The Edmonton Oilers can’t possibly be this bad. What a ghastly performance last night. There were times in the past, when this team, outgunned from man 1 through man 21, would at least work their collective nuts off for 60 minutes. Whatever happened to this team, enough. This team is unwatchable, incomprehensible and, incredibly, incapable, despite having the best player on the planet.
This isn’t the time for the “I’m not mad, I’m disappointed” dad speech, this is the time for the “if you want to live under my roof” speech. People pay real money, hard earned dollars for those tickets purchased, and every damned one of them deserves a refund on last night’s ticket. Even the guy who won $600,000 on the 50/50. Awful. Just awful. Shame!
On the morning of November 6, 2017, I wrote what appears below. The song remains the same as it ever was, save for the security of the general manager and the coach:
The Edmonton Oilers are a team in the National Hockey League. That effort yesterday at Rogers Place has to be a concern to the organization. Have they tuned out the coach? Is the team sagging because the home cooking goaltending is subpar? Watching the Oilers body language after the second GA was like watching the Philadelphia Phillies after Mitch Williams walked the based loaded: Shoulders sagging, impending doom. This isn’t even mostly on the goalie, but the Edmonton Oilers simply aren’t right and that’s one area (home G) of concern.
If we continue with the early malaise, perhaps we see something rash, but this is the absolute worst time to make a move. While we’re on the subject, I do not believe the coach (or general manager) are in danger. The 103-point season buys Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan the rest of this season and into next, in my opinion, and the general manager gets at least one more coach before he’s through. The next big name out of town is a lefty blue, pretty sure.
Todd McLellan: “We worked hard for two years to get (the belief system) up. It’s being tested and we have to put some performances together.”Source
His judgement cometh, and that right soon! McLellan’s quote here was repeated last night. The coach talked about bad habits coming back and my oh my that was just stunningly bad last night. Has this team quit on its coach? I’m never going to pretend to know that kind of thing but the on-ice product looks like the players don’t give a rat’s ass about the coach or the fans. I know that isn’t true, these are proud athletes and they are feeling it today. If I could, I would ask each of the role players to look at the 2009-10 Oilers and have a good long look at just how many players lost their NHL careers or saw them derailed that season. Robert Nilsson, Gilbert Brule, Patrick O’Sullivan, these are still young men today who could not wash the reputation from their resume. Since 2006 summer, the Edmonton Oilers are the place careers go to die. I thought they were beyond that but this season is going to have an impact on many players and hockey people. The Edmonton Oilers: You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.
Great offer! Includes a free 7-day trial so you can try The Athletic on for size free and see if they enjoy the in-depth, ad-free coverage on the site. If you don’t feel it’s worth the $4.49/month, cancel anytime during trial before getting charged. Offer is here.
- New Lowetide: Central Scouting and where the Oilers shop for talent
- New Lowetide: Updates on Yamamoto, Cairns and Keegan Lowe
- Lowetide: Paul Coffey’s role in Edmonton
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers mid-season review: The Defence
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers mid-season review: The Forwards
RED RUM, YEAR OVER YEAR
- January 2016: 4-3-2, goal differential -3 (10 points)
- January 2017: 6-3-0, goal differential 0 (12 points)
- January 2018: 4-5-0, goal differential -12 (8 points)
AFTER 48 GAMES, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 19-24-5, goal differential -26 (43 points)
- Oilers 16-17: 25-15-8, goal differential +10 (58 points)
- Oilers 17-18: 21-24-3, goal differential -23 (45 points)
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM JANUARY
- At home to: Los Angeles, Anaheim (Expected 0-1-1) (Actual 1-1-0)
- On the road to: Dallas, Chicago, Nashville, Arizona, Vegas (Expected 2-2-1) (Actual 2-3-0)
- At home to: Vancouver, Buffalo, Calgary (Expected 2-1-0) (Actual 1-1-0)
- Overall expected result: 4-4-2, 10 points in 10 games
- Current results: 4-5-0, eight points in nine games
— The Athletic NHL (@TheAthleticNHL) January 23, 2018
Two more points for Kailer Yamamoto last night, he’s catching up to last year’s totals. Of course, he should end up well past last season’s points-per-game so there’s miles to go.
- 2016-17: 65gp, 42.57-99 (1.52)
- 2017-18: 18gp, 6-17-23 (1.28)
He’s rolling now, you’d like to see more goals but in his last 6 games he is 5-8-13. Strong. If Edmonton has a chance to draft Oliver Wahlstrom at the 2018 draft, do they? Even with Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto as part of the future? I bet they do.
CHIARELLI’S SUMMER LIST
- Finalize long term deal for Connor McDavid. Done, and a value deal.
- Finalize long term deal for Leon Draisaitl. Done, the price was too dear.
- Negotiate the expansion draft rapids without giving up a valuable piece of the future. Griffin Reinhart.
- Find a second pairing RHD with two-way acumen. Unable to fill hole.
- Find a stopgap measure to replace Andrej Sekera’s minutes. Kris Russell
- Find a C-R who can help the offense and mirror Leon. Ideally a first-person shooter. Ryan Strome
- Make enough cap room to get everyone in under the number with enough room to spare for the trade deadline. Eberle for Strome
On June 30, I wrote “This fall, if Peter Chiarelli doesn’t add any veteran help up front, we’re going to see a bunch of youngsters getting 600 at-bats. This is bad. Why? Well, some of these fellows will work out and others will not and we simply don’t know who’s who.” Source
That’s basically what happened this season. You may or may not care, but for me this is important because it addresses Chiarelli’s thinking. Looking back, it appears he was worried enough about a Leon Draisaitl offer sheet to both:
- Trade Eberle for Strome and some cap relief
- Spend July 1 signing Ty Rattie, et al, and not pushing for feature players.
So, the Oilers reach the deadline with a giant amount of cap room, all dressed up with no place to go. I think we can safely say three things about Peter Chiarelli:
- He devoted very little resources to the 2017-18 season
- All of his bets backfired
- He’s going to get fired
The price he’ll pay will be known, probably in April. I have mentioned this before but expect a new general manager to be in place and my bet is Wayne Gretzky. If he wants it, and my guess is he’ll take on the role if he’s not seen as being the architect of Peter Chiarelli’s demise. That seems a distant bell (no one is going to frame the issue as ’99 plotted against management’) and with that we’re looking at an April announcement with Keith Gretzky or other as the day-to-day boots on the ground general. That’s the way I see it, anyway. Is that a better plan? The mystery will be mighty on this one, we once again will have no real history to guide the future.
As for the coach, I’ve spent much of the season thinking he would be fired in the morning. I admit to feeling that way this morning, but the longer he lasts the more likely (imo) the Gretzky regime begins with McLellan as the coach. We wait for a transcendental summer, even by Oilers standards.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260. We’ll have plenty of time for you to vent and maybe a news item or two. Scheduled to appear:
- Darcy McLeod, Because Oilers. We’ll talk about last night and the way forward.
- Corey Graham, Oil Kings PBP. The Oil Kings are turning a corner with a young and talented roster.
- Jeff Krushell, Krush Performance. Corruption in sport, baseball, and massive winning streaks in leagues where all teams seem to be about the same level of quality.
- Open Line. Bring it.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.