Wednesday, March 23, 2016

What's the answer for the Oilers?

 Pundits, journalists, bloggers, and people on the street have all wondered what is it with the Oilers and being unable to crawl out of the basement of the NHL and after 10 years of missing the playoffs.

Management?  Lowe, Tambellini, MacTavish, and now Chiarelli.
Coaching?  MacTavish, Quinn, Renney, Krueger, Eakins, and now McLellan.
Assistant Coaches?  blah blah blah
Systems?  Swarm!
Players?  Forwards?  Goalies?  Defense?   Joey Moss?  Heck no, it ain't Joey Moss.

It's scouting.  It has to be.  It is.

Jordan Oesterle fends off former Oiler now Duck, Andrew Cogliano
Image courtesy of the Edmonton Oilers

When you look at all the great players of today that the Oilers had a chance to draft but missed them-- thinking their guy was better, you HAVE to make the conclusion that bad scouting and drafting has been the bane of the Oilers organization.

Doan, Perry, Getzlaf, the list goes on.

And look no further than the defense.  The Oilers have consistently had one of the worst defenses in the league.  Lowe and Tambellini really didn't do anything here at all.  And when they even trade for a guy like Sheldon Souray, he is treated with such disdain that Souray gets sour (hi, Gene!).

On the defense as it is now, there are some very decent up and coming players, but it is still very inexperienced.  At least there was some not bad scouting done to draft guys like Klefbom, Nurse (easy one), Davidson, and Oesterle.

Can you imagine how bad the Oilers would be (yes, it could be worse) if they didn't pick up Sekera?

And the coaches aren't the only ones teaching young guys how to play.  The veterans are too.  And when they don't have enough vets to do so, there's a gap.  You need that live on-ice communication and coaching.  "Nurse, go there and take that guy ... I got the backside."

Most of us have maintained that the Oilers are two defensemen away from a properly balanced team.  And that would mean right-handed guys.

Even if they picked up Travis Hamonic from the Islanders for let's say Eberle and Oesterle, there's still another 40 minutes of ice time that needs to go to another guy.  If not, are you happy with?

Sekera - Fayne
Klefbom - Gryba
Davidson - Clendening

Sekera isn't even really a top pairing guy, but he sure is trying damn hard to play like one.  Nurse still has a lot of positioning work and needs to score more.

One thing is certain to me.  One or two of the left-side defensemen have to be traded in a package deal with a top winger or bottom centre for a top right-side defensemen.  And that can be any one of Klefbom, Nurse, Davidson, Reinhart, or Oesterle.

Or trade the top draft pick for the defensemen you need now.  But I'm not willing to bet that Arizona takes home boy Auston Matthews for Oliver Eckman-Larsson.

Either way, a top pair right-shot defensemen needs to happen more than anything else.

And that's the answer.

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