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yave1964

What is wrong with the Oilers??

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  File this under I guess everyone is an expert...... I am gonna take a crack at dissecting what is IMHO wrong with the Oilers this season.

 

  They were the darling pick to run over the Western conference, to bury Calgary somewhere in Alberta, to make the California teams sink into the ocean, to make the Hawks look like Doves, to make St. Louis sing the Blues, to catch the Predators, okay enough of that you get it. Last year was their coming out party, this year was to be the season they made the league look silly and McDavid and company owned the West. As of right now they sit at 11-14-2 good for a measly 24 points second worst in the conference and going nowhere. I have studied the roster and come up with what is in my opion a few reasons why.

 

 CAM TALBOT IS CAM TALBOT. I have never been a fan of late in their twenties goaltenders suddenly discovering the way, occasionally a Bower who was trapped in the minors in a numbers crunch or a Tim Thomas slip though the cracks and find themselves in the right situation but very rarely does that happen. Talbot didn't appear in an nhl game until the age of 26, aftera few years of backing up Lundqvist he signed a deal with the Oilers and has been good sometimes bordering on very good but that was with the team playing to protect him and the kid forwards. With injuries and the team counting on him to do more this year even pre injury he regressed he is 10-10-1 with a 3.03 goals against. He is at this point of his career a very average goalie.

 

 THE DEFENSE IS WELL, INDEFENSIBLE. Sekera was signed a few years ago to a controversial long term deal but has surprised everyone by mostly earning his pay. Larsson came over from the Devils and was a stabilizing force. The kids, Klefbom as a puck moverSee the source image and Nurse as a body mover have played well. They looked like a solid core.

  This year however Sekera is out with an torn ACL and has not been adequately replaced. His offense was usppsoed to be supplied by Klefbom who instead has regressed, Larsson is already looking exhausted from punching outside of his weight class being on the ice for pretty much every defensive zone faceoff. Only Nurse seems to have found a new gear and that is only a slight improvement from last season. The third pair of Gryba and Benning? Just a couple of bodies at this point. Oh I forgot about Kris Russell who is a solid shot blocker with zero other skills. A very pedestrian unit that is not improving.

 

 MCDAVID WITH THE PUCK IS A THING OF BEAUTY WITHOUT HOWEVER..... I listen to the talking heads on the Hockey Network's Hockey Central and yes they get a lot wrong but one thing that Gord Stelick was pointing out the other day was how simply awful McDavid is away from the puck. Put the puck on his stick and give hima  full head of steam it is a thing of beauty but teams are learning to defend him by keeping a body on him not giving him the head of steam and forcing him to create using his mates and he is doing a fine job but it is still a work in progress.

  Away from the puck tho he is lost, flailing away looking for his next opportunity on offense not looking to help on defense, and his faceoff skills are god awful. His first two years his pct. were 41.2 and 43.2 forcing the Oil to often use someone else on the ice with him to take important draws, this year instead of getting better he has won only 89 draws losing 156 for a pathetic 36.3 percent. In fact the last time he won more than he lost in the dot was way back on November 3rd 16 games ago. He is still a thing of beauty with the puck and a full head of steam but the rest of his game has not only not caught up but in a lot of ways seems to have regressed.

 

 THE DRAISATL AND MCDAVID CONTRACTS. The team has glaring holes and the two of them take up thirty percent of the salary between them, in desperate need of secondary scoring they are forced to scrape the bottom of the barrel rather than make bold moves. It rarely works out.

 

SECONDARY FORWARDS HAVE BEEN MEH. Lucic and Maroon Image result for patrick maroon fightcome to mind both are okay, more middle six wingers who would excel on a third line somewhere forced to play a lot on the top line by default. RNH is having a good year as the 2C but Draisatl seems to be struggling under the weight of the new contract and has been good but not anywhere near as good as expected. Strome who came over for Eberle has shown flashes and then Houdini'd it for other stretches. 

