Sorry to be a buzz the kill the morning after a win over the first place Islanders, but let’s be honest: it was a win that left the Oilers second last in the Western Conference and still six points out of a playoff spot. Anyone who talks about being this team being in the mix for a playoff spot at this point is absolutely delusional.
I understand why the players are going to believe, because that’s what you want them to do. I can understand why management wants to believe, but I can’t buy their positive spin any longer.
If you want to continue to buy in, I’m not going to shame you for it. If anything, you should be applauded for your commitment to this year’s team.
This Oilers team isn’t going to miss the playoffs because Klefbom was injured for a significant portion of the season. This Oilers team isn’t going to miss the playoffs because Draisaitl forgets to back check every once in a while. This team isn’t even going to miss the playoffs because Koskinen has come back down to earth. This team is going to miss the playoffs because they have zero depth offensively — none, at all.
This was the makeup of the Oilers line up last night.
Cleared Waivers 2019 – 1st Overall Pick – Cleared Waivers 2015
3rd overall pick – 1st overall pick – PTO Signing
Zero Goals – Waiver Claim 2018 – 43 Games in AHL this season
$6,000,000 – 34-year old free agent signing – 2nd NHL Game
When you look at what they are working with above you should actually be very impressed with their effort last night, but don’t let that fool you. It’s one night. They snapped a six-game home losing streak. Koskinen won for the first time in nine starts.
In order to make a run to the post-season, the Oilers would have to go on a streak similar to the Hawks or Blues. Can you honestly look at the group above and tell me they are capable of that? If you said yes, I want some of what you are smoking.
For comparison’s sake, I decided to look at Chicago and how they are constructed up front.
Trade for Manning ? – 3rd overall pick – 1st overall pick
2nd round pick – 3rd overall pick (Trade for Schmaltz) – Euro Signing
Trade for Panarin – Trade for Saad+ – 6th round pick
12th overall pick (Trade for Schmaltz) – Trade (Hossa Deal) – 3rd round pick
No players who have cleared waivers, no players who have been claimed on waivers, no reclamation projects and no PTOs.
The Hawks were an easy team to look at because they managed to go on a nice run.
Let’s go the other way on this and look at the LAST PLACE Ottawa Senators.
1st round pick – 1st round pick – $7,000,000
3rd round pick – 4th round pick – Waiver Claim 2018
Karlsson Trade – Karlsson Trade – Hoffman Trade
2nd round draft pick – Pyatt/McKenna Trade – Trade with Boston
This is the Sens line up WITHOUT Matt Duchene, Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel.
So, the last place team in the NHL has one player claimed off of waivers, no players who cleared waivers, and no PTO signings in their line up even when three of their key players are being sat on purpose.
Even the Oilers management staff would have to be embarrassed by what they have put together at this point of the season. I wish this group of Oilers players the best of luck the rest of the way but it’s not really fair to expect much from them. It’s not on them, it’s on everyone else who apparently agreed with, or possibly even encouraged, Peter Chiarelli for the last four years.
THERE IS HOPE
The Oilers best hope to get out of this current mess comes in the form of the Bakersfield Condors but not this season or next. If the new GM follows through on the patience that Bob Nicholson has been preaching as of late the team may have a chance to get things back on track by the 2020-2021 season.
Then and possibly only then will you have a team full of home-grown talent in both primary and supporting roles which is the way the majority of NHL contenders have been built.