Photo Credit: © Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

What is the Oilers’ biggest need?

The Edmonton Oilers have five games left and then the offseason begins. Roster moves don’t happen until June, but some coaches and general managers go, college free agents sign and the lottery balls are drawn to see who gets the first three picks in the draft. What is the Oilers’ biggest need going into the summer?

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Scoring wingers

Three seasons ago the Oilers had Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and David Perron on their roster. Now, well, they don’t have anyone close to that on the wings.

They’re on pace to have no full-time winger score 40 points this season. Part of that is because Leon Draisaitl has split time between centre and wing. Same with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as of late. Patrick Maroon likely hits 40 in Edmonton if he’s not moved at the deadline. Still, their lack of scoring wingers is alarming.

Maybe RNH plays mostly LW next season, but the right wing is still a huge concern, and no, counting on Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto is not what winning team’s do. The list of upcoming free agents doesn’t show much beyond John Tavares or Evander Kane. They’ll need a better cast of wingers to support their centres next season.

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Right-handed defence

The Oilers strength is at left defence. A combination of Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse, and Andrej Sekera fills out a pretty good left side. A right side of Adam Larsson, Kris Russell, and Matt Benning, however, isn’t enough.

Larsson can play a top-four role, although his skill is limited towards the defensive side. Russell is a third-pairing defenceman that shouldn’t be playing as much as he has. They need a defenceman that can move the puck and play top-four minutes.

NHL Releases Phased Return to Sport Protocol

Finding a right-handed defenceman that can play top-four minutes would be difficult, but necessary. The Oilers could use a winger, but defencemen play and impact the game more than wingers. Benning’s been the Oilers’ fifth defenceman this year and he’s averaged more minutes per game than every Oiler forward not named McDavid, Draisaitl, or Nugent-Hopkins.

A backup goalie that can play 30 games

The Oilers need a backup that can play if needed. Al Montoya isn’t that. He’s had some good games, but they need someone who can push Talbot and provide cover in case of injury or poor play. Out of 69 goalies to play 50 games since 2013-14, Montoya is 51st in save percentage.

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This means not playing Talbot close to 70 games again and having a stronger option than Montoya or Laurent Brossoit.

A new general manager

No team should miss the playoffs with a centre scoring over 100 points. Peter Chiarelli hasn’t built a team good enough around McDavid. He’s lost a significant trade each offseason as Oilers general manager.

His focus on size and ‘heavy hockey’ is misguided in today’s league. The Oilers need a general manager that utilizes the skills of their best asset, Connor McDavid, and his speed and skill. He mismanaged the Oilers’ cap situation, leaving tonnes of space going into the season, as well as adding difficult long-term deals to free agents.

General managers usually get more than three seasons and at least one coaching change before getting fired. Having McDavid in his prime means an organization shouldn’t operate on normal terms.

Edmonton Oilers 2019-20 player review: James Neal
Feb 22, 2017; Sunrise, FL, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) skates with the puck against Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad (5) in the first period at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

I see a right-handed defenceman that can play in the top four and move the puck well and a new general manager as their biggest needs. They need to improve their defence, win trades, and sign some value deals. Chiarelli has lost too much value as Oilers general manager.

McDavid will do his thing with just about anyone. Maybe RNH and Draisaitl form a solid line or RNH continues to play alongside McDavid. The Oilers have options with RNH and Draisaitl’s versatility. A couple good wingers shouldn’t be too difficult to acquire. Defence and management is where the Oilers should focus.

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    • camdog

      How about a coach that knows how to rotate the goalies in and out of the line up? In all my years I’ve never seen an Oiler coach have so much trouble trying to figure it out.

      • Spydyr

        Why do so many people here blame everyone and everything except for Talbot?

        Talbot had one good season , a career year.

        They make excuses like crazy. he just had kids, he played too much last season, it is the coaches fault it is the GM’s fault.

        No, it is Talbot’s fault the he is not a very good goalie.

        • camdog

          You’ll never see another Oiler coach over play a middling goaltender ever again in Edmonton. Talbot was awful until January. Since then his bad games have generally been games where a decent NHL coach plays the back up. I looked at the schedule in November and new Talbot wouldn’t be able to play 5 games in 8 nights in March. I knew this months ago, you might not of but I did.

          • Spydyr

            Brodeur played almost every game in Jersey his time there. Fuhr played season where he played seventy some games. They both won multiple Cups.

            The Oilers had half of February off

            You argument about Talbot being tired effecting his performance holds no weight.

