Oh, you think the tank is your ally. But you merely adopted the tank; I was born in it, molded by it.

Can you believe we’re talking about this again? Just a little under a year ago we were throwing a REST IN PEACE DECADE OF DARKNESS party to celebrate the fact that the nightmare year of futility was over. Unfortunately, we’re back at square one. The Oilers are in the discussion for yet another first overall pick.

This season has arguably been the most disappointing one in Oilers history. The only one that comes close for me is the 2006-07 season. Coming within one win of the Stanley Cup, Chris Pronger demanding a trade a few days later, then the team struggling, Ryan Smyth getting dealt at the trade deadline, and the following implosion was a hell of a whirlwind, but I think we were all geared up for a prolonged series of Oilers success after what we witnessed last spring.

There’s another thing about that 2006-07 team that makes them worth mentioning. The Oilers dealt Ryan Smyth on Feb. 27, 2007. After that, they lost 12 games in a row. They beat Colorado in a shootout, then lost six more, and finished their season with a 3-2 win over Calgary. They went down 2-0, but battled back before Patrick Thoresen buried the game-winning goal in the third.

That win put them in a tie for fifth-last in the league with the Chicago Blackhawks. Chicago won fewer games, so they ended up in the draft lottery. Their name got drawn. They drafted Patrick Kane. Edmonton got Sam Gagner sixth overall.

That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday question. Do you embrace the tank? Is it better for this group to lose as many games as they can in order to improve their lottery odds? How do you do it? Or is it better for the team to play with some pride and try to end the season on a positive note?

At this moment, the Oilers are in 27th place in the league. They’re only eight points up on Arizona for 31st. Buffalo is right down there with the Coyotes, but the Canucks and Canadiens are in the hunt too.

Unfortunately, the league is trying to ensure that teams don’t actively try to lose games to get the first overall pick. This year, the 31st team only has an 18 per cent chance at choosing first overall. 30th is 12.5 per cent, 29th is 10.5 per cent, and then the odds slowly get smaller. You can only drop three spots in the draft order, like we saw last year with Colorado slipping down to fourth overall despite winning like six games all season.

So even if the Oilers somehow manage to out-tank teams like Buffalo and Arizona, their odds to choose first overall aren’t that high. If the lottery were today, the fifth-last Oilers would have an 8.5 per cent chance, while the Coyotes would, like I said, have an 18 per cent chance. Go fool around with lottery simulator and you’ll be shocked at how many random teams you get.

This is an interesting thing to think about with the trade deadline approaching. At this point, it’s obvious the team should sell. But beyond the inevitable of selling impending UFAs Mark Letestu and Patrick Maroon to playoff teams, what else can the team do? Shut down Oscar Klefbom, who appears to be playing through an injury? Let Connor McDavid relax in Mexico?

I’d love to see Jesse Puljujarvi, Anton Slepyshev, and JJ Khaira get more top-six ice time, but, honestly, is that even going to help the losing effort? Personally, I would prioritize the growth of those players over the Oilers losing a bunch of remaining games to improve their draft lottery odds by six per cent.


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    • OTOF2

      Not sure if this is meant to be sarcastic? One player certainly can’t fix this mess. Didn’t everyone say McDavid would be enough to lift the Oilers? But ok sure one rookie defencemen will surely be enough to bring a 27th place team to the cup!!

      • Father of the Marshalsea

        My point is that if we are to believe the scouts, Dahlin is a bonafide number one D right off the bat. Add that to McDavid and you would have to be an idiot not to win a cup at some point, a la Chiarelli.

        • Father of the Marshalsea

          I’m not saying the Oilers deserve this but just looking at possible Dahlin McDavid lead team, it’s clear that it’s almost foolproof.

      • Father of the Marshalsea

        And in case your wondering I’ve considered Chia an idiot since the Seguin trade, everything else has just he’s done has just been the icing on the cake.

  • OilersGM

    I still remember the Sam Gange draft when every broadcast said the best player left available is Jakub Voracek and of course the Oilers took Gange
    Since the mid 90’s this organization has been the worst in the draft and it’s not even close. And we wonder why we are where we are.

  • For my own sanity, I have decided to embrace the tank. It makes me feel better about all of the losing. Is it best for the team? Probably not, can’t imagine getting mollywhopped is great for confidence, but being rewarded with Dahlin could make everyone forget the pain. Maybe.

    • Odanada

      It ain’t easy playing for the Oilers. Perhaps it’s better for Dahlin if he lands elsewhere.
      I don’t have a ton of faith in the developmental system under current management. It’s a great place to play win, but the fans have had enough of losing and the bush league 80s Oilers legacy management team/style. They need leadership that stresses ownership and personal responsibility from the top down. As it is, this is a culture run by old boys who are better at working the room than they are spotting, signing and developing solid players.

  • toprightcorner

    I don’t understand why people want to see Slepychev and Khaira play in the top 6, they are not close to top 6 players at this time and they have not done anything to make you think they will be. Khaira should be 4th line center next year and make him force his way up the lineup, no need to rush him by putting him on the 3rd line. Sleppy has a great shot and can really skate but he has to work on his decision making.

    Gt Khaira as much PK time as possible to give him experience so hopefully he can become a solid contributor there next season. Give Sleppy some PP time where he can use his shot and maybe give him some minutes on the 2nd line from time to time.

    McLellan needs to see if these players can excell at the position they should be playing next season, not ahead of where they will play. If they can’t succeed where they “should” slot in, then that is a hole that needs to be addressed.

  • Heschultzhescores

    All this Dahlin talk. Give me a break! Chances are slim we get him and chances are if we get him we ruin him. I’m thinking guys like Dahlin might tank to avoid the Oilers organization….I mean disorganization.

    • jultz=2cups!😂😂

      How can dahlin tank? Please elaborate. And if the oilers stay slotted where they are, their chances are better than “slim”. Or do you not completely understand how the draft and lottery work? It’s really quite simple. But judging by the majority of your comments, I don’t expect you to understand. You’re a fairweather fan on your best day.

    • Jaxon

      Devils were in same place as Edmonton last season and won the lottery (8.5% chance to pick 1st overall, and 25.9% chance to pick top 3). Flyers were 13th last and won 2nd overall pick (7.2% chance to pick top 3). Stars were 8th last and won 3rd overall pick (18.3% chance to draft in top 3). So Edmonton definitely has a chance. They are tied for 3rd last right now with Montreal and Ottawa. 3rd last had a 30.7% chance to pick top 3, and a 10.3% chance to draft 1st overall.

  • polarcap

    Forget the tank. It can cement a losing culture. The only case where it may make sense is, if you are prepared to clean house ie get rid of PC and MacT so that new management doesn’t wear a losing. The lack of depth in the organization in the minors and among prospects means that the oilers are fragile.

  • Boom76

    Question: Would you trade Draisaitl for Karlsson?

    Then we would have McJesus (C1), RNH (C2), Khaira (C3/4), ? and Karlsson-Larsson, Nurse-Klefbom, Sek-whoevs on D?

  • Enough with TANKING! If I had some decent faith in P.C. , this can turn around fairly quickly. A) Competent Back Up to Talbot. B) Need a true to God R.H.D. (I will pound this til I drop, but get Justin Faulk dammit) C) Need MORE SPEED in the top 6. D) DO NOT trade away any PICKS unless you get something big in return. E) I am sick and tired of this mentality of ‘wait til next year’ bullsh$t. NO MORE. Now, I need a rum and Coke 🙂