The Edmonton Oilers fan base has experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows of the past decade in the calendar year 2017. A 103-point regular season, followed by a playoff series win against the San Jose Sharks and a seven-game thriller against the Anaheim Ducks. It seems like five years ago, it was in fact 2017. Losing is exhausting, that’s a fact.
In summer, we discussed the coming season in terms of tweaks and what was needed to make that next step. Although the big news stories of summer were about long-term contracts for Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, the nuts and bolts of procurement included Kris Russell’s signing and the trade of Jordan Eberle for Ryan Strome.
I think Peter Chiarelli decided to audition right-wingers and to muddle through on defense until Andrej Sekera could return. That’s the only reasonable conclusion that can be drawn from this past summer’s activity. Understand, I’m not criticizing it, just stating what I believe to be fact. It’s interesting then to read his reaction to the first 19 games of the 2017-18 season.
- Peter Chiarelli: “We have to get some traction in terms of winning just one game or losing just one. (The) takeaway is general disappointment. There’s your headline.” Source
Among folks who write about the Oilers on a regular basis who are outsiders, I’m probably the most supportive of Peter Chiarelli as general manager. I’ll point to the Reinhart, Hall and Eberle trades as negatively impacting this team, but will also point out Cam Talbot (that was a major trade, although it seems to be framed as a small addition), Patrick Maroon and other moves helped the team.
That said, the quote above seems to run counter to the way Peter Chiarelli set up this club. In acquiring Ryan Strome as a mirror man for Leon Draisaitl (playing C when LD is RW and vice versa) and not adding a more veteran RW, he clearly (at least a little) opened up opportunities for Anton Slepyshev, Drake Caggiula, Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto.
So, I get the idea of general disappointment, but this was a possibility based on the summer’s decisions, right? Mr. Chiarelli went on to say he still believes in this team and that rhymes with his summer moves. But that quote above has me thinking.
If you construct a roster based on several auditions, and the first 20 games include significant failure, can you be disappointed? Is that enough of a sample size? Do you have a right to be disappointed? I’m honestly not sure you do, unless you’re disappointed injuries didn’t allow men like Anton Slepyshev and Drake Caggiula to compete.
There haven’t been any announcements for the Oilers line combinations yet, but we do know that Connor McDavid and Oscar Klefbom both missed yesterday’s practice due to illness. We’ll update the lines as they get announced.
What they’re Saying
From Blackout Dallas:
The Dallas Stars are in an evident bind and it’s all because of a lack of committing to change. They lose, talk about why they lost, and then seem to do the same thing over again in the next game.
Something needs to change. They know that just as much as everyone watching knows. It takes a lot to bring a whole team to committing to change. But once that is accomplished, things turn around quick.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Dallas brings a lot of energy early and the Oilers react in an undisciplined fashion. The Stars score a power-play goal (Jamie Benn) and it’s 1-0 home side after one period.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The second period sees the Oilers come to life and Connor McDavid goes end to end to tie it. No other scoring and it’s 1-1 after two.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The third period features some damned good hockey and great goaltending by Cam Talbot. Edmonton scores a flukey goal (Zack Kassian off the 8-ball and in) midway through the period and Kris Russell scores an empty netter. Oilers win, 3-1, in Dallas! Take that, Mike Modano!
Take home a growler, a crowler, a sixer, a mixer, whatever. Sherbrooke Liquor. Where’s Your Beer?
Source: NHL.com, Official Game Page, 11/18/2017, 12:00pm MST