          • camdog

            Why are you comparing Talbot to Hall of Farmers? Talbot could lead league in games played this season (has 62, lead league is 63) and he was injured for a 9 game segment. No goalie has been run into the ground more than Talbot has this season. Defend the coaching staff all you want look at the numbers, look at last years numbers. Talbot is being played like an elite goalie, he’s not elite. He’s a good goalie being mismanaged by a bad coach.

          • Glencontrolurstik

            Man, for the most part I see your point in your comments. But Jeez, you can’t judge any goalie behind the worst penalty kill in NHL history. Anyone watching this team knows full well that it wasn’t the goalie that made this stat. Fix the special teams, then assess your goaltending.
            While I’m at it. The Oiler’s biggest need? Special Teams. I guess that comes down to a coaching staff that’s partly to blame?

          • LAKID

            That would be the GM’s decision and Chia didn’t have to give up any picks as Montoya was going on waivers anyway and there were better goalie tha Talbot on waivers during the year.

          • Glencontrolurstik

            Really? Name one goalie that was available on waivers this year that had at least one Vezina nomination? I think Talbot had 4 nominations last year? McIllheny would have been a great pick-up when he was on waivers as a solid back-up for Talbot. I think that’s it on the Goalie front?

        • Hemmercules

          I honesty think the” having kids” thing holds a bit of merit. Having kids isn’t easy for everyone and it can put a strain on your marital relationship Millionaire or not. Home stress can carry into your everyday work life and money doesn’t solve every problem. I think its harder on some than others for sure. I’m not saying thats what happened to Talbot but I think its possibly part of it.

          That said, I would still like to see another goalie come in to push Talbot for the starting position. Challenges are healthy. Wth so many guys having down years its hard not to think at least a few of them will rebound with a nice season next year.

        • btrain

          If you actually look at the stats you will find Talbot has had one bad season, this season. He is accountable to this season as Renne, Dubnyk, Price, Holtby, Murray, Lundquest, Smith, Bishop, Allen, Anderson, Elliot, Varmolov, Bobrovski, Schneider, etc are all accountable to their subpar season or seasons. It just comes with the territory as an NHL tender. Simply, it is rare for an established NHL starting goaltender to have a career free of any blemished season.

          • Glencontrolurstik

            The goal tender’s job is not to clear the zone on a penalty kill.
            The success of a penalty kill is measured by the effectiveness of keeping the puck away from the net.
            The goalie is the last point of defense on a PK. So no, a teams most important penalty killer is not the goalie. It’s the team in front of the net & the systems they have been taught.
            Relying on a goalie to save you on a PK is why the Oiler’s have had a dismal season.
            You have to realize that a goalie is only as good as the team in front of him. Full Stop.

          • Glencontrolurstik

            In Fuhr’s day, yes. All offense & the goalie. Score more goals than your opponent.
            Hockey is a team sport & less individual play is rewarded. No goalie can do it all anymore.
            You know, I had a thought the other day. Take a fast team full of great prospects from todays game.
            And put them up against the 1984 Oilers. I’d bet you’d have a great game? I really don’t think it’d be a blowout as teams over the years have learned to defend against the style of offense the Oiler’s had. That was the point of difference. It’s not all about the goalie great though. One great goalie does not make a great team. Look at Price as an example. Or Holtby?

        • Rock11

          Nope just not true. More realistically you could say in the three years he has been here he has had 4 bad months. The first two months in his first year were not good and neither were the first two of this year. He was really good the last part of his first year and has recovered well this year. Some more consistency would be nice but he has been more good than bad.

          • Glencontrolurstik

            Great points, cheers… I guess I’m trying to convey that replacing Talbot or bringing in someone in front of him would be a complete waste of assets. Let’s get the other issues fixed first. With better D & special teams our goaltending can look after the net.

        • crabman

          @Spydyr, Talbot has only had 1 bad season, this one. Before coming here he was an exceptional backup. He played 21 and 36 games for NY and was top 5 in save% and GA average in that time. During the 2nd season Lundquist went down for weeks and Talbot played extremely well as the starter. That’s why he was coveted in the off season. He had a bad start to his Oiler career and lost his starting spot for a month but December on he was a solid starter. Not exceptional but a real NHL starter. And then last year he played well. This is the only season I would say he has had that was a bad season. And he is over worked. The team has played awful team defence in front of him and the giveaways for grade A scoring chances against has been awful. All these are good excuses for the reason he has been poor and by fixing these problems he will be better.
          That said he still needs to play better too. The fault doesn’t all go on the players around him anymore than he should take all the blame either.
          Talbot will be back for another year and I hope it’s a bounce back year for him and the team in front of him.