  Cammelleri came over in a deal was put on the top line and is now quickly buried nearly forgotten. Letestu is a great 4th liner playing too many minutes. Puljujarvi hasn't lived up to the billing as an Oilers top pick (stop me if you have heard that one before) and the rest of the kids, guys like Khaira, Caggiula and Pakarinen are really just cheap warm bodies. Yakamoto was given a chance to stick and was way out of his depth. The group is not well built, very hard working and industrious as a whole but not a lot of skill behind McDavid, Draisatl and RNH. 

 

  I left the coach and front office out of it and concentrated on the 'on the ice' product and at every level I see ordinary players save for the big two. Talbot is an average netminder and I challenge anyone to prove different statistically. The defense is average and the loss of Sekera was bigger than they thought it would be which is scary because while he is a good player he is just that, good, not great. The supporting forwards are ordinary.

  Draisatl seems to be playing with a sixty million dollar weight on his shoulders and needs to relax and just play. McDavid needs to improve his overall game and understand that the highlight goals and assists have gotten him paid now he needs to prove that he is a complete player instead of one who only pays attention to his offensive numbers. Yzerman and Crosby come to mind as two kids who played that style coming up who became two fo the games greatest two way forwards. Right now there are holes the size of craters in McDavids game and the onus must fall on him as the face of the franchise to fix them before this team can ever take a step forward.

Edited by yave1964
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Good Morning @yave1964,,

 

A very good read.  Will have to digest a bit of it before I make a full comment, however, the faceoff stats you referenced about McDavid is eye-opening.The contracts of McDavid and Draisaitl will hinder this club for years to come.

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McDavid faceoff PER GAME by zone versus other Oilers:

 

It surprised me to find that McDavid is 5th on his own team in faceoffs taken at 2.2 per game in the offensive zone and 5th on his own team in defensive zone faceoffs at 2.1 per game but he takes a disproportionate amount of neutral zone faceoffs at 4.7 per game just a half a faceoff a game behind RNH in that area of the ice. In other words he cannot be trusted to win a big draw in front of either net, 5th on the team in both areas is just mind blowing. Overall he takes over half his draws in the safety of the neutral zone, compared to RNH who only takes 29 percent there, or even Draisatl who takes 27 percent in the safety zone. He is being protected and cannot be trusted with important draws in important areas. Even Letestu (!) and Strome take more offensive zone faceoffs than McDavid. It is not just an area of his game that needs work, it is an area of his game that he is among the worst in the league in. He has won the 111th most faceoffs in the league, a bad number when you think about it with 31 teams that means on most teams he would be 4th on the team in total draw wins, his pct of 36.3 is the worst of anyone in the top 150. He is a brilliant creative force moving the puck but in the faceoff dot he is getting owned like nobodies business. They try their best to hide it but it is a factor in the teams poor play.

 

 

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I look at the Oilers roster and I see a really good 1-2-3 down the middle, with not a whole lot on the wings. Riding Cam Talbot like he's Marty Brodeur was also probably not a smart plan. They're going to piss away the last year of McDavid's ELC and it's mostly self-inflicted, which seems very...Edmonton Oilers.

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Posted (edited)

In addition to the intriguing opinions already offered, I'd like to 

posit another possibility for Edmonton's current unanticipated slippage: 

 

Their ugly uniforms. Their ugly home uniforms!  

 

Now of course their current jersey appearance doesn't = news. But here's what 

dawned on me during the recent :oilers: v. :kings: "game": 

 

The Oiler toilers haven't fully accepted their look. They got close to 100% acceptance 

during last season's playoff series against A----. But we all know about the 

historic meltdown that occurred not long after players looked down at their 

colors, thought back to when management rebuffed their "Doesn't most oil come up 

black rather than orange?" protests before forcing the new attire on them, and 

then shook their heads accordingly. :shakeshead: 

 

Players also empathized with many an innocent Edmontonian who regularly ordered 

jerseys every year to show their support but who didn't really realize what was

coming in the mail until boxes burst open with shocking offerings. 

 

Edmonton fans should be credited for how quickly they worked through their upset. 

They wore the jerseys to the games, could be heard chanting the following during 

pregame barbecues: 

 

"This team has a proud tradition:

It conquered Potvin, Trottier, and Bossy 

So there's no reason to think 

that we can't endure these jerseys 

This city has a proud tradition:  

Coffey, Gretzky, and Messier 

We believe the Cup can come back

before those abominations go away"

 

In but a few games fans not only mastered that awkward chant--they 

became 100% one with the new look. 

