Slippin’ on Oil

The Edmonton Oilers. Making up the numbers, and not doing a great deal more.

After reaching the Stanley Cup finals in 2005-06, the Oilers have been Slipping and Sliding ever since. From a team including ‘the Great One’ to a team full of not-very-great-at-all ones. Having the luxury of drafting sensational prospects such as Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins set the platform for what should have been a successful rebuild.

This was far from the truth. In fact it was a world away from where the Oilers would like to be.

Having cap space available, the Oilers began looking for defensive stability; however, in perhaps the most hilarious of acquisitions I have seen, Edmonton sought the ‘talent’ of one Ilya Bryzgalov. After a sly dig in the press about Edmonton a while before, it was set to be one of the less romantic relationships you could find.

Roster Make-Up

Not only do the Oilers suck, but their choice of players is almost as pathetic.

Apart from shoddy trading and ridiculous free agents signings, they do have a good core of players. Andrew Ference, a cracking veteran of the league. Perron, Eberle and Yakupov, all more than average NHL players, but all yet to hit their potentials. These aren’t the players you need when rebuilding. You need youthful, energetic, potential-hitting players, otherwise the playoffs are a long, long, long way away.

Being a Flames fan, it may seem like i’m poking them with a stick, but come on. They get booed off their own ice and hardly play with much passion. Isn’t this just the truth?

Rebuilding The Right Way?

Compare the rebuild phase in Alberta. Calgary is full of young, energetic passionate players. Supported by top veterans Giordano, Hudler, Glencross and Wideman, and the structure for a successful rebuild is displayed. Just look at the beginning of this current season.

Compared to Edmonton they are a good way apart. The Flames have what the Oilers want. A never-say-die attitude, pride to wear the jersey. Prospects living up to their names and veterans leading the way.

Without these attributes, the Oilers can wave goodbye to the playoffs for many years to come, and will see the Flames down the road stride into the direction they both should be heading. Relieving Dallas Eakins of his coaching position seems the best place to start and maybe they should look more behind the scenes to. Keep the core they have now, get a much needed NHL Starter in front of the cage and go from there. As long as they have a goalie who gives them a chance to win every night they have some top forwards who will always get some points.

One Extreme To The Other

From a successful franchise, to a myth of a franchise. The Oilers have slipped so far away from the playoff pack that an instant change is not manageable. Time is needed, but gradual change is required. The sooner a grasp is taken on these promising prospects and historic team the better.

It’s satisfying watching highlight reels and seeing L-L-L-L-L-L-L-L-L next to the Oilers record, but for the league itself, it is losing one of the better teams.

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  • The truth hurts, Alex! A few thoughts:

    -can’t argue with most of your points, for all the elite young talent the Oilers bring in, it hasn’t translated into wins.
    -Hall and Nugent-Hopkins are absolutely the right pieces to be the core to a franchise. Hall is all-world (he’s struggled a bit of late, looks injured), one of the best LWs in the world, and RNH is truly coming into his own as a two-way star – many believe he’ll be one of the most sublime two-way centres in the game, along the lines of Bergeron and Datsyuk (the offence isn’t elite yet, but it’ll likely come).
    -Eberle is a great complementary player, but must be cashed in for high-end defender or center. Those two pieces are perhaps the biggest holes on the roster.
    -Goal is definitely an area of weakness, but there is evidence to support the theory that it’s the systems, not the goalies, that are contributing to their awful numbers. Funnily enough, Bryzgalov had some of the best numbers of Oiler goalies the last 2 years.
    -I disagree that Eberle, Perron & Yakupov aren’t needed on a rebuilding team. As mentioned, Eberle is a great complementary player; Perron is aswell, and provides much needed secondary scoring and gritty play; Yakupov is probably the most passionate player on the Oilers, but hasn’t been put in a position to succeed, and still works his bag off – huge potential, but being wasted.
    -the passion element is a tricky one. The team has lots of passionate players, but the losing has sucked the energy out of the team. The Flames are infinitely more enjoyable to watch, and were even last season when they were losing.
    -The Flames having arguably the best d-pair in the league certainly helps their cause, and Hiller is a good goalie. They’ve enjoyed some unsustainable percentages this year, and I’m still not convinced they’re a playoff team, but they’ve been getting results so far where the Oilers haven’t.
    -execution I think is the Oiler’s biggest issue. They actually play some really good, solid possession hockey, but make stupid, ill-advised plays at the wrong times that gift the other team chances. Countless goals-against this season have been the result of boneheaded plays after good sequences.

    Here’s to the Oilers and Flames both being good teams one day!

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