The Edmonton Oilers were quiet today with no signs of anything major on the horizon. The team played well enough last night, but folded late and left fans with nothing to cheer for but a talented team on the losing end. Rumors today had the team soul searching and possibly witch hunting:
I suspect the next few days will determine direction Oilers will go. Full forensic analysis from top to bottom will take place…
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) December 4, 2014
That opens up the possibility of firing a coach, but they’ve axed every character actor this side of Walter Brennan and the meter hasn’t clicked. For me, Craig MacTavish won’t fire his coach—we’ve said this all year—before giving his coach a real chance and that means a better center. So it’s a trade.
If we use our heads for more than a hat rack, dealing from strength means a winger heading out of town. Taylor Hall isn’t going anywhere, and apparently the value on David Perron isn’t strong enough to deliver a good center (which is crazy, but let’s leave that aside for now). The big chip appears to be Jordan Eberle, but he’s not 100% and on pace for 16 goals and 52 points. That’s not worth $6 million a year even if you’re underpaying in assets for the privilege.
So, what’s the answer?
Here’s a novel idea. Use the players available to you, including Martin Marincin, that give you the best chance to win. Sit or IR Niki Nikitin, find a way for Justin Schultz to get some confidence back without ruining defensive sorties in the NHL, and play the hell out of Jeff Petry, Mark Fayne, the recalled Marincin and Oscar Klefbom.
Stop. pushing. Schultz. He is what he is, and at this point it isn’t worth losing your job over.