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Photo Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The First Solution

A win against the New York Rangers on Saturday afternoon was much needed for the Oilers but with a slow start to the season the heat has definitely been cranked up. The major issue here for the Oilers is that their schedule doesn’t have a soft spot that allows them to catch their breath.

Sportsnet Insider Elliott Friedman threw more fuel on the fire during a segment on Sportsnet 960.

“I just think the heat internally in that organization… I was just told this morning it’s a really tense place.”

“I would just say this… I don’t think there’s a person in that organization who feels secure.”

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The Oilers managed to get by the Rangers 2-1 on Saturday and while that victory certainly helps I’m pretty sure it doesn’t mean everyone is in the clear. A win is a win so they’ll take it but they squeaked by a Rangers club that will likely be near the bottom of the Eastern Conference all season. This team has not yet scored a goal without Connor McDavid being involved, and if they can’t find their way through the early stages of the season, there are a number of things we could see happen.

They could replace the P.O.H.O. For anyone who is new here, I’m talking about President of Hockey Operations Peter Chiarelli. Upper management believed in Chiarelli enough to keep him around this offseason so I highly doubt they pull the plug on him by the end of the first month of the season.

They could make a coaching change. Replacing Todd McLellan, while a number of you may like to see it happen, is another highly unlikely option. If the team starts 2-13 or something ridiculous like that then they may have no other choice. Unless it’s an absolute disaster, I’m not sure how Peter Chiarelli could honestly look at his lineup and blame the coach more than himself and so that brings us to option number three.

I’m almost certain that trading for a defenseman would be the first move the Oilers make if their season continues to trend in the wrong direction. The majority of the early season issues are on the blueline. Matt Benning certainly hasn’t played well but he’s also being asked to play a role he’s not yet ready to handle. Oscar Klefbom has struggled as well. Benning and Klefbom are two of the d-men the Oilers would likely classify as “puck movers” and they haven’t exactly executed that task effectively.

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Who could the Oilers find that could be capable of second pairing minutes and possibly help the power play? Before I get into a couple of names let me make it clear that these aren’t necessarily players I would trade for but they do seem to fit the bill for what the team may need.

JUSTIN FAULK: FIX THE PROBLEM

Ah, yes, the old Justin Faulk thing again. Justin Faulk has been mentioned so many times in Edmonton you’d think he had already been acquired, failed miserably and was out ran out of town by Rishaug.

Faulk was very much there for the taking during the offseason but I’m wondering how much that availability has changed. The Canes made a coaching change in the summer, they are off to a very impressive start and Faulk is second on the team in minutes. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a not huge fan of Faulk but he’s a veteran who can move the puck and he has powerplay experience. He checks off a number of boxes.

JULIUS HONKA: TAKE A CHANCE THE PROBLEM CAN BE FIXED

This would be a leap of faith, taking a bit of a risk on a d-man who hasn’t been able to crack the lineup regularly in Dallas. He has the pedigree of an offensive d-man and has put up very nice numbers in the American Hockey League. He had four points in 42 games for the Stars last year but was only playing around 13 minutes a night. It doesn’t look like the Stars will have much room for Honka to see significant minutes this year. He’s a puck mover.

IN CLOSING:

A win over the Rangers helped calm the masses, a bit, but it would take a win over the Jets on Tuesday to truly turn the tide. The one thing I’m the most curious about is what happens if they open up the season with wins in just three of their first ten games. Would that be enough for Chiarelli to pull the trigger on a deal for a d-man? With Winnipeg, Boston, Nashville, Washington and Pittsburgh looming it wouldn’t shock me if we get a Chiarelli press conference after the first ten games saying they want to be patient because of the competition they had to face early in the season.

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What do you actually think it would take for some sort of change to happen? If they don’t manage to get on track I’m going to guess we won’t still won’t see anything until the 20 game mark. By then it will probably be too late but at least they would have scored a goal without McDavid doing all the work…..maybe.

Previously by Dustin Nielson:


  • Serious Gord

    If they go 3-7 or a reasonable facsimile of that that on its own won’t be enough to precipitate action on management’s part nor will it agitate the fan base that much.

    What will create those conditions will depend on HOW they lost those games. If the oil are competitive – were able to contend for most if not all of the next seven games and narrowly lost more than they won then I think everyone gets to play another ten games probation as it were.