 

But the players have yet to achieve that.    

During a break in last night's action, I distinctly recall Nugent-Hopkins 

looking down at his look, and mouthing: "Are you ------ kidding me?!" right before he 

ripped it off and revealed his white backup. Behold: 

 

serveimage?url=https:%2F%2Fthetrentwilki  

But denying what's currently inescapable isn't gonna cut it. My sympathies aside,

they need to block out how they look, and focus better on how they're playing. 

 

That faceoff stat for McDavid was eye-opening given his importance to the team and 

the obvious importance of faceoffs themselves. Do you know who was a certifiable badass in the circle? 

If you guessed the aforementioned Trottier, you are absolutely correct. He used to

come off the bench just to win the puck in the defensive zone. I've also watched a game in which 

he won every faceoff battle. Every one! 

 

So it seems that teams have found a weakness or two to exploit with the Oilers, 

and that Connor's fantastic game needs some fine-tuning.  

But their lineup's not that different from last year and I don't think their playoff success last season 

was a fluke. I have to wonder if part of their present problems come from 

negative head chatter after losing to the Ducks. (Ducks may be cute but they ain't mighty.

We serve that stuff roasted and basted here in LA Nation. :haha:)     

Along those same lines there may be too much self-inflicted pressure from expectations 

given recent success and given having McDavid and Draisaitl on the squad. Not enough 

focusing on each game at a time, erasing each defeat from the cranium right after it happens.    

 

The coach could help too. What's up with leaving Talbot in after the Kings  

opened up a can of goal-scoring in mere minutes? Sub Cam out to send a 

message to him, and / or the team, and / or do something. Letting that happen without corrective action 

can't help floundering players feel better or do better.   

 

If the Oilers get their acts together with regard to fully accepting extant fashion disaster and

correcting any current team weaknesses, as well as celebrating and adding to 

existing excellence such as leading the league in shorthanded goals, I may even consider

wearing an EdmontonRelated or Edmonton getup for a minute or more. Not today's home jersey! But a

blast from the past... Hmmm... Whom shall I pick... :searching: Ah yes! The great Grant Fuhr! :ok: 

Goaltending great and NHL pioneer extraordinaire!: 

 

serveimage?url=https:%2F%2Fi.pinimg.com%

 

serveimage?url=https:%2F%2Fcbsstlouis.fi

 

serveimage?url=https:%2F%2Fpostmediaedmo

 

Right on, Grant. Right on. :goodjob::excl:

 

 

Edited by thenewestlights

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Well the worst PK in the NHL is one of the reasons.......the only team that is worse than my Flyers at home!

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Indeed about Edmonton's penalty kill! 

 

During this recent game when Alex Faust announced their PK percentage of only 57%, 

he understandably felt impelled to repeat it in case folks thought he'd misspoken. 

 

Wonder if any team's ever finished a season with

the most shorthanded goals but

the worst penalty-kill percentage. :searching:    

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Peter Chiarelli has made some good moves, but has made (imo) two critical mistakes.

 

  • Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson. If you look up the word "ironic" in the dictionary, you'll find press clippings where it's discussed that the Oilers are lacking scoring and speed on their wings. It's probably best to place this as a Lucic and Larsson in, Hall out scenario. It simultaneously lowered the ceiling while raising the floor.
  • Griffin Reinhart for 1st round pick, which turned out to be Mathew Barzal. This one had soon-to-be-fired head scout Bob Green all over it, whose obsession with Reinhart probably endures to this day. As I said here on that day, I was ok with bringing in the player, but not at anywhere near that price. You don't spend a 16th overall pick on a reclamation project on draft day.

