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Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

REPORT: It’s Tobias Rieder’s fault that the Oilers aren’t a playoff team

The Oilers, who are trudging to the finish of yet another incredibly disappointing season, are hosting a week’s worth of season ticket holder meetings which in order to convince fans that the organization isn’t a complete disaster.

Bob Nicholson has been heading these meetings, discussing major issues like the future direction of the organization, the search for the next general manager, and, of course, the culture. At today’s meeting, Nicholson concluded that Tobias Rieder was a key reason why the Oilers made the playoffs. According to Twitter’s Mental Gas (who was at the event), the difference between the Oilers making the playoffs and not was Rieder failing to score 15 or 16 goals.

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It’s official. We are no longer blaming the water. We are now blaming Tobias Reider.

But jokes aside, this is a wildly inaccurate statement that’s frustrating on multiple levels. I mean, there’s no doubt Rieder didn’t live up to expectations this season and he’s ultimately responsible for his own poor play, but adding 15 goals from him would have put the Oilers in the middle of the pack for goals for and still deep in the red in terms of goal differential.

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The really frustrating thing here, though, is how it so clearly indicates that the organization is completely lost. Year after year, it comes down to blame the players. No, not the general manager who put the flawed roster together or the guy at the top who hired that general manager and gave him the green light to make terrible decisions, but the marginal depth players. Man, if this place wasn’t already a tough sell for potential free agents, this comment certainly cemented it.

Rather than looking at this roster and thinking damn, we’re really devoid of the skill and speed to compete in the new NHL, Nicholson is pinpointing the difference between success and failure on one player not living up to expectations. Forget the lack of depth, shaky goaltending, and a blueline without good passers, this comes down to Tobias Rieder. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m thinking the issue is at the top with the guy who has no actual experience putting together a successful NHL team. And no, running an NHL team is much, much more difficult than having to choose which All-Stars are going to make Team Canada’s taxi squad.

We’re supposed to trust this guy to lead the ship? This is who’s selecting the next general manager? This is who’s going to surround that general manager with the best staff possible to drag the Oilers out of the mess his last hire created? This is supposed to invoke enough faith in season ticket holders to shell out tens of thousands of dollars to support the Oilers?

***UPDATE***

Bruce McCurdy tweeted out a transcript of Nicholson’s comments:

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