    BUT

    If they are clearly outclassed in those games – if they show that they aren’t remotely good enough to compete against playoff quality teams – either because they haven’t enough talent throughout the roster or

    WORSE don’t play worth dog poop as a team (see: game one – period two vs New Jersey), then the torrents of rage from the fan base will be epic. And the pressure to make a move or moves will be about as high as it has ever been in the last dozen years.

    • Hockeytalkguy

      Serious Gord….totally agree with what you posted. I can handle the losses when they compete and give an effort. It’s the no shows that completely piss me off.

      • Beer_League_Ringer

        Exactly. Remember all those seasons (1996 – 2002 approx) where the team scratched and clawed its way into the playoffs every season to eventually get beat by better teams (Stars, Avs in either 1st or 2nd round). I’m a child of the 80s Dynasty, but those Oilers teams were some of the most satisfying to watch. They showed up.

    • Chris_Cruise

      It’s quite the conundrum isn’t it.
      On one hand, we could hope for total disaster so that there is the chance of a real shakeup in the office. But that would mean another lost season for all of us to go through. Team and fans. Depressing.

      But if they tread water then there will be no changes and we continue down this path of insanity.

      Either way it’s grim because if we’re being completely objective and honest here, we don’t have the horses to run with the big boys. So what are we really doing then?! Non-results based entertainment. Which seems like Rogers Place, packed to the brim every night, is fine with. Smh

      • Serious Gord

        Well put.

        If I (we?) could be assured that a washout season would mean real change – a true gutting of the old boys and implementation of professional business practices – I would make THAT deal in a flash.

        • wiseguy

          Unfortunately I’m not as optimistic that real change will ever occur with this owner. After another failed season, there will be another “forensic audit”. The current old boys will be shuffled around, Bob Nicholson will be moved to a new post with another made up title. Another person with connections to the group – maybe Messier, maybe Keegan Lowe or Katz jr. will be given the “vital” POHO and GM spot. We will be told that the proper changes are implemented and we have to be patient to allow the new people to “fix” things but a cup will be here soon.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    I’d like to see another dman brought in before any coaching or GM change happens. Easier said than done and don’t want to see Benning shipped out, imo he’s still young enough to become a Jeff Petry for the Oilers.

    I don’t really blame TMac too much in all of this other than playing a kid with 12 games of NHL experience in the top 6 over JP in spite of his “flaws”. Shoot, even put JP on the pp with 97 would be nice to see. All in all, for the most part Todd is trying to put the team in the best situations to win. Every flaw in the line up lies at PCs feet.

    If a trade to better solidify the defence doesn’t happen and the team falls further and further down the rankings, I’d rather see PC shown the door before TMac.

    • Chris_Cruise

      Agreed, take 97 out of the mix and who does Todd really have at his disposal to compete with real NHL rosters out there.

      This mess is ALL on PC. Todd has been forced to build a sports car from a scrap heap.

    • palmnickl

      98’s “flaws” are real though… Stops and starts are non-existent, he moves the puck into pressure instead of away, and in Todd’s latest presser it sounded like he was exasperated with how many times he has to tell Jesse to do something. Hopefully Jesse works out but this pick is starting to look like the classic scout over-valuation of physical potential as opposed to the ability to think the game. I do understand your frustration that Todd has been given little option thanks to PC’s decisions.

      • Svart kaffe

        As someone else said: has any young player thrived under McLellan? His only tool is the blender, and if you’re not on his list of favourites that means demotion and some odd linemates.

      • jesse says yep

        I dont think you can put this one on the scouts. Literally every scout in hockey had JP pegged as a top 3 pick. His current development doesn’t change his position and performance pre-draft.

    • Bills Bills

      I don’t agree, the defensive zone breakouts are brutal. That’s system play. If the dmen aren’t able to play the puck out of the zone and need to have a center man circle back in order to skate the puck out, maybe they should reconsider the forward positioning in order to better support the play as it comes out of their zone. The other team blocks up their end of the nuetral zone and since everyone is standing still they either turn it over at the blue line or have to dump it in. It is dumb and they did it all last year. I am sick of watching it. Sure, maybe they don’t have a Brent Burns to make amazing passes but neither do most of the the other teams. So scheme a better option that utilizes the tools you have. Because McDavid can skate past everyone that has become the solo go to. It is dumb. I’m mad.

