the Oilers make the playoffs this year with not one good reason as to why.. This is The Year Everyone!!!

    No, no it won’t be..say hello to the 11th and record setting year. Henderson, Brownlee and LT have it right.

  • TruthHurts98

    All we heard leading up to training camp was they won’t make the same mistakes that they did in years past failing to develop rookies. Well here we go down the same road. JP not going to the A to develop. Could have claimed Pulkkinen or Parenteau. Are you kidding me?!? Russell is not much of an upgrade on the D. Fayne downright sucks, same boat as Nikitin. So now there is a TON of pressure on Larsson to perform and stay healthy since he’s their only RHD. SMH. Hall for Larsson and Nail for virtually nothing to gift JP a spot is looking the same old same. The Reinhart deal was pathetic. Svechnikov is going to be a stud LW and they could have drafted him and RHD Brandon Carlo. PC is going to be unemployed if they don’t have a miracle season and rightfully so. End of rant.

  • Strottie

    If the Oilers lay another stinker this season and end up with another high pick, do they draft Liljigren or trade it for immediate help?

    Trash for trade, props for Liljigren.

  • madjam

    The last exhibition game against the Canucks was a good indicator where our team and direction are headed . Our second period dominance in that game was one of the best in last ten years , and is what the team is more capable of throughout season as more chemistry evolves . Just have to get good goaltending and more consistency for a 60 minute game . However , we know from that game that it is there now . We keep playing that dominant throughout an entire game and we could climb to top of division .

    Looks like Jesse being primed in case Eberle under performs . If Jesse pans out then Oilers might soar . Russel brings a good addition to our underperforming transition game , and thus will be more valuable than many think .

    Maybe fans have to transition to games where we now dominate , rather than the team almost always being dominated . Either way we are going to see an Oiler team play differently from last few seasons , and fans will have to adjust .

  • oilerjed

    Last year we could have seen a 10 point improvement if we had had better luck with injuries. That’s only winning one extra game a month over 5 months.

    That does not seem like a huge mountain. The second year of McClellan’s systems being implemented and improvement in our key younger players should win us another 5 games.

    Add in 5 Bettman points and I have the Oil with 95 points and on the bubble.

  • Reg Dunlop

    I caaannn’t believe they traded Hallsy, what am I to do? I feel like Chia tore out the beating heart of the team. Oh, the horror of it all WAAAAAAAAAA.

    Sorry, just trying to fit in at the cool kid’s table with Lowetide and his minions.

    I boldly predict that the oil will narrow the goals for/against ratio substantially and will push back against the gronks of the Pacific like LA BUT will still be out of the playoff hunt by New Years. 75 points.

  • CMG30

    PC gets a C- this off season. His good moves, Caggula and Puljujarvi, fell in his lap. I also give him credit for trying to fix the balance issue this team has had since 2006.

    Sadly, he seems intent on stopping short just like every other season since ’06. The Hall trade was a disaster. Larrson is serviceable as a top pair RHD but in a year when PK and Weber were on the move, PC owed it to a long suffering fan base to shop around. Instead they continue the pattern of firesaling assets that’s plagued this team since the Gretzky trade.

    PC inexplicably left a hole in backup goaltending and failed to plug the hole on 2nd line RHD. Larrson may be an excellent stay at home defender but this team is in desperate need of an offensive defender who is a threat from the point. Connor and RNH need room to work or the PP will continue to be stuck in the mud and the Oil badly, badly, badly, need the PP to start producing if we’re ever going to make the playoffs.

    Plujujarvi seems poised to be gifted a spot on the team despite the fact that Slepeshev had the better camp. Oilers still can’t seem to understand that merit should always trump draft position.

    Lucic is a push. He brings a different look to the top line but the last few years of his contract are going to boat anchor this team.

    For a team that’s poised to set a record for futility this year, we needed much more. Instead they seem content for this train to leave the station a few cars short yet again.

    We are now year two of Connors ELC. The line in the sand must be playoffs. Anything less should mean the entire head office from PC on down gets handed their walking papers.

  • AJ88

    Henderson, I am interested to know what you think the Oilers should have got for Yakupov and why Chiarelli was only able to get what he did. The same question for Hall as well.

  • Total Points

    The Hall trade was a culture change for the Oilers, much like the Subban for Weber trade.

    Yak just had to go after requesting a trade. I have seen in business some companies convince an employee to stay after he/she was offered a job with another company. Usually within a year the employee was gone anyway.

  • A-Mc

    Props to Gregor for committing to a positive 2016-17 Oiler season! I like it! We have a special player in McDavid that we get to watch every night, lets focus on that! #GOilers

    ps: Let it go Henderson. It’s beyond excessive now. I had to unfollow on twitter because almost half of my twitter feed was your repetitive complaints about Hall/Yak/Russell *sigh*

  • fisherprice

    I have very little faith this team is moving out of the basement this year. I’ll be an Oilers fan until I die, but another lottery year already seems to be booked.

    It just speaks to the organizational rot. This notion that this team can only get better if every single prospect hits their ceiling with no safety net at all is the tried and true Oilers way.

    We didn’t have to trade Yak. We could have signed Versteeg earlier, or for slightly more $$ than Calgary did. We could have claimed Parenteau or Pulkkinen, or hey, even both off waivers yesterday. We could have had Eberle, Yak, Versteeg, Parenteau/Pulkkinen, and Kassian all competing for RW time. Instead, our most established RW outside of Eberle is now Zack Kassian. A roster spot was gift wrapped and delivered to Puljujarvi despite a very underwhelming pre-season. What happens if literally anyone gets injured on the right side? Pakarinen in the top 9? Sheesh.

    As for the Gryba signing, yeah, whatever I guess. The fact that we have no better options to sign than Gryba on RD says a lot about this organization’s depth. This is a team that’s starting Kris Russell in the top 4 on his off side. I’d say it’s because we don’t have a better option, but playing Davidson there is a better option.

    The only way the Oilers are sniffing the playoffs this year is if Cam Talbot puts in a Vezina year while McDavid carries the entire offense to the tune of 120+ points. This also needs to happen in conjunction with at least a couple of teams in the conference nose diving out of the playoff standings and for teams like Calgary and Arizona staying stagnant. Let’s just say I’m not hopeful about this season.

    Until management gives me something to be optimistic about, I’m going to remain pessimistic about this team that is on the verge of setting the record for the longest playoff drought in NHL history.

  • Lamar's Javelin

    Matt: you are in the entertainment business. At some point you will have to see that there is a world outside of your view, your perspectives, your opinion. Your writing is taking a serious, negative down turn both here and @ HB. People are noticing. You need to either take a break for a week or two or start to consider things outside of your world’s view. Pull a Costanza and do the opposite of every impulse you have in your writing at the moment. We all appreciate & enjoy your efforts but lately it’s been too negative. Thanks for considering – only writing this because I see value in you and want you to be the best you can be. Cheers.

  • Pouzar99

    I think this should be the place for posters to predict the Oilers points total for the season. Of course, it is impossible to predict things like McDavid’s broken collar bone, Klefbom’s staph infection etc. and this year if Talbot gets hurt or struggles it could throw the results way off, but I’m going to go with 85 points. Last year I predicted 78, which was, I believe the lowest of any one on here, and I still got skunked by 8 points!

    So it’s 85.

    • This team should be better just by having McDavid and Kelfbom healthy if they can last all season. They would have most likely been even better without some of these seemingly boneheaded decisions.

      I’ll go with 89 points