          • crabman

            @Spydyr, He lost the starting job for a month in the 1st half of the season. He played 56 games. Tell me again how he wasn’t the starter.
            Don’t let the facts get in the way of what you make up.

        • jultz=2cups!??

          Actually talbot has had 3 good seasons and only 1 not so good one. The year he filled in for the king, he was awesome. His 1st year as an oiler, he had nice numbers and can’t be blamed for missing the playoffs. Last year he was a vezina trophy candidate and was 1 win away from the wcf. Don’t let your personal bias get in the way of facts as usual.

      • That's My Point

        coach who knows when to pull the goalie
        coach who knows when to call a time out
        coach who knows how to set up a powerplay & penalty kill
        coach who knows which players to put on the ice at the right times and with the right combinations (lines and d pairings)
        coach who at least tries to match lines to benefit his team
        a GM who can get the right right players to fit the teams needs

    • McDavid's Comet

      Agreed, I cannot fathom Katz’s unhealthy obsession with the idiots that run this team. If winning is Katz’s number one priority, it makes absolutely no sense at all. Will he ever realize that he needs to fire these clowns and bring in a management group that REALLY know a thing or two about winning.

      • Glencontrolurstik

        The problem is that “winning ISN’T Katz’s #1 priority.
        Hanging around & showing off his friendship with the “Good Ol’ Boy’s” is.
        That is the issue with Katz, not how much money he has.

      • polarcap

        The management issue is complex as it is difficult to establish a single root cause.
        PC initially adopted the philosophy that the Oil need to get heavier – hence Lucic, Maroon, Kassian,
        Reinhart et al. The problem he created was that he used speed assets – Hall, Eberle, Shultz, He apparently has shifted his views on that.
        The Lucic contract, he has to wear that. Even if Lucic was the answer the term, lack of performance incentives, and outs
        Shultz and Hall – maybe not so much. MacT did nothing to protect him and left hem to the wolves. Hall supported him and threw a bottle that hit MacT. I think MacT wears
        The use of Lucic as a top 6 power forward would normally be a coaches decision. But maybe PC puts poressure on him.
        The special teams is all MacT
        Getting rid of PC will not solve the MacT problem and getting rid of MacT will not solve the PC problem. PC should go and let the new GM assess the situation. Nicholson seems to support PC. Why??? He seems to have had a change of heart in regard to speed vs heavy.

      • McDavid's Comet

        How does a businessman of Katz’s caliber make so much money on the business decisions he’s made made with other businesses, keep these morons in management? He would still make his money plus more if this team was run by successful people who know how to run a hockey organization.

    • gr8haluschak

      Yes let’s get rid of the owner that has ok spending to the cap and that actually had enough money to ensure there was a farm team in place. Tell me who the hell is replacing him and keeping the team in Edmonton, how about this how about you do all of us a favor and leave – quit watching the oilers, and go find another team to cheer for.

      Answer this – if you crap all over the team so much why the hell are you here commenting?

      • Glencontrolurstik

        Because “Grade 8” this is a passionate hockey market. And, in passionate hockey markets passionate fans say off the cuff stupid things. It’s because passionate fans seem to know the sport enough to make thoughtful decisions with other peoples assets. It’s kind of fun really.
        I will say this, I am very glad & proud of my Oiler Fandom. And all of the Oiler Fans on here.
        Heck, we could live somewhere on a beach or in a desert. That would be nice, but it would be so depressing trying to find someone to watch a game with you. And really, how many times would you have to explain icing?
        So, deal with it. If you don’t like it, you go live on a beach, or the desert.

  • Corbs

    A new gm and new coach are at the top of the list. I’ve been a TM supporter but rolling the lines on the pp is bush league. That’s a sign of giving up and you can’t have that as a professional.

  • Big Nuggets

    Im not on board with trading for a RHD. I dont like the idea of making a hole new hole in the roster for a RHD. Maybe if there is a creative trade option I would still listen to it, but I find it unlikely and forcing something hasn’t worked. We don’t have the cap space to overpay in free agency so I think we have to wait for the NTC’s to expire before any major moves on defense. Add a scoring winger and a back-up goalie, maybe a 4th line center and call it an offseason. There are no easy fixes to this roster, IMO.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      I don’t know “Nuggets” Drew Doughty would make a great Oiler?
      He also said on Saturday, that although he likes LA, he really misses playing in a hockey crazed market.
      I think we should make a go for him before the Leafs do? God forbid…?
      Isn’t he a UFA this season? Everyone talks about Karlson?