 

I have a deep and dark fear that something is brewing in Edmonton. I think that Chiarelli will be sacked at some point, and one of two things will occur:

 

  • Kevin Lowe, with the most amount of management experience (and some success as GM in his pocket) takes over the job. He did, as I say, have some success as GM, even in a period of extreme poverty for the Oilers. His volcanic temper has driven off good players from the team and alienated other managers in the NHL. Putting him back would not be good.
  • Wayne Gretzky will be named General Manager. Daryl Katz, please don't do this. I'm not kidding around when I say that I love him as a player and what he represented as an Edmonton Oiler. The memory of his time as a coach, fumbling on the bench, having to sit players because he forgot to write their name on the gamesheet, etc, was bad enough. Don't name him as GM and add that experience to the pile. He might be the greatest ambassador the sport has seen, and absolutely is that for the Oilers. Leave him in that role.

Please.

 

 

 

 

PLEASE!

 

Edited by JR Ewing

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1 hour ago, JR Ewing said:

Peter Chiarelli has made some good moves, but has made (imo) two critical mistakes.

 

  • Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson. If you look up the word "ironic" in the dictionary, you'll find press clippings where it's discussed that the Oilers are lacking scoring and speed on their wings. It's probably best to place this as a Lucic and Larsson in, Hall out scenario. It simultaneously lowered the ceiling while raising the floor.
  • Griffin Reinhart for 1st round pick, which turned out to be Mathew Barzal. This one had soon-to-be-fired head scout Bob Green all over it, whose obsession with Reinhart probably endures to this day. As I said here on that day, I was ok with bringing in the player, but not at anywhere near that price. You don't spend a 16th overall pick on a reclamation project on draft day.

 

I have a deep and dark fear that something is brewing in Edmonton. I think that Chiarelli will be sacked at some point, and one of two things will occur:

 

  • Kevin Lowe, with the most amount of management experience (and some success as GM in his pocket) takes over the job. He did, as I say, have some success as GM, even in a period of extreme poverty for the Oilers. His volcanic temper has driven off good players from the team and alienated other managers in the NHL. Putting him back would not be good.
  • Wayne Gretzky will be named General Manager. Daryl Katz, please don't do this. I'm not kidding around when I say that I love him as a player and what he represented as an Edmonton Oiler. The memory of his time as a coach, fumbling on the bench, having to sit players because he forgot to write their name on the gamesheet, etc, was bad enough. Don't name him as GM and add that experience to the pile. He might be the greatest ambassador the sport has seen, and absolutely is that for the Oilers. Leave him in that role.

Please.

 

 

 

 

PLEASE!

 

 

Another outstanding post JR. Good stuff. The Oil should hire you. 

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32 minutes ago, Podein25 said:

 

Another outstanding post JR. Good stuff. The Oil should hire you. 

 

If the job was easy to do, it would pay a lot less.

 

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1 minute ago, JR Ewing said:

 

If the job was easy to do, it would pay a lot less.

 

 

True dat

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4 minutes ago, Podein25 said:

 

True dat

 

Being serious, I was cautiously optimistic re: Chiarelli when he was hired. He had success, he had turned things around in Boston. He represented a clear upgrade over either Craig MacTavish and Steve Tambellini. I had watched "Behind the B" or whatever that behind the scenes Bruins show was, where the loudest voice in the room to get rid of Seguin was Cam Neely, and we know that Chiarelli's biggest problem in Boston is that Neely had a bigger piece of ownership's ear. He lost the power struggle in the office.

 

What frightened me was that Chiarelli is very willing to move major pieces of the team in an attempt to get better, but that each time he had done that, he received less in return than he sent away. And the same thing has happened in Edmonton.

 

---

 

There has been talk about the possibility of firing Todd McLellan. I think that McLellan is a good coach, but he's like everybody in this world, and has his own blind spots. Of the 31 head coaches in the National Hockey League, 31 of them have forgotten more about coaching than I will ever know, but I think we can sometimes pick out choices which seem strange.

 

- He will not take Mark Letestu off the #1 PP unit, no matter how many times the play dies on his stick or the fact that he's not the right-handed trigger man he wants. I could listen to somebody suggesting that he's playing those minutes because McDavid's faceoff game is weak, but McLellan is already using Draisaitl (54%) and has access to Nugent-Hopkins (who's improved to be a 50% guy). If he wants a righty on the off-wing for one-timers, Jesse Puljujarvi, who has an excellent shot, languishes on the bench. I understand that part of developing a player is to not throw too much at him at one time, but even just a bit of time could help.

