Well, that was an interesting week in Edmonton, wasn’t it? It started with hope after the Oil’s 5-2 win over Vancouver last Saturday, but that hope quickly died following a 5-0 loss to Buffalo on Tuesday. How did it end? With Thursday’s emotional roller-coaster win over Calgary. That was just the on-ice stuff, too. Let’s reset and catch up, shall we?
2-1-0 Ain’t Bad:
The Oilers ended up going 2-1-0 this week and actually finished the month of January with a 5-5-0 record. Hard to believe this group actually went .500 this month all things considered, because there were some real rough patches of play in there. That said, the Oilers rallied to win four of their last five games this month, and did well against the Pacific Division. In fact, all four of those wins came within the Pacific.
I thought Edmonton dominated the Canucks for the most part on Saturday night, but the rest of the week was a mixed bag. Tuesday night against Buffalo was arguably the worst performance I’ve seen the Oilers put on, while Thursday night had some good but also had some bad in it. Bottom line is, Edmonton won two games but there are some obvious holes and issues and this team is flawed. We saw that this week.
Credit where due for battling back and beating the Flames on Thursday, but that game was really ugly for long stretches. Gotta tighten that up if this team wants to have a solid finish to the season.
On Paul Coffey:
I never got a chance to put my .02 in on the Paul Coffey hire, but boy do I find it interesting. On the face of it, I really don’t see the big deal and I’m not sure he can actually hurt in any way. After all, if he is just a skills development coach he’s just going to be talking to the defenders and helping them work on things. I have no problems with one of the best defenders in NHL history giving pointers to both the youth in the system and roster defenders.
Anything else, however, and I get a little worried. After all, Coffey has no coaching experience at the professional level. If the Oilers expect him to come in and work on the special teams units as anything more than an advisor, then I worry a bit.
Of course, there is also the ‘Old Boys Club’ stereotype and that worries me a great deal. During the ‘Decade of Darkness’, former players ended up running this team into the ground. We can argue if Peter Chiarelli should be the GM of this team, but bottom line is going back to the OBC would be a grave mistake. Is Coffey the first hire of the Boys on the Bus as they try and retake power? I don’t rule that out.
You’ll have to forgive me, but I don’t for a second buy Chiarelli or Todd McLellan’s word when they say Coffey was their hire. I believe Wayne Gretzky was the man behind that, and I wouldn’t rule out him taking over if this club decides to make a change. That’s what scares me about this hire.
On the face of it, however, and as an advisor, I have no problem with Coffey returning to Edmonton.
The Trade Deadline:
There isn’t a ton going on here yet, obviously, but the Oilers are going to be making moves. Two separate sources have indicated to me at this time that a contract extension for Patrick Maroon is highly unlikely to happen. Even after a tough start, the number really hasn’t come down for number 19. His preferred destination? If not Edmonton, St. Louis is his top choice. That should come as a surprise to no one.
The Boston Bruins are also among the teams interested, but one has to wonder about the relationship between Chiarelli and Boston management. It was completely toxic when Chiarelli was fired in 2015 and the sides have completed exactly zero trades since that time.
Mark Letestu’s healthy scratch on Thursday was interesting. San Jose and Pittsburgh are among the teams interested, but Letestu’s trip upstairs won’t help his value as we approach the deadline. It’s my belief that he, like Maroon, is as good as gone come February 26th.