A year ago, the Edmonton Oilers were below average by a mile or more: 36 goals below average in the GF category, 40 goals behind in goals against. They were 8 goals below the average powerplay total and their PK was 18 goals in the hole compared to the rest of the league.
There hasn’t been a player invented who could help a team overcome those numbers in a single season, but that isn’t the job at hand. The job is to improve in all areas to the point where things are headed in the right direction.
A generation in the basement is no fun at all. If this team can improve the offense while getting more consistent goaltending and a more mature set of F’s and D’s working together then there might be some hope this time next year.
We’ve talked at length about the goaltending questions and the Ryan Whitney worries are well known. The opportunity is there for someone to step up during training camp on the blue and in net. I think Jeff Petry and Yann Danis are the pair who will emerge but the next two weeks will tell us more.
I don’t think Whitney’s injury and Khabibulin’s worries will make NHL players out of Petry or Danis immediately, but the 82-game NHL schedule should see both getting plenty of work in the show.
The Joey Moss goes tomorrow, and I think we’ll get some idea right away about line combinations, powerplay sets and defensive pairings. Why? Coach Renney doesn’t have time to fiddle about, this team has a game on Sunday (Moss) and then two on Tuesday. NHL training camps see these men arrive in shape, but there are still things to be ironed out and that process begins behind closed doors today.
Nation Radio is on the air at noon today. Among the scheduled guests:
- James Mirtle will give us a national view of this week, and we’ll talk about Luke Schenn’s new contract, the pressure on Ron Wilson and how the Oilers are perceived in Eastern Canada this season.
- Michael Speidel will tell us about all of these RFA contracts and the ones Oiler fans should be paying close attention to; we’ll also talk about his theory on forwards versus defense and how good the Oilers blue will be this season.
- Jason Gregor will give us an update on the rookie tournament and an inside look at the early hours of this year’s TC.
- Kent Wilson will join me to talk about several things, including Drew Doughty and some of the other rfa signings this week. We’ll touch base on the NW division too and discuss the early training camp stories.
We’ll also talk Joey Moss and the things we can look for in training camp and preseason this year. Your emails are always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org and we hit the air at noon sharp.