We’re only a day away from having Santa break into our houses to leave presents and eat our cookies, and that made me think it was time to put an Oilers Christmas wishlist out into the universe before the big man heads out for delivery.
If you’re reading this and thinking that 36 years old is too old to be writing letters to Santa, I will absolutely agree with you but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to do it anyway. You see, I’ve been an Oilers fan all my life and while I’ve had Stanley Cups happen in my lifetime, I wasn’t really old enough to understand or appreciate what was happening so I’m searching for answers anywhere I can get them, and that means talking to Santa. We good? We good.
Without further adieu, my 2021 Christmas wishlist:
- A Scoring Winger: Nothing would make me happier than to see another scoring winger land with the Oilers that can consistently play and contribute in the top-six. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Nuge, Hyman, and Puljujarvi but I think there’s room for another guy that can put the puck in the net. Not only is there room for more, but I would also argue that adding another top-six guy would give the coaching staff way more line combo options, including trying RNH out as the third line centre and actually trying to run with three scoring lines. Dare to dream?
- An LHD Upgrade: Personally, I think there’s room to upgrade on the left side of the defence and push everyone not named Darnell Nurse down a notch. Seeing as the Oilers are in win-now mode — at least, that’s what we’ve been told anyway — I don’t see any reason why we should be satisfied with the way that group is laid out. Passable is no longer acceptable anymore, and I honestly think we should be shooting for better than simply treading water.
- Consistent Depth Scoring: As much as it’s fun to watch Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl light the world on fire on a nightly basis, it would be even cooler if they had some help from the bottom six. I mean, wasn’t it nice to see the likes of Colton Sceviour and Derek Ryan cashing in goals over the last three games? Of course it was.
- Good Health: Through the first 29 games of the season, the Oilers have battled all kinds of injuries and COVID-related absences, and it would be mighty fine if our crew could stay healthy over the last 65% of the year. Outside of the first couple of games, we’ve never had a full roster (where are you, Mike Smith?) and I truly wonder what our squad would look like if everyone was available to play.
- Pack Mentality: Does anyone else find it strange that the Oilers don’t often get in scrums after the whistle all that often unless they’re playing against the Flames or something? Personally, I’d like to see them get pissed off a little bit more. I’d like to see some face washing, chirps, hacks… the whole lot. If anyone touches Connor McDavid there should be someone right there to make their first punch a dropkick. I apologize, Mr. Clause, for wishing for violence and rage but I feel like it’s an appropriate ask from time to time.
- The Royal Blues – I don’t think I need to spend much time on why I wish Santa Claus would bring back the royal blue kits — they’re the best uniforms this franchise has ever had — so I’ll simply say that it would be really nice for the boys to look their best on a nightly basis, and I don’t think that’s what is happening with the current jersey rotation.
- Evan Bouchard on the power play – Right? Right.
- Call the Rule Book – I don’t know why it’s so hard for the NHL to understand they’re dropping a deuce all over their own product as a result of the lowly officiating they seem to think is acceptable, but I promise that the league would be best served to have the refs call the rules as they’re written. Right now, this game management b.s. that we’re working with is so inconsistent that you have no idea what’s a penalty from game to game or even shift to shift, and I truly don’t think it would take long before the players adjust provided that they all knew what is allowed and what is not.
- Win a Trade – Just once, I would like the Oilers to pull off the kind of larceny in a trade that has the rest of the league going “whoa, how the hell did they do that?” rather than being the butt of everyone’s jokes for weeks on end. I don’t think that’s too much to ask, is it? Santa? Anybody?
- Everybody listens to my new podcast – Okay, so maybe this one is 1000% selfish but I’ll be launching a new podcast next month called Better Lait Than Never and I’ve got really high hopes for how it’s going to go. I’ll dive into it more on the site in the coming weeks, but I want the thing to be filled with Citizen-driven content, meaning I’ll be reading/playing your thoughts on the show and using the incredible community that revolves around this hockey team as inspiration to make a podcast. Even though I won’t be starting until January, there’s no better time to leave me a voicemail to play on the podcast than right now. Leave a message here.
Outside of the items I’ve listed above, what are you hoping that Santa will bring for our boys as we head into a new year? Hit me up in the comments with anything I’ve missed or anything you think shouldn’t be on my list in the first place. If we put our heads together, surely we can solve the Oilers’ issues one item at a time.