      • crabman

        @Glencontrolrolurstik, Karlsson and Doughty both have 1 more year then FA after next year. Either would look amazing on our blueline but will cost in the $10-12M range especially with the way the cap is going up.

          • crabman

            “So?” he isn’t a free agent this summer as you suggest. He would take significant assets to trade for this year, assets I don’t think we have, all while gambling he doesn’t bolt after I year when he becomes a free agent. those seem like some solid reasons why we don’t go and get Doughty in the off season.

            Maybe after next if the cap keeps going up and we move Sekera and his $5.5M. Even then it wouldn’t be easy having 3 players making around $32.5M+ in the cap world.

          • Glencontrolurstik

            My point being, why think so in a bubble. What would Doughty be worth to you?
            Or anyone else for that matter worth looking at as an “A-rated” D?
            Something that we might have, not named Nugent-Hopkins?
            You don’t think we can get really tight against a rising cap?
            My bad in thinking he was UFA this year. Even more reason to pursue when he is.
            I can see the cap raising significantly over the next 5 years to $100mil+.
            All this because of McDavid’s contract. Players like Matthews, Karlson & the aforementioned Doughty will demand so much that McD will look like a bargain. We have to get creative. Doughty threw a hint on the weekend that he wants more than ever to play in a hockey market. If he can see a few cups, he might enjoy finishing out his career as an Oiler at a bargain rate? Who knows? You’ll never know unless you ask?

      • Big Nuggets

        If there is a legitimate opportunity to add a stud defenseman without giving up too much I’m all for it. I think it is unlikely and so I don’t think demanding that management acquire a number 1 RHD is useful. We have limited cap space as is, and we are already overpaying on a few contracts. Signing 30 year olds to long term expensive contracts isn’t the way I would manage this team. Doughty and Karlsson are special cases, so it we would have to know the details trade or contract to say if its a good idea or not. Sounds unlikely to me and cohnter productive to persue.

        There are other potential trades that could happen, such as a 3 team deal in which we somehow trade Klefbom and get Faulk back from Carolina. Faulk is a better player than Klef and plays the right side. Might be possible, but in general I think Klef will rebound and provide great value for that cap hit for many more seasons. I don’t think we should give up on that so soon. We still have McDavid for 8 seasons so I hope we build for longevity. Once we can move on from the Sekera and Russell contracts we could really rework the defense, if we do it right and we don’t trade Drai and Nuge I think we will be contenders for many years. We just might not be contenders starting next season.

  • I’ve said it elsewhere, but finishing in the bottom third of the league 2 out of 3 years of McDavid’s ELC is inexcusable. Chiarelli’s faffing about last offseason was the worst performance I’ve seen by a GM in 40+ years of watching hockey. A strategy of “We have McDavid so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯” is so mind-bogglingly stupid that I can’t believe he hasn’t already been sacked so hard his kids won’t be able to find work.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Biggest Oilers need?
    New GM
    New coaching staff
    Hard working forwards that can play defense and can produce
    Another goal scorer
    Defencemen that can actually play defense
    A top notch goalie

    Other than that they are fine! 😀

  • lee

    Trying to trade your way out of trouble takes a GM with a solid trading resume like the guys in Tampa and Nashville. PC is not that guy, so if he stays his trading must be kept to a minimum and they must draft what they need like most teams. The top 4 teams in the East (Boston, Tampa, Toronto, Washington)have all drafted their rosters. In the West Winnipeg has drafted their team and Vegas is built by a drafting system. Trying to hit a home run only works when you have a trading partner like PC.
    Nashville is the only team that drafted so well it allowed them to trade high end players to get better. The Oilers haven’t drafted well since 1981.
    It’s about knowing your place, if the lottery balls didn’t give the team McDavid the Oilers would be racing to the bottom with the rest of the 4 or 5 teams that are a mess.
    For the people who say they are tired of GM’s or Coaches being fired, then as long as you are fine with 3 or 4 more seasons like this season, carry on.
    For all the years that the team and the fans have complained about not having a stud right D man, there was an opportunity to draft one every year, they simply chose not to. This year they have a good opportunity to draft a very good right d man who might be the #1 d man some day. Might take 2 or 3 years for that to happen but that is how you build teams.