  • Joeboot

    Friedmans comments about stress at the management level will permeate down to the players. That will happen through conversations with certain words used or tone, from management to coach and coach to player. Likely don’t even know their doing it.
    This would explain less than stellar performance by most of the oiler players.

    • Chris_Cruise

      You think a few stern looks or a strong tone in practice is going to adversely affect a team of overly coddled, ultra insulated atheletes?

      They’ve all dealt with high expectations and stress at every level of hockey their entire lives.

      The less than stellar performance has everything to do with a lack of motivation and a poor roster than it does from some tension in the front office.

      Pressure makes diamonds unless there’s simply no quality there to begin with. I wouldn’t be making excuses for these guys.

      • Joeboot

        Missing the point, many ways to say the same thing, but message will not be the same based on tone and facial expressions.
        Prior to NHL they would be looking at pleasing primarily parents. Compare to a regular work place, if you relate to/like/respect who you work with/for you are more apt to put in better effort than if you lack respect for who you work with/for.
        Next point I partially agree with, but you have to ask why is there lack of motivation. Look at Vegas last year, virtually everyone had them missing playoffs based on roster but they had motivation because they wanted to show everyone they were worth something. I fully expect them to take big step back this year.
        Pressure comment is just dumb. No quality, MC David, Nuge, Klefbom, Nurse, Larson, Lucic, JP, Yamo, Kassian, all first rounders.

    • ed from edmonton

      So are you saying that expressing something to a player that suggests this is a serious business and they should understand their performance or lack there of will have consequences is a bad thing?

      • Joeboot

        Totally missing the point, if you’re afraid to make a mistake, ( I believe many are) it makes the player hesitant. It can be the inconsistent message from the coach like playing Lucic on the PP last year when he clearly should not have been. It can be playing Cagguila more than his performance dictated. Players aren’t stupid, they see what’s going on and maybe MacT is getting pressure from Chia on who gets ice.
        IMO over past seasons MacT is far too quick to criticize players and effort after games. How often have you heard him say “we didn’t have the team prepared” or taken any responsibility. I’ve never heard it from him but I have from Babcock.
        Back to my original post, if management is tense that permeates throughout the organization. Most will not understand this concept. It’s like safety mentality in a construction company, if management thinks safety is BS the guys on site will too, and I guaranty their incident rate will be higher.
        Pressure here from the fan base also adds to the environment of being afraid to make mistakes.

  • Rufio Barcoli

    I don’t understand why so much stock is put into what Elliott and Bob think.
    They’re best compared to gossiping gypsies and not some wise men.
    Their rumors are probably at a 1% accuracy, if that.
    Elliott even says “I think” and “I was told” , what he thinks is irrelevant and for all we know his wife could have told him.
    Elliott, and people like him in the industry, say those things all the time to make it sound like they’re not pulling things of their anus. When in fact that is exactly what they are doing to exploit situations and stay relevant.

    • Chris_Cruise

      That’s a bit harsh. The reason they are considered insiders and trusted sources is because they actually have good track records and relationships with teams, players, agents, GM’s etc.

      Some stuff may be ‘click baity’ from time to time but they are in the positions they’re in because of their reputations and relationships.

      If they simply lied and made stuff up as you suggest then how do you think that would affect their relations with teams and GM’s?? They’d lose all access to players and management. Clearly they aren’t just pulling stuff out of a hat, their jobs depend on legitimacy. Where there’s smoke there’s fire, don’t shoot the messengers.

      • Rufio Barcoli

        They are considered insiders because the company they work for gives them those titles.
        They don’t have good relationships with GM’s. What are you basing that comment on?
        Their lies and bs won’t lose them access to players because their access is granted to them by their employers who work with the NHL.
        Do you not remember all the “insider rumors” over the last two off-seasons?
        If what they said was true Oilers roster would look completely different today.

    • 99bestever

      For Karlsson yes! But that boat has sailed. All we can do is wait until July 1 and hope there is no long term deal put in place with San Jose. Don’t tell me he doesn’t want to come to Edmonton. Send Katz, Gretzky, and Conner to meet with him and give him the money and love it takes to sign him!

      • Chris_Cruise

        Gonna be hard for any team (especially the Oil) to pry him away from that seductive California weather/atmosphere now that he’s getting a taste of it.

