This article isn’t to bash a team that is down. God knows that Oilers fans all over Alberta have enough to deal with right now. The last thing they need is another person poking jokes at a time when it’s EASY to poke jokes.
This article isn’t here to ask, “Do the Oilers suck?” One look at the standings or the quality of play on the ice over the last month should answer that question pretty loud and clear. No, this is more of a basic question: Why? There were some people talking about the Oilers as a team that could mature into a playoff contender this season.
Let’s be honest – the high point for the Oilers franchise over the last month? Jordan Eberle’s two goals at the end of the WJC Gold Medal game. Yes, the organization’s high point was a game where one of their prospects was participating. And lost.
So without further adieu, here are 20 reasons why the Edmonton Oilers are struggling:
- The two goalies on the roster make a combined $1.375 million—while the guy that’s on IR makes $3.75 million per year.
- Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson and Jordan Eberle still aren’t ready for the NHL yet.
- The man that shows the most effort every game is the fat, red-faced guy in the three-piece suit behind the bench. Seriously, I think he sweats more than the players.
- Edmonton desperately needs grit and leadership. All of a sudden, that Jarrett Stoll and Matt Greene for Lubomir Vishnovsky trade doesn’t look as one sided as the Oilers thought.
- The crowd’s effort at Rexall Place has been as inspired as Tommy Chong on April 20th.
- If it wasn’t for the Toronto Maple Leafs and their historic problems, the Oilers would have the worst penalty kill in the league (75.3%).
- Sometimes teams are actually better than their records. If you take the Oilers goal differential into account… well, they’re still the worst team in the West. But it’s a lot closer!
- The Oilers only have 6 guys on their entire roster that are over 50% in the faceoff circle. A defenseman, an injured winger, a few 4th liners and Hilary Duff’s fiancé. That’s what 28th in the league in faceoff percentage looks like (47.1%)
- In the Western Conference where big teams like Calgary, San Jose and Chicago are teams to beat, 7 of the Oilers best forwards are 6’0 or smaller (not to mention their highest paid defenseman).
- Even though they’re trailing in most of their games (1-13-1 in their last 15), they’re still only 26th in the league in shots on goal. That’s not exactly “throwing the kitchen sink” at the opposition.
- They’ll have 10 scouts at the ECHL All-Star game looking for someone to play with some passion.
- As bad as the Oilers are on the penalty kill, they are only marginally better at even strength. As it stands now, they are 27th in the league at even strength (0.82 ratio). Maybe they just need to play with an extra player all game.
- Their major offseason acquisition just had surgery in Los Angeles and there was no backup plan. History should have told Steve Tambellini that Nikolai Khabibulin only plays well when he needs a contract.
- Dustin Penner is not worth a 1st, 2nd and 3rd round draft pick. Hell, now that I think about it—Dustin Penner is their best forward.
- There is only one Studly Wonderbomb and lately, his nickname has been better than his play on the ice.
- These are the lines that they can put on the ice right now. For those of you keeping track at home, that’s a 2nd line made up of a guy that can’t stay healthy, a player represented by 6 question marks and a guy that has already been traded because there are doubts that he’d reach his potential.
1. Penner – Horcoff – Hemsky
2. O’Sullivan – ?????? – Pisani
3. ?????? – Gagner – Omark
4. Stone – Pouliot – Brule
- Ales Hemsky’s left labrum is kind of important.
- On the rare occasion that they actually have a lead, they can’t hold it. They are 26th in the league when scoring first (55%) and 26th in the league when leading after two periods (75%). At least they’re consistent.
- The best asset they’ve had since the lockout was Chris Pronger. Their return was a few draft picks and Joffrey Lupul. Just a quick recap: Pronger won a Cup for the Ducks and Lupul is BACK in a Ducks uniform. Hmm.
- And the most important reason for the Oilers horrific season: Dany Heatley’s no-trade clause.