 

-There is much talk about the penalty kill, and for good reason: none of us have seen one this bad. Even my non-coaching eye picked something really strange about it, as it's the weirdest formation I've ever seen. These two clips show it well:

 

 

 

-They're playing very passive (as passive a PK as I've witnessed, actually) L-formation, and teams are absolutely picking it apart with cross-ice passes and grade-a chances from the slot. I've never seen teams purposely do this, and it's one thing to be different when you're having success. When you're putting up the worst PK in the last 45 years? It's time to change.

 

Also: if the PP is struggling, could it be in part due to this PK being the one they practice against every day? If you practice offense against a defense you'll never see, I could see it impacting your ability to score goals.

 

I have other issues, such as leaving goaltenders in for the entirety of a shellacking, even when they've been the furthest thing from sharp, but what the hell... Gotta stop somewhere.

 

Time to angry-eat a bag of chips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Team decided not to play D this year. Talbot isn’t a guy you want to ride as a number 1. PK is horrid. Maroon and Draisaitl need to step up a bit more. It looks like trading RNH instead of Hall would of been the better move. What ifs, eh?I think McLellan might be out the door soon. One good thing is McDavid still looks amazing..........that’s with the puck. 😕

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44 minutes ago, Hatrik98 said:

Team decided not to play D this year. Talbot isn’t a guy you want to ride as a number 1. PK is horrid. Maroon and Draisaitl need to step up a bit more. It looks like trading RNH instead of Hall would of been the better move. What ifs, eh?I think McLellan might be out the door soon. One good thing is McDavid still looks amazing..........that’s with the puck. 😕

 

Pretty good assessment...however, I can't agree with all of it.

 

Did the team "decide" not to play D?

I don't believe as a team they all decided to piss off McClellan and say, "Screw the defensive side...leave Talbot on his own".

Young guys pressing too hard, making mental errors.....vets not doing their jobs to stabilize things and keep things on an even keel (looking at YOU, Lucic, Letestu, and Russell).... they push for the goals when they shouldn't, maybe defer to McDavid or Draisaitl to bail them out too often...forget the defensive sides of their game.

Just a theory of course, but I don't think the team 'decided' not to play D.

 

Talbot should be a number one.

However, I won't dispute your point too much because he had always been a back up before that nice year last year, and now he looks ordinary again. With better defensive play, maybe he is back to par? Hard to tell at this stage still.....

 

PK IS horrid. Bang on with that one.

And worst part is, I think THEY know it....and when they take a penalty, they play their 4 man units in fear of giving up the goal instead of playing to make life miserable for the opposing PP units.

 

Maroon and Draisaitl?

Maroon is Maroon. He complements better players. He doesn't raise the level of play...others raise him.

So if the stars struggle so will he. If they do well, then so will he.

I don't put a bunch of blame on 22 yr old Draisaitl who is just about a point per game player, is a plus player (hard to do on a team this defensively bad), is a 54% face off man, hits a little bit here and there, and doesn't take a bunch of stupid penalties.

He will be part of the solution moving forward.

 

Trading away Hall was terrible. Yep. You may be right that RNH should have been the guy to go.....but in hindsight, the Oilers probably were looking at the fact that RNH was a Center and Hall a winger. All other things being equal, you'd rather have the productive C over the productive winger.

Of course, Hall has been amazing for the Devils, Larsson going the other way to Edm has been so-so (when he's been in the lineup that is), while RNH has put up "ok" numbers (not a good thing for a player of his stature though), and of course, is now on IR.

 

Will McClellan take the fall?

Again, hard to tell. You may be right about that too.

However, one of Edm's issues during the Tambellini/MacTavish/Other assorted good ol boy run days was instability behind the bench.

When McClellan was hired, it was viewed as a way to get a coach who ran a winning club in SJ and provide stability behind the bench.

Unless management CLEARLY believes McClellan simply isn't getting the most from his guys, they will leave that alone.

 

McDavid IS still amazing.

But if you want to talk about a guy stepping up, I'd say Draisaitl is just fine....McDavid, for as good as he is, like you said, WITH the puck, could probably use some more rounding of his game.