        Not to mention with a team that’s got a legitimate shot to contend. If they make some noise this season, I suspect SJ be his home for a long time and who could blame him.

    • IRONman

      Well. Lucic does not cut it. 4 th line maybe he scores. Yamo to ahl. 97 and 29 have chemistry, use that to win. Nuge is a excellent line 2 center, give him wingers. The blender is a sad joke, not working. Pc did not fix the d. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Nuff said. 97 is the only reason I watch the games.

      • Leichs

        So you are saying put Nuge 2c and Drai up on Connors wing? Isn’t that what we did for majority of last season and we finished twenty points out? Put Luc on the third and add Reider and Jesse on the second for Drai. That line cannot compete without speed. This is a young mans speed game, there is no place for Luc top 6 in todays game. I’m really not sure why our coaching staff cant see such obvious things. Its like how coach took 3 years to see something fans have been asking for for years with McNuge.

        • OilStained

          I think Nuge on LW with Draisaitl at C could be a lethal combo…
          McDavid can produce without their help and now the other team would have to focus on the second line as well. If Yamamoto is here to stay give him a shot with 97?

          • Leichs

            I thought about a Nuge Drai pairing as well. But who would take over top spot on the wing? Luc or Reider? Connor says no thanks.. Put the Germans together on the second line.

    • Odanada

      No. But Drai needs a fire lit under him. He seems lazy on the back check and I’m wondering why he is not ultra-motivated to push his envelope?
      Why not try Reider with him?
      Are the players starting to tune out Todd?

    • Beer_League_Ringer

      If (notice I said if, not that they should) they plan on trading Drai, he needs to be playing with McDavid in all situations (PK included) to jack his #s then trade at the deadline to a contender with an ultra-deep talent pool.

      Here’s the better question. Do we want PC to be the one to make such a trade?

    • Chris_Cruise

      I certainly wouldn’t trust Chia to make that deal. He’d let Drai go for a bubble D man at best.

      Drai’s deal stings because he’s paid to run his own line. BUT…had he been signed to a 5 or 6 mill contract nobody would have an issue with him riding shotgun to Connor on the first line.

      I know it’s stupid at this point to imagine the ‘what-if’s’ with Hall but I wondered what a Hall Drai combination would have looked like on a second line. *Sigh*
      ….Another shot please bartender! Make it a double

  • Zav19

    We have to find out who is making the call to give Lucic top 6 minutes and fore them immediately. I think Chia is forcing Todd to play him and if not Todd needs to be fired along side Chia because he is just as stupid

  • Zav19

    I don’t want to trade for d man either unless Chia is not the GM. Remember he traded Hall who won the Heart for Larson who is a decent d man but no where good enough to trade Hall for!!

  • Van isl Oiler

    I say punt Chia Pet right now, but you’re right, he’s not going anywhere just yet. They watched him bumble along all summer…they’re not gonna can him 3 games into the season. The sooner they fire him the better. He’s either do something stupid, like trade Hopkins for Faulk, or he’ll sign some guy outa the KHL and pay him too much and give him a no movement clause. Get a new guy in there now and let him start evaluating this team right away. This season could still be saved. Sorry, but this group of players just simply isn’t good enough. Unless Koskinen ends up being lights out, takes over the starters job, and carries this team into the playoffs on his back.

    BAHAHAHA! Yeah!

    • 99bestever

      Find a way to bring in Doug Wilson. He knows how to get value in trades. Thornton and Karlsson are two classic examples. SJ is old and not going to win the cup. He may see opportunity with the young Oilers.

  • Corbs

    I don’t know why people think a slow start would lead to a trade for a dman. Chia knew the defence was weak last year with Sekera hurt and he did nothing. Same this past offseason. Our defence struggling is no surprise to anyone.

    Also, I think everyone is over blowing the “he’s afraid because his job is on the line” talk. His job seems safe and either way, I doubt he cares that much. His contract is guaranteed regardless.

    • Svart kaffe

      I doubt it as well. Chiarelli was hired to give this team a good shake and he’s obviously a guy who wasn’t afraid to do it even in a volatile market. I doubt he’s afraid now. In a way I have to respect him for that, he really doesn’t give a **** I think.

