It’s my guess the Oilers are about three games from some kind of move, possibly a couple of callups and a (long overdue) trade to shore up a team that has too many kids.
That probably means they will stay the course and lose 2-1 games on rookie gaffes through game 82. I find it positively fascinating that the Oilers management continues to believe in several “low event offense, high event defense” kids while the rest of the Northwest division treats every shift like a playoff game.
Expansion teams often have to go with a bunch of unproven talent because they are, well, expansion teams. The Edmonton Oilers appear to have decided that having learned many lessons on the trail of the 05-06 season they would abandon all and play out their roster like rookie owners in Rotisserie League Baseball.
If you add up the probable career games played totals of the current Edmonton youth, it’s entirely likely to be impressive. However, the current NHL games played total of Andrew Cogliano, Sam Gagner, Robert Nilsson, Tom Gilbert, Kyle Brodziak, Denis Grebeshkov, Zack Stortini, Ladislav Smid, Patrick Thoresen and Liam Reddox is 566 games. For 10 players.
I understand the Oilers have had injuries to veterans and have had to dip deeper into the minor leagues this season than most other teams. I don’t understand why they were unable to address the need for veterans when it became obvious Fernando wouldn’t be ready or even when Ethan blocked the least important shot in the history of the game. I also don’t understand why they have not had a sufficiently balanced defense since the day they traded Pronger.
Edmonton is halfway through the season and still evaluating. The Oilers are going to get some nice things out of this season: Tom Gilbert has been a joy, Cogliano and Gagner are showing tremendous potential and Brodziak seems to be a useful role player moving forward. Robert Nilsson might make it after all and Liam Reddox is a terribly interesting player.
If this were an expansion team I’d be thrilled with the progress. But this isn’t an expansion team. So why does management continue to act like it is? Why does Craig MacTavish play Smid and Grebeshkov instead of Tarnstrom?
Make a trade. Get better. Send a rookie to the pressbox. Today. It’s the right thing to do.