Though to be fair, he probably is trying to shoulder too much responsibility because his team is down, and it could be taking its toll on his ability to evolve his game beyond offense.

Oh yea...and his FO% is a meager 42%. Not good for a star center.

 

Edited by TropicalFruitGirl26
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Unfortunately coaches usually are the front runners for the blame game. I’m not sure how much more time McLellan has. On the other hand, adding Coffey to the staff was great!!!!

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Draisaitl is mostly centering his own line and has 52 points in 54 games. It's tough to see him as a problem.

 

-Really watch the Oilers blueliners if you get a chance. For whatever reason, they're not able to complete simple passes, and wingers/centres are consistently being missed or the pass is intercepted by opposing player. This is a constant theme. These are simple play, but it becomes death by a thousand cuts. Kills both your defense and offense.

-Milan Lucic is REALLY struggling. He hasn't scored a goal in nearly 1/4 of the season, and is regularly turning the puck over. I don't know if it's a confidence issue, but he's pretty much throwing the puck away as soon as he gets it in his own end of the rink, and I'm concerned that this is a sign that the game is getting too fast for him. Could his back issues are finally catching up to him? Either way, Taylor Hall is gone, and his replacement is scoring at a 40-point pace.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Hatrik98 said:

Unfortunately coaches usually are the front runners for the blame game. I’m not sure how much more time McLellan has. On the other hand, adding Coffey to the staff was great!!!!

 

Sadly, this is very true in all pro sports.

As they say, easier to fire one guy than 25.

 

I don't particularly care for or agree with that way of doing things, but yea, that is how it is with pro teams.

 

Same thing over in Philadelphia where lots of people want Hakstol fired, when in fact, the team he has is still MILES away from true contending stability....plus the team is saddled with bad contracts and zero goaltending still.

Now that Philly is winning, you hear less of "fire Hakstol"....some fans even want to give him another chance.... lol.

 

Different situation with McClellan, I know.

He had a team that made an amazing run last season and people felt THAT was the real Edmonton Oilers and they should continue having seasons like that.

 

Personally, I'd give McClellan more time with this group, but of course, I don't run the team.

And if McClellan does go, THEN the players get their collective heads our of their rears, it will look like a genius move.....whether it is fair or not.

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Besides Milan Lucic and Mike Cammalleri, the Oilers wingers have an average of 79 games played and 8 goals. The career leader in this group? Drake Caggiula, with 15 career goals.

 

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@JR Ewing

 

Wow hate to see your player get hurt like this but makes me feel a little better about not just the Flyers not getting the calls.

 

WTF?? The ref is right there!!!

 

 

 

That is just crazy!!!

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7 minutes ago, OccamsRazor said:

 

Terrible.

 

OMG that is bad! He should be hung up by the short and curlies for that! 

 

Extremely dangerous spot, 3 feet from the boards, on the lower back like that. The only worse play in hockey is the slew foot.

 

Throw the book at that POS!

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Just now, JR Ewing said:

@OccamsRazor @Podein25

 

Worse yet, the play led directly to a GA. I don't know what a penalty is anymore.

 

 

Are you telling me there was no penalty call on the play?!:rage:

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1 minute ago, Podein25 said:

 

Are you telling me there was no penalty call on the play?!:rage:

 

Nope. No penalty, and then a goal. Benning was alright, and on his next shift got into Kane's face and exchanged some glove-on shots. Thank God the gloves stayed on. Kane would murder him in a fight.

 