  • gordo

    puljajarvi is playing at a low level for a 4th overall; think bennett, reinhart. draisaitl and his 8.5 has yet to replicate what he did in the playoffs, klefbom, for sure,and maybe nurse are not playing at a high calibre, and lucic is possibly past his best before date. having said that, the katz regime is a real disaster

  • Zav19

    Yes 97 is def the best player in the league and Nuge will have a big year as long as we don’t do something stupid and take him of that line. I am worried about Drasaitl though because he seems to be losing confidence fast because he has to play with the big pilon. I would like to see Lucic as healthy scratch and see what happens

  • Spadmike

    Let’s address the elephant in the room. Drisaitil is not performing any where near his salary. How many points has he produced? Last year was not a great season either. We need to admit that Edmonton is not a good fit. Problem is with PC giving all that money will anyone take him? Another blunder. Lynch management and let’s get McDavid some support. It’s sad that so called professionals struggle with fundamentals of the game. We are the laughing stock of the league.

  • bwar

    I don’t see trading for a dman that needs time to develop, we already have Bouchard, Bear and Jones right on the cusp, so adding another name to that list doesn’t seem ideal.

    On getting a veteran defender, I’d be looking at who that knocks out of the line up. Evan Bouchard. The Oiler’s need to determine if they want him in the NHL or OHL this season. I don’t feel Bouchard benefits greatly from another season in the CHL and really wish the Oiler’s could send him down to the AHL. An awkward situation for the Oiler’s. You also need to factor in the cost. If Adam Larsson cost Taylor Hall we might not like the price tag on a #4 defender.

    I just think the Oiler’s have put themselves in a very awkward position. They can’t really take on a big contract but also could end up throwing away the season by not taking action.

  • Odanada

    I look at the Habs and wonder why they are playing so well. Part of it is because they are fast. They also seem to be having fun. How can it be fun in that poisonous craphole? Isn’t their GM on a par with Chia?
    I think coach Julien is tuning out Bergevin and pretty much playing whomever he likes. Bergevin is clearly on the bubble, meaning he will go before Claude, freeing Julien’s hands.
    Todd knows he will go before Chia, so he keeps playing the guys Chia wants in there. If so, Todd needs to stand up on his hind legs and play who he likes. Is this the recipe for the players having some fun and tasting success? Who knows.
    One thing that silences most critics is winning, and TM is running out of time. IMHO, it looks like a regime change is what’s needed; bye bye OBC, Chia, Bobby Nicks. But that’s not likely to happen, making Todd the likely sacrificial lamb. Why not go out with your head held high Toddy? Ignore Chia and light the fire, will ya?

  • toprightcorner

    If you want a shakeup in coaching and management, it will take at least 2-3 years to see much of a difference on the ice. A new GM won’t be able to make enough significant changes within a year. Much of the improvements would actually come from prospects drafted my PC. Bouchard, Bear, and Jones will likely have a positive impact on the backend. Yamamoto, Benson, and McLeod should solidify the middle 6 with minimal cap hits. Until Russell and Sekera are able to be traded at the end of the season, there is no way to move out cap space to bring different pieces in.

  • GK1980

    One of the problems with this team the past decade is the inability to force and rive the pace of a game on a consistent bases. Look at Boston and NJ for example. Both of these games it felt like the Oilers where just trying to match the opponents intensity. Until this changes this team will struggle this year.

    The only person with pace is obviously McDavid but we all need to see more compete and intensity from all other lines especially the second.

  • toprightcorner

    It really does not make sense to fire a GM mid-season, especially early in the season. Firstly, no other team will let you talk to their staff during the season and if there were any decent GM candidates, they would have been hired this past summer. A new GM really can’t make many positive changes to a team this year because there is no cap space and nobody available to trade to give you more cap space. While a couple of small moves could be made, if you are looking for a new GM to turn things around this season, it won’t happen. If things get to that point, the best move is to have any trade approved by Nichols this season and wait until the GM pool is bigger in the offseason to make the best change possible.

  • toprightcorner

    Can anyone name a quality GM or Head coach that is available to hire that is a better long-term choice? “Anyone” or “Gulutzan” are not answers. If the Oilers plan to make a change, you want to want to hire someone who will be the best long-term candidate. Appropriate candidates, especially for GM, are not likely available until the offseason.

    I for one am not wanting a quick knee-jerk reaction and hiring a below avg option just for the sake of making the change, I want a new hire to be someone with the actual ability to turn things around.

    • T.J.F.M

      Mark Hunter as GM and Dave Tippett as Head Coach.