    • Rock11

      I’ve actually made the point that the Mcdavid lottery win may have set the franchise back in the short term. Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t have it any other way but getting 97 tricked the organization into thinking there was a short term fix. Had the Oil drafted, say Hanifin, instead then the Hall and Eberle trades likely don’t happen. This means Lucic isn’t dragging us down as he probably isn’t signed. Russell and that boat anchor contract aren’t needed.
      I’d rather have Mcdavid but Chiarelli bled a lot of talent out of this organization basically on the belief that 97 could make it all better when a more reasoned approach and some patience would have served the team better.

      • Glencontrolurstik

        Yeah, I see your thinking. But maybe he has tried to compensate by building in the prospect pool?
        That pool is much deeper now than a few years ago? You know, to your point, I think that Chia would have had a lot less negativity towards him & management if he just came out and said. “Now that we have McDavid, we are going to re-build this team to be a contender. So, fans, expect some moves, you may not agree with all of them”? “But you’ll see everything come together”. Maybe that kind of statement would have just prolonged the “stoning”? I don’t know?

  • McDavid's Comet

    The OBC were great as players, they are horrendous as managers. Why is that so hard for Katz to understand? It is mind boggling. I would love to see a change just for the sake of it. A group of chimpanzees could do no worse then what K.Lowe and his group of fools have accomplished.

  • Ty Guy

    I’m sorry but priority one should be trying to find a way to dump Lucic…..i would take anything over him. He would have a hard time in the AHL right now i bet….and just 5 more years to go…..GAG! Scary to think it only gets worse from here…I hated this deal when it was made, it looks even worse now….Sorry if i hurt your “veteran pride” Milan…what have you done for me lately?

      • Ty Guy

        if he is too big an Ogre to know when he sucks thats even more sad. If someone is afraid to tell him he has the hockey IQ of a garbage truck, even worse. i don’t have an issue saying it to him…FFS someone should instead of cowering and continuing to play him.

        • Odanada

          The coach works for the GM. Lucic is an “asset” brought in by Chia and he exerts pressure on TM to play him.
          If there has been discord in the room this year, it is TM’s job to settle it down. Raging at Lucic would likely just make it worse.

          It’s really hard to know what’s going on when you’re not actually in the room.

    • McDavid's Comet

      People have got stop complaining about Lucic, he is having a bad season, that is it. With his pedigree he deserves to have the next season to prove that he is better than this. He has bulletproof contract, so even if he was moved we would be getting nothing or something worse in return. We all know he can be better than this. He is not the only one on this team that is having a terrible season.

        • RJ

          You know who has had a tough season? Larsson. I fully expect him to have a better season next year.

          Lucic has 800+ games under his belt and power forwards age very badly. I expected they would have to pull the same move they did with Ference. Put him on LTIR until his contact ends. But I didn’t think they would need to look at doing that after year 2

      • Glencontrolurstik

        Very well said. Looch does have a role on this team. He is a very honest player. That has huge value to a team.
        He will bounce back. I am very confident in that, just based on the kind of person he is.
        Thanks Comet.

  • Serious Gord

    It’s not sexy, but absolutely vital.

    The oil need to vastly improve depth and do it on the cheap cheap.

    Nearly impossible task but this team is set up to fail if it isn’t addressed.

  • Not McDavid's Fault

    Patience is are biggest need there is no magic bean out there that fixes all are current with out adding new ones. After that we need a new gm and coach but again we need to be patience so we don’t replace one idiot with another.

    • ubermiguel

      Exactly. We won’t be able to trade our way out of problems we traded our way into. A little good fortune in the free agent market and a few more draft picks actually developing will go a long way.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      Sorry, I don’t buy patience? It’s been over 10 years since this team has had swagger.
      Patience Schmatence… This team can be fixed. Everything happens fast in this version of the NHL.
      In the middle of the DoD we were out of the playoffs before the season even started. A high percentage of fans have never seen a winning season until last year. If we rest on patience we will never see a post season at all during McDavids contract here. If the Oilers want multiple cups again, a dynasty if you will, they don’t need patience.
      A solid plan & action is what they need.

  • Hemmercules

    Their greatest need is a boost to their special teams. I don’t know if that means a new coach or new players or new systems or whatever. Fix those special teams and this team is a playoff team. Add another goalie (better than Montoya), top 6 winger and an offensive D and this team is back to contender status. Im done complaining about Chia, the old boys club and the coaching staff. We appear to be stuck with them for at least another year so hopefully they have it in them to right the ship for next season. Thats all we can hope for for the time being.

