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The Day After: It’s time for the Edmonton Oilers to blow it all up

It’s time for the Edmonton Oilers to blow it all up.

Top to bottom this team needs to make some changes.

Much like we all expected, Edmonton got embarrassed by the Florida Panthers. 6-0 on home ice.

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In this game, a good start truly meant nothing. Edmonton outshot their foes from the Sunshine State 17-7 after the first period. 29-13 after two at a point where the Oilers still were in the game.

But one, after another, after another, after another went into the Oilers net. No fight back. No drive. No desire. No willingness to try and bail out their goaltender.

Edmonton had some hard practices this week as we all heard but it meant nothing. They didn’t even show any fight late in the game. In fact, they looked to all but give up in that third period. There was just nothing there.

Sure, some of this mess falls on Koskinen. The first goal against was one you’d like to have back, but the second goal was on a Oilers defensive lapse. The third was a long, weak wrister and the other trio of tallies really don’t matter.

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Koskinen got rolled, but so did the Oilers upfront. While the Oilers put up an impressive 40 shots and 4 xG, 18 of those shots came from defencemen. Far too few from the point, and far too many that didn’t beat Bobrovsky.

Let’s take a look at some bigger picture items, shall we?

The Oilers have played a total of 16 games since December 1st. They’ve gone 3-11-2. One win came on Dec. 1 which also marks the last game that head coach Dave Tippett has won behind the Oilers bench. The two other wins came while Tippett was in COVID-19 protocols.

In that time the Oilers:

  • rank dead last in points percentage (.250).
  • have scored the sixth-least goals per game (2.50).
  • have allowed the most goals per game (4.0).
  • have posted the eighth-worst powerplay (17.1) and the worst penalty kill (65.3).
  • have posted the second-worst shooting percentage (7.58), the second-worst save percentage (.872) and the worst PDO (94.6).

At this point, how does anyone keep their job? This isn’t me yelling for the sake of yelling, either. The people who hold the high-end coaching and management roles have been compensated more than fairly to turn this team into a contender and have failed miserably in doing so.

Simply put: this is unacceptable on all accounts.

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Tippett has failed to get the most out of the roster he has been given with. His systems aren’t putting the Oilers in players to succeed, and he has failed to maximize the talent he has on his roster. The special teams his staff employs have gone from being elite to nothing short of a laughing stock. In two playoff appearances, his teams have been embarrassed by Chicago and then Winnipeg. Edmonton never seemed ready.

In what was arguably the most important offseason in Edmonton Oilers history, Ken Holland failed to utilize the $23-million+ in cap space he had effectively. The best move in his three years in Edmonton might be bringing in Zach Hyman, but that doesn’t overshadow his multiple mistakes. Two second-round picks for Andreas Athanasiou. Caleb Jones and a conditional third (could be a second this year) for all of Duncan Keith and his cap hit. Ethan Bear for Foegele. Four years for Zack Kassian. Two years for Mike Smith. Three years for Tyson Barrie. Four years for Cody Ceci.

Bob Nicholson? Well, he’s been overseeing the Edmonton Oilers since 2014. Three playoff appearances in seven seasons. Eight wins. One trip beyond the first round. Four head coaches. Three GMs. Do I need to say anymore?

Connor McDavid is in year seven. Leon Draisaitl is in year eight.

Last night’s 6-0 loss to Flordia, in a microcosm, is the perfect example of what the Oilers have been for the last decade: a team that shows so much hope only to ultimately fold like a cheap deck of cards.

If the Edmonton Oilers want to be a successful organization then accepting mediocrity — on the ice, on the bench, and in the suites — is no longer acceptable.

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Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at [email protected]