      They may not want to come here, but both are currently available and both are better options than what we currently have.

  • Beer_League_Ringer

    I don’t get it. There are a few people saying trade one of our top F for a D-man, yet complain that there is no scoring depth. The fill-a-hole/create-a-hole trade strategy does’t work with shallow teams. On a deep team, someone is ready to step up and fill the whole left by the trade, but on a shallow team there is just a void.

  • OilStained

    Maybe we don’t need to put all our eggs in the McDavid basket to get Draisaitl going? Why not Connor, Reider and Rattie…. Reider has wheels and actual NHL experience. (Defensive conscience)
    Move Nuge down with Draisaitl and Puljujarvi. Give 29 someone who can create offence!! Strome can centre Lucic and Khaira for a crash and bang grind line who can hopefully put up numbers against weaker comp. Brodziak can round out the 4th line with Chiasson, Caggiula and Kassian.
    Yamamoto needs to go to the AHL and play first line minutes with the next wave of complimentary players, Benson, Malone and eventually McLeod where he can develope playing 20 minutes a game…
    That’s my 2 cents on things… T Mac needs to start putting his players in a position to succed!!! This stubborn favouritism thing he has going has long since gotten old

  • Spydyr

    Every issue you mentioned in this article I and may others had brought up this summer, months before the season began. That was the time to fix them. Soon it will be panic mode from a position of even greater weakness. Why? Because the “Oiler Braintrust” from the owner on down to the head coach are failing miserably at their job and they have been since Katz took over.

  • jesse says yep

    Can we just stop this already.. The only ones saying there is pressure on the Todd and Chia is the people required to fill airtime on the TV and radio stations. Every player, coach and GM know that this is a performance based league and that winning is all that matters. If they were that close to being axed it would have happened over the summer. The fact that the team is 1-2, three games in after a European road trip and looking a little slow getting going shouldn’t surprise anyone. Oiler fans are overly delicate and reliving the last 12 years of pain over and over, at the first sign of trouble everyone is pulling the trigger on everybody.
    Tmac somehow managed to get the team fired up for preseason, whether or not the competition was equal is beside the point. The team came out ready to play. Are you really going to believe that Tmac has lost the room in 2 weeks since then?
    The New Jersey game was a stinker, let’s move on.
    The Boston game was closer then then the score made it look. Take out the one bad luck goal off a skate and the empty netter and that was a one goal game in which Nuge hit the post twice. I didn’t see a team that was outplayed by much against a really good Bruins team.
    The holes are obvious, we need scoring on the middle 6 wings. Yamamoto hasn’t shown me that he is going to make an impact this year, upgrade the position and move him down. Benning is the only really glaring weak spot on the defense IMO, send him down and bring up Bear who looked like a better player then Benning all along. Benning only won the spot due to waiver considerations not because he outplayed anybody. If he gets picked up off waivers, oh well. Lose his cap hit and not much else, since he was picked up from college and didn’t cost a pick.
    I’m going to give this team some time to pick up steam, no Stanley cup is won or lost in the first 10 games.

    • the reasonable person

      Well said. Trading for a defenseman is very stupid because the organization is relatively strong in that position. How does everyone think Chia can just replace Sekera? There are zero options for that, not now, not last year. I’m fine with waiving Benning and letting Bouchard, Garrison, and Bear play. All focus, at the coaching and management levels, needs to be on secondary scoring. Could be shaking up the top 6, should include moving lucic down the lineup and sending yamo to the AHL, might involve a trade for a top 6 winger.

      Trading for a defenceman now is just so much stupid.

  • Elgando

    Benning just plain sucks this year.. He’s a scoring chance sieve for the other team. Imo he’d be progress by elimination. Please go get a good PROVEN defender and quit screwing around… Whatever the cost.

  • Bills Bills

    Bringing in a prospect that’s not good enough to play on another team is not the answer. Neither is Justin Faulk, they really need another guy that can’t defend? They need Sekera healthy. Now since that is a non starter, they need someone of his ilk that can be a calming influence and solidify the back end. If they can’t trade for one, which I don’t see how they can. They need to change their system to play a defensive game. Ken Hitchcock. Is it ideal? No, I hated watching the Oilers play his team’s. It was suffocating hockey. But they won. And until the defence is up to snuff personnel wise, I would rather watch them win ugly than lose.