Many people predicted before the NHL season began that the Edmonton Oilers would not only be a playoff team, but a serious Stanley Cup Final contender as well. There is a reason why we play the games. Edmonton looks the completely opposite and they are off to a 7-12-2 start with 16 points. They sit in the seventh place in the Pacific Division and they are tied for the third worst amount of points in the standings in the NHL.
Edmonton was crushed last night 8-3 to the St. Louis Blues and they were accused of quitting. Cam Talbot was pulled after giving up two goals on the first three shots and then it continued to snowball when Lauren Brossoit came in net. I don’t think Talbot being in net is the problem for the Oilers this season. Anytime I watch him, he continues to make save after save and Talbot gives the Oilers a chance to win every night. Talbot’s record is 7-10-1 with a .900 save percentage and a 3.19 GAA , along with one shutout. Brossoit isn’t a very good backup with a 0-2-1 record with a .865 save percentage and a 3.62 GAA.
The defense has been very shaky this season as well. They have given up 72 goals in 21 games this season and Edmonton has only scored 53 goals this season. That is a major concern as they scored 247 goals as a team last season with much more depth. Edmonton traded Jordan Eberle to the New York Islanders for Ryan Strome in the offseason and that was a mistake. The Oilers lost Benoit Pouliot in free agency to the Buffalo Sabres.
In 20 games this season with the New York Islanders, Eberle has scored seven goals and recorded seven assists. Pouliot has scored six goals and recorded two assists in 21 games with the Buffalo Sabres. Ryan Strome has only scored three goals and recorded five assists in 21 games with the Oilers so far this season.
When Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is Edmonton’s second leading goal scorer with eight, you know it is a concern. He also has nine assists. Surprise surprise though, Connor McDavid leads the Oilers in points with 26 (10 goals 16 assists). Leon Draisaitl has scored six goals and recorded 10 assists in 17 games so far this season. He missed a few games with a concussion. Patrick Maroon has scored five goals and recorded seven assists. Milan Lucic has scored four goals and recorded nine assists.
If you want to blame this season on head coach Todd McLellan be my guest, but it isn’t his fault that last year’s success was messed up in the offseason. The blame for the Oilers bad start should be pointed at general manager Peter Chiarelli. He hasn’t found the proper players to replace Eberle and Pouliot. The Oilers were a win away from going to the conference finals last season because of how well the depth players played for Edmonton. If they want to make it back to the playoffs this season, McDavid and Draisaitl can’t carry the team by themselves and other players are going to have to step up.