Nothing Rhymes

The list of Oilers forwards stuck offensively is real and it’s spectacular: Taylor Hall hasn’t scored in November, Magnus Paajarvi is lost and the Edmonton Oilers are a putrid offensive team. Their 41 goals is 9 off the league average (source: hockey-reference) and the early magic of the GA is lost too (although their 43 GA is still miles better than the league average).

What can the Oilers brain trust do today to inject some energy into this team?

There will be changes, we know that much this morning. Injuries to Andy Sutton (I blame the derrick), Corey Potter and Jeff Petry have the blue bluer than blue. I imagine we’ll see any or all of Colten Teubert, Taylor Chorney or Alex Plante recalled today depending on the status of the three injuries from last night and Ryan Whitney’s availability.

Should Whitney be ready, the sun could break through the clouds. There were all kinds of breakdowns last night (and on the road trip) but the Smid-Gilbert pairing has been fine to my eyes throughout the storm. If Whitney could pair with another Oiler defender that’s two legit pairs.

Next up, Theo Peckham. I have no idea if he’s injured or if he’s forgotten all of the lessons learned, but we’ve seen this before over the years and Teddy isn’t good. At all. Coach Renney has to see that, and a trip to the pressbox is long overdue. A guy like Teubert might be the better plan right now, and yes I know he’s a flat out rookie. However, Peckham is a human grenade right now, he’s in every police photo after a goal. I don’t know if David Staples tracks errors anymore, but this guy is the new Steve Sax.

Up front, I think it’s time for a change. Move those kids around, maybe take Hemsky off the Smyth-Horcoff line and it might be a plan to callup Linus Omark since goals for are a tough item. Candidates for the pressbox include Ben Eager, Eric Belanger, Magnus Paajarvi and Lennart Petrell. Hell, that entire 4line (Lander’s shot aside) could use a night in the pressbox.

I think the coach Renney’s prime targets to get rolling are Taylor Hall and Ales Hemsky. Find those two some chem and things will roll. As it is, this is going to be a long week for Oiler fans.

Oh, and one more thing: does anyone really believe a Sam Gagner for Cody Franson trade is a reasonable one? I’m sure Franson has some nice things, but giving up on Gagner is crazy. The one thing the Oilers have is time to develop a secondary offensive line, and Gagner is certainly capable (when healthy) of delivering offense.

He needs to step up, but you can say that about a lot of people this morning. I’ll be interested to see the callups, the line shuffles and the goaltending decision for Saturday night. This is a massive portion of the season. Remember those horrible December nights where “instant loss night” was an everyday happening? I don’t believe this team is there, but then again last night didn’t seem possible even a week ago.

This team is very poor this morning. There’s a lot of skill and there’s a lot of promise. But the Oilers are once again shy of actual NHL players. It’ll be interesting to see how many of the kids will begin to perform at their previous levels. Right now, there’s no swagger, no confidence, nothing rhymes.

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