6-12-0, this is not the progress we expected from the Edmonton Oilers this season. No, it’s not close actually. No one expected the playoffs, I know I didn’t, but I expected some sort of a turn north as my pal Lowetide would say, some sort of progress shown over the course of the season. I set my sights on about 35 wins, a respectable season.
As of right now, we are sitting here with just six wins, starring another 24 win season right in the face. That’s eleven wins less than I thought, that is not progress folks, that is failure.
Now, it’s November 16th, it’s still early, and the Oilers have shown some signs of improvement, but as Dave Gordon said yesterday it’s time to can the excuses. The Oilers are sitting in the bottom portion of the league again and the wins are not coming, it really is unacceptable.
See, the thing for me is that the Oilers don’t quit in games anymore, they really don’t. These guys fight until the end regardless of the situation and that’s a step forward. They also don’t get blown out anymore either, a small victory no doubt, but it’s another step forward. They are also starting to outplay some of these top teams for large stretches too, something new.
I wrote about this on Saturday, there are actually some real positives to this early season stretch, I really believe in those points. I also believe that with a little health and with a little bit of goaltending that the Oilers would have at least nine wins. That would change the outlook significantly.
Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that Edmonton is last in the west and once again closing in on last place in the league. These failures extend back to the inept days of Steve Tambellini’s reign and to the disastrous days of Craig MacTavish’s rule in Edmonton. The Oilers are still recovering from those mistakes.
It shows every night. Edmonton has three very promising young D in Darnell Nurse, Oscar Klefbom and Griffin Reinhart, but three young D in the lineup every night can be quite an adventure. The team only has one capable veteran in the position, Andrej Sekera, and he’s new to the organization. The defense is extremely weak and it costs Edmonton.
Goaltending is still a problem too. I wrote last week about riding Anders Nilsson and I’m not more convinced that that is the right move. Cam Talbot had a good run in New York, but he’s really struggling in Edmonton right now, in fact you can argue he cost Edmonton two games on this road trip, in Chicago and in Los Angeles.
So What Happens Now?:
The Oilers are coming up on a significant marker in their season, the 20 game mark. Peter Chiarelli said he would need twenty games to evaluate his roster and be around this club before making moves. That mark comes on Friday night when the Oilers host New Jersey.
After that, it’s open season on making moves. Realistically, with Chicago and New Jersey coming to town, Edmonton is looking at a record of 6-14-0. The season, at that point, would be over for Edmonton, meaning the pressure to make a move gets turned down significantly.
I still think we see Chiarelli tinker with this roster and try to get this group to win some games. Chiarelli was not a fan of failure in Boston and I can’t see him accepting it in Edmonton. Regardless of record he’s going to try and improve this hockey club, you better believe that.
Can Edmonton Improve?:
Yes, they can. The Oilers are playing better but the factors of health, goaltending and defensive mistakes keep them from getting wins. If Edmonton could only get some solid goaltending, their record would be better. Get healthy and stop some pucks, do that and the wins will come, I’m convinced of that fact.
This has been an insanely frustrating season for the Oilers. The roster is improved and they have the right coach and GM in place. That said, the record is actually worse than last year and they sit last in the NHL again. The dream this year was to turn north, but we aren’t living that dream, not even close.
Instead, we are living a nightmare. The Oilers are not winning again and the season is in danger of dying before December 1st. That has to be considered unacceptable and that has to be labelled as a massive failure inside the front office of the Oilers.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way, it really wasn’t. The Oilers are running out of time to save this season, they need to start winning games and they need to start right now. A lifeboat from Peter Chiarelli in the form of a veteran defender would help quite a bit too.
This nightmare must stop. Please Edmonton Oilers, for the love of all things holy don’t let this thing die before December again. Do it for you, do it for each other, do it for us.