    • oilerjed

      the PK has been dramatically better since they moved away from the “I” formation for the forwards and went back the more traditional two men up high. Frustrated that it took 2/3 of the season to make the change but it is done now.

  • ponokanocker

    The special teams and Talbot ensured this season was a disaster. Both were solid the year before, so hopefully it can revert back.
    To me, the D is still the biggest issue. Klefbom had a great offensive year last year, and Larson showed us what a solid defensive D was supposed to be, but Sekera was, in my opinion, our best overall D last year. Him being gone part of this year and a shadow of his former self after his injury has had a huge impact. They are going to have to figure out if he can fully recover his mobility. If he can’t, getting a top pairing D should be priority #1.

  • Randaman

    A STUD RHD that is a bonafied number 1 and can run the PP. After that a quality starting goaltender but that’s not going to happen. PC isn’t going to admit that Talbot wasn’t good enough.

  • ellebee

    GM has to go, too many mistakes, from poor returns on trades to juicy no move contracts, to misreading the future of the league. Coach should go, because whether you are a Todd fan or not, it has to be admitted that whatever style it is that he has with the players, he’s lost the room, they aren’t responding or being motivated by him. A goalie needs to be considered, Cam is 31 and isn’t going to improve a lot as he hits 32 or 33. Kassian is under utilized, he has not had a great year, but he does have hands & speed and with a coach that knows how to light a fire in him he could be a guy that can be there when Connor is making a pass. AND, the elephant in the room.. how do solve a problem like Milan?

  • Heschultzhescores

    We need a great coaching system that the players buy into. Our D need to actually pick up the dangerous man and not just be in the vicinity. What we need most is players who can learn from mistakes and get better. And the biggest thing we need is “BELIEF”. No team can win without the belief and confidence that they can. Teams with far less talent than the Oilers are in the playoffs. See Vegas for reference. We need to instill confidence in our guys…do not underestimate confidence when it come to success in sports!

  • Guy5354

    The GM is responsible for building the player roster and coaching staff. Our GM has only had 3 years. I have the utmost confidence that management and PC are executing on the 5 year plan and will undoubtedly get this turned around in a couple of years….. Best to let the experts do their jobs.

  • TKB2677

    When you read the responses to threads like this, it can really be hard to be an Oilers fan and at times embarrassing because of the ridiculousness of some of the comments from supposedly “knowledgeable” hockey fans in Edmonton.

    I see guys carving Talbot and saying they need a new starter because he’s not a good goalie. The guy has a career .918 save percentage and was 4th in Veznia voting last year. He has ONE bad season and he’s a pile of garbage. So a guy can never have a bad year apparently? He’s a father of 2, very young TWINS, under 2. I got 2 kids, 7 & almost 5. I remember the year each of them were born and the year after being the hardest years. I remember those years being not my “best” at work because I was tired from lack of sleep, preoccupied with the kids, and not being 100% focused like I should. It was especially bad after my first son was born. I thought having 1 kid at the time was tough, I can’t imagine having TWINS. Home life DOES affect a person at work. It affected me and I am a guy at a desk. I can’t imagine the impact it would have on a pro athlete who has to be laser focused. Anyone else notice that Talbot struggled the most for the first half of the season and as the season went on, he got better. His were born Oct 19-20 2016. So at the start of this season, in OCTOBER, his kids would have been a little over 1. A pretty crazy time for most parents at that age. Lots of times kids are eating actual food so you aren’t having to get up and feed them in the middle of the night. If they have any problems at all sleeping (my kids did), lots of times that 1 yr mark or just after was when they are starting to sleep through the night. Guess what happens with really small kids as each month passes. They continue to develop and they get easier. So is it a coincidence that in the last month or 2, that Talbot play has picked? Well his kids would be about 1.5 yrs old now. HMMMM.
    Further to that, if Talbot is lousy because he’s had one bad season, I guess that Carey Price is a brutal goalie too. He’s been terrible too.
    The back up goalie suggestion of needing a guy that can play 30 games? Get real. Go look at most of the playoff teams that have a decent goalie and very few have a guy who play ANY LESS than 60 games. Tampa, Columbus, Toronto, Winnipeg, LA all have goalies that already have over 60 games played. I guess their GM are stupid for not having a 30 game back up. The Ducks Gibson is at 58 games and will be over 60 and he also missed 7 games because of injury. Minnie’s Dubnick is at 55, will get close to 60 and he missed 6 games because of injury. So if he didn’t get injured, he’d be over 60. San Jose’s Jones is at 55 games, will get close to 60 and missed 5 games due to injury so if he didn’t get injured he’d be over 60. Then you look at the other playoff teams as of today. Pittsburgh. Murray has 45 games but missed 22 games due to injury or personal reasons. He’s be way over 60 if he wasn’t a band aid. Fleury has 43 games but has missed 26 games due to injury so he’d be over 60. There are more guys.