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      Post
      File this under I guess everyone is an expert...... I am gonna take a crack at dissecting what is IMHO wrong with the Oilers this season.     They were the darling pick to run over the Western conference, to bury Calgary somewhere in Alberta, to make the California teams sink into the ocean, to make the Hawks look like Doves, to make St. Louis sing the Blues, to catch the Predators, okay enough of that you get it. Last year was their coming out party, this year was to be the season they made the league look silly and McDavid and company owned the West. As of right now they sit at 11-14-2 good for a measly 24 points second worst in the conference and going nowhere. I have studied the roster and come up with what is in my opion a few reasons why.    CAM TALBOT IS CAM TALBOT. I have never been a fan of late in their twenties goaltenders suddenly discovering the way, occasionally a Bower who was trapped in the minors in a numbers crunch or a Tim Thomas slip though the cracks and find themselves in the right situation but very rarely does that happen. Talbot didn't appear in an nhl game until the age of 26, aftera few years of backing up Lundqvist he signed a deal with the Oilers and has been good sometimes bordering on very good but that was with the team playing to protect him and the kid forwards. With injuries and the team counting on him to do more this year even pre injury he regressed he is 10-10-1 with a 3.03 goals against. He is at this point of his career a very average goalie.    THE DEFENSE IS WELL, INDEFENSIBLE. Sekera was signed a few years ago to a controversial long term deal but has surprised everyone by mostly earning his pay. Larsson came over from the Devils and was a stabilizing force. The kids, Klefbom as a puck mover and Nurse as a body mover have played well. They looked like a solid core.   This year however Sekera is out with an torn ACL and has not been adequately replaced. His offense was usppsoed to be supplied by Klefbom who instead has regressed, Larsson is already looking exhausted from punching outside of his weight class being on the ice for pretty much every defensive zone faceoff. Only Nurse seems to have found a new gear and that is only a slight improvement from last season. The third pair of Gryba and Benning? Just a couple of bodies at this point. Oh I forgot about Kris Russell who is a solid shot blocker with zero other skills. A very pedestrian unit that is not improving.    MCDAVID WITH THE PUCK IS A THING OF BEAUTY WITHOUT HOWEVER..... I listen to the talking heads on the Hockey Network's Hockey Central and yes they get a lot wrong but one thing that Gord Stelick was pointing out the other day was how simply awful McDavid is away from the puck. Put the puck on his stick and give hima  full head of steam it is a thing of beauty but teams are learning to defend him by keeping a body on him not giving him the head of steam and forcing him to create using his mates and he is doing a fine job but it is still a work in progress.   Away from the puck tho he is lost, flailing away looking for his next opportunity on offense not looking to help on defense, and his faceoff skills are god awful. His first two years his pct. were 41.2 and 43.2 forcing the Oil to often use someone else on the ice with him to take important draws, this year instead of getting better he has won only 89 draws losing 156 for a pathetic 36.3 percent. In fact the last time he won more than he lost in the dot was way back on November 3rd 16 games ago. He is still a thing of beauty with the puck and a full head of steam but the rest of his game has not only not caught up but in a lot of ways seems to have regressed.    THE DRAISATL AND MCDAVID CONTRACTS. The team has glaring holes and the two of them take up thirty percent of the salary between them, in desperate need of secondary scoring they are forced to scrape the bottom of the barrel rather than make bold moves. It rarely works out.   SECONDARY FORWARDS HAVE BEEN MEH. Lucic and Maroon come to mind both are okay, more middle six wingers who would excel on a third line somewhere forced to play a lot on the top line by default. RNH is having a good year as the 2C but Draisatl seems to be struggling under the weight of the new contract and has been good but not anywhere near as good as expected. Strome who came over for Eberle has shown flashes and then Houdini'd it for other stretches.    Cammelleri came over in a deal was put on the top line and is now quickly buried nearly forgotten. Letestu is a great 4th liner playing too many minutes. Puljujarvi hasn't lived up to the billing as an Oilers top pick (stop me if you have heard that one before) and the rest of the kids, guys like Khaira, Caggiula and Pakarinen are really just cheap warm bodies. Yakamoto was given a chance to stick and was way out of his depth. The group is not well built, very hard working and industrious as a whole but not a lot of skill behind McDavid, Draisatl and RNH.      I left the coach and front office out of it and concentrated on the 'on the ice' product and at every level I see ordinary players save for the big two. Talbot is an average netminder and I challenge anyone to prove different statistically. The defense is average and the loss of Sekera was bigger than they thought it would be which is scary because while he is a good player he is just that, good, not great. The supporting forwards are ordinary.   Draisatl seems to be playing with a sixty million dollar weight on his shoulders and needs to relax and just play. McDavid needs to improve his overall game and understand that the highlight goals and assists have gotten him paid now he needs to prove that he is a complete player instead of one who only pays attention to his offensive numbers. Yzerman and Crosby come to mind as two kids who played that style coming up who became two fo the games greatest two way forwards. Right now there are holes the size of craters in McDavids game and the onus must fall on him as the face of the franchise to fix them before this team can ever take a step forward.