    It’s pretty rare for a team to have a “platoon” goalie situation.

  • Bills Bills

    Seriously, get off the PC bash wagon. I am not saying I have agreed with everything he has done but I am okay with the 2 trades he “lost” to address needs. I think the Pouliot buyout was dumb, the Gryba signing was a waste and obviously the Griffin trade was just stupid. Something tells me that the Klowe and MacT fan boys of their favourite Oil King made that trade happen more than PC.

    If anything, we need some better special teams coaching. If this team had a reasonable pp and pk, they are fighting for a playoff spot right now. They also need Talbot to play up to his capabilities or a solid back up to challenge him. If not another season is going to go to waste.

    As for skaters, get a right shot d that can move the puck and shoot on the power play. He doesn’t need to be a quarterback.

    Having McDavid, Drai and RNH up front, allows for some time for our other players to develop. Spending on a big name winger just to make a splash in FA, is dumb and not wise cap management.

  • SeanDtheHoff

    What would it take to get Faulk from Carolina? He’s had an off year and they are loaded with young d-men. Do we have the ammunition to get him without to much disturbance? This years first rounder? Maybe depending on where it ends up Carolina would have to throw something in

    • Beer_League_Ringer

      I’m not sure Faulk would solve anything on RD. He’s not having an off year in any stat except goals. Same points, same PP points (albeit, 20 is a nice number), same terrible +/-. I would rather have Bear as the PP guy, while playing sheltered mins 5×5 on the 3rd pair. I also think Nurse would do a good job on the PP. Just as a fun fact: Benning has 11 less points than Faulk and is +6. Trading for a “top-pair” RD only makes sense if the RD is *playoff team top-pair* quality. The Oilers currently have 9 current roster positions occupied by our own draft picks. Trading for mid-quality players at this point is insane.

  • CMG30

    Biggest need is between the pipes. Talbot had an off year no doubt. A strong backup is a must. Next they need experience and hard work on the bottom line somebody who can kill penalties and win key draws. Next up we need a heavy right shot d man to solidify the right hand side and help out the pp. Of course before any of that will happen a new gm must be brought in who understands how to build a team…

  • TKB2677

    What I think the Oilers need is what Serious Gord mentioned. Different depth wingers. The main pieces are McDavid, Leon, Nuge. You have Puljujarvi who I believe is a player but he is just SO young. I would have him on Leon’s wing all next year and leave him there. Lucic is here to stay so people need to STOP making ridiculous comments about getting rid of him. You can’t. I think this season is as bad as it gets for him and I think he will train differently and bounce back so he is in your top 9. I think Aberg can be a player, probably best suited for the 3rd line. I think Khaira is a good 4th line center, remember it’s his first full season. He’s got a shot to move up to a 3rd line maybe. I think Strome can be your 3rd line center, he needs to work on his faceoffs. He’s currently flanked by Lucic who’s in a slump of the ages and a 19 yr old. If you had a Aberg and a vet on the left, that could be a good 3rd line. Maybe you trade him for someone else but if you kept him in a 3rd line center spot, it’s not the end of the world. After that, you need to upgrade the rest.

    McDavid needs a cheap guy that can flank his right side. Maybe it’s Rattie, maybe its Yamamoto next year though I think he should have a year in the minors. Maybe it is someone else. Regardless, when you have a guy making 12.5 mill, I don’t care if Lucic is on your team, you can’t afford to have 2 expensive guys flanking him. The need to find a upgrade on Caggulia in the top 6. Maybe that is Lucic with a bounce back year (i could see it). If he is here, I think ideally Caggulia is on your 4th line with some PP time. Defensively he’s too indifferent and too inconsistent. But he’s got 13 goals. You can’t ignore that. Maybe you use him in a trade to bring in a similar 12-13 goal guy that can actually kill some penalties. I would move on from Slep. He complains about lack of opportunity and playing time, well freaking DO SOMETHING. Way too many nights he is invisible. I would move on from Kassian. I like Kassian when he is on but he hasn’t been the same player this season for whatever reason. At 1.95 mill, he’s WAY too expensive to be a 4th liner . I think his PK work was suspect and I don’t know on the Oilers he can be more than the 4th line for whatever reason. I think you could trade him for a different, cheaper player. Players like Pakarien need to be gone. You can’t have players on your team that are black holes offensively.

    The Oilers need to tweak their line up and they need to find a vet guy like a Vanek. Vanek was a late 1 yr signing by the Canucks for 2 mill. Before he was traded by the Canucks, he had 17 goals and 41 pts on a terrible Canucks team. He has 24 goals now. Some team will grossly overpay Vanek this offseason. The Oilers need to find the next Vanek meaning a vet guy probably coming off bad year, looking to stay in the league. So they sign for cheap and have a big year looking for a one last contract.

  • Dan 1919

    1) #1RH Dman
    2) Goalie

    If the Oilers could miraculously land both those they would be a perennial playoff team.

    1a) GM – different topic but if the team is results based, Chiarelli has lost too much talent for nothing and put up too poor of results with a two time Art Ross winner too keep around.(this team is not results based however as shown in the past)

  • Defense defense defense. Same old problem over the past 11 seasons.
    Oilers absolutely need a top right-shot puck-moving defenseman. But they also need to play defense. A better defense means fewer and less dangerous shots to the net, which means better goaltending.
    In three years, Chiarelli has failed to get this player and was hoping the current defensemen would step up. Instead we had an injured Sekera and Klefbom.

    Oilers defensive scoring among league d-men:
    63rd — Nurse @ 25 points
    82nd — Klefbom @ 21 points
    83rd — Russell @ 21 points
    93rd — Benning @ 20 points
    145th — Larsson @ 12 points
    173rd — Auvitu @ 9 points
    209th – Sekera @ 6 points
    220th — Bear @ 4 points
    250th — Gryba @ 2 points

    Until this is solved first, the Oilers have no hope. When we had scoring wingers, the defense still sucked, so there’s no argument that solving defense comes first.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      Agreed. However, the # of points a defenseman gets is irrelevant for the most part. PP aside.
      This team needs defenders, ones that keep the play out of the zone. Now, when the puck heads toward a certain Oiler D we all go… “Oh Nooooo”. Before anything really happens. That has to stop, if you get my drift?
      It’s only a few special ones that can actually be a top point earner & be effective D.
      Sidenote: I still say we make a run at Doughty? He’d be around 8 or 10 mil.

  • toprightcorner

    Offense has not been the problem this year, defense, goaltending and special teams are the biggest weaknesses. Could the team benefit form a high scoring RW? Sure, but it is not a priority.

    RD is the most important, that addition alone will significantly improve this team.


    UFA – Carlson – would cost at least $9×7 and mean shedding more salary (Klefbom, Kassian) – WSH signs him
    – Green – cheaper option for 2 years to bridge cap to Bear???

    Trade – Faulk – Most likely to be available, but they would want a forward back means Nuge, so thats a tough decision
    – Dumba (RFA) – MIN will have to decide if they prefer him or Spurgeon. Spurgeon is currently $5.1 x 2 remaining,
    Dumba likely emands more and they have to sign RFA Zucker who scored 30 this year. They Don’t need LD so
    Klefbom won’t work, don’t think they would like Nuge’s salary so they would be looking for a
    Puljujarvi/Yamamoto/1st as part of a package deal. Maybe Strome and JP?

    – Trouba (RFA) – Enstrom comes off the cap but they have to resign Hellebuyk and likely want to resign Stastny.
    Trouba is behind Byfuglien and Myers. They are weak at LD so Klefbom is a definite option, good salary and
    likely a 1 for 1 deal with Klefbom having down year.

    – Spurgeon – The cheaper option (Strome, Jones and 2nd?)

    – Barrie – definitely buying high but they would take a LD (Klefbom and 2019 1st?)

    Since Nuge is a player I really don’t want to see traded, I would target Trouba for Klefbom if you could agree to a new contract. I could see a long term deal like $4.5/$5 x 6 could be a good long term deal.

    Second best option is short term and sign Green for 2 years at $3.5.

  • toprightcorner

    From my couch, my off season would look like this:

    1) Sign Vanek – 1 x $2.5 (plays with McDavid or Draisaitl)
    2) Trade Klefbom for Trouba (RFA) with agreed extention 5 x $4.9 (we need RD, they need LD)
    3) Sign Blake Comeau – 1x$2 for 3rd line(PK specialist, right shot, LW/RW)
    4) sign backup – Khudobin/Letonen/Berra/Niemi (Khudonin preferred or experienced starter who had decent numbers last year.