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      Pretty good assessment...however, I can't agree with all of it.   Did the team "decide" not to play D? I don't believe as a team they all decided to piss off McClellan and say, "Screw the defensive side...leave Talbot on his own". Young guys pressing too hard, making mental errors.....vets not doing their jobs to stabilize things and keep things on an even keel (looking at YOU, Lucic, Letestu, and Russell).... they push for the goals when they shouldn't, maybe defer to McDavid or Draisaitl to bail them out too often...forget the defensive sides of their game. Just a theory of course, but I don't think the team 'decided' not to play D.   Talbot should be a number one. However, I won't dispute your point too much because he had always been a back up before that nice year last year, and now he looks ordinary again. With better defensive play, maybe he is back to par? Hard to tell at this stage still.....   PK IS horrid. Bang on with that one. And worst part is, I think THEY know it....and when they take a penalty, they play their 4 man units in fear of giving up the goal instead of playing to make life miserable for the opposing PP units.   Maroon and Draisaitl? Maroon is Maroon. He complements better players. He doesn't raise the level of play...others raise him. So if the stars struggle so will he. If they do well, then so will he. I don't put a bunch of blame on 22 yr old Draisaitl who is just about a point per game player, is a plus player (hard to do on a team this defensively bad), is a 54% face off man, hits a little bit here and there, and doesn't take a bunch of stupid penalties. He will be part of the solution moving forward.   Trading away Hall was terrible. Yep. You may be right that RNH should have been the guy to go.....but in hindsight, the Oilers probably were looking at the fact that RNH was a Center and Hall a winger. All other things being equal, you'd rather have the productive C over the productive winger. Of course, Hall has been amazing for the Devils, Larsson going the other way to Edm has been so-so (when he's been in the lineup that is), while RNH has put up "ok" numbers (not a good thing for a player of his stature though), and of course, is now on IR.   Will McClellan take the fall? Again, hard to tell. You may be right about that too. However, one of Edm's issues during the Tambellini/MacTavish/Other assorted good ol boy run days was instability behind the bench. When McClellan was hired, it was viewed as a way to get a coach who ran a winning club in SJ and provide stability behind the bench. Unless management CLEARLY believes McClellan simply isn't getting the most from his guys, they will leave that alone.   McDavid IS still amazing. But if you want to talk about a guy stepping up, I'd say Draisaitl is just fine....McDavid, for as good as he is, like you said, WITH the puck, could probably use some more rounding of his game. Though to be fair, he probably is trying to shoulder too much responsibility because his team is down, and it could be taking its toll on his ability to evolve his game beyond offense. Oh yea...and his FO% is a meager 42%. Not good for a star center.  
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      Draisaitl is mostly centering his own line and has 52 points in 54 games. It's tough to see him as a problem.   -Really watch the Oilers blueliners if you get a chance. For whatever reason, they're not able to complete simple passes, and wingers/centres are consistently being missed or the pass is intercepted by opposing player. This is a constant theme. These are simple play, but it becomes death by a thousand cuts. Kills both your defense and offense. -Milan Lucic is REALLY struggling. He hasn't scored a goal in nearly 1/4 of the season, and is regularly turning the puck over. I don't know if it's a confidence issue, but he's pretty much throwing the puck away as soon as he gets it in his own end of the rink, and I'm concerned that this is a sign that the game is getting too fast for him. Could his back issues are finally catching up to him? Either way, Taylor Hall is gone, and his replacement is scoring at a 40-point pace.    
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      Wow. I guess I'm pretty old school and feel something like that should not go unanswered. There has to be some level of standing up for your teammates if you expect to go to war together some day and expect to not get slaughtered. 
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      @J0e Th0rnton   Just imagine if he hadn't spent the first 1.5 months sick and then dragging around the corpse of Milan Lucic.        
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      @OccamsRazor @Podein25   Worse yet, the play led directly to a GA. I don't know what a penalty is anymore.  

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