The Edmonton Oilers have had their share of issues this year. They couldn’t get a win, they couldn’t score goals, they couldn’t stay healthy, and most importantly, they had some terrible stretches of goaltending. GM Craig MacTavish set out during the off-season to acquire a backup goaltender, thinking that was all that his team would need. Devan Dubnyk had been showing signs of promise despite bad stretches or bad goals now and then. It was believed that Dubnyk would be the goaltender going forward, that he was going to prove himself this year. He has proved himself to this point, but as a backup goaltender.
Linus Omark is still unhappy, and still more than willing to talk to the Swedish media. After playing a lockout year in Switzerland, the Oilers and Omark appeared to have mended fences, or at the very least perhaps new GM Craig MacTavish decided to try his hand at working with Linus Omark. Regardless of what happened in the background, Omark agreed to a one year two way contract and began the season in the AHL with the Oklahoma City Barons. But that’s where he’s stayed (aside from one NHL game) despite highlight reel goals, game winning goals, repeated multiple goal games and a lot of buzz. And why?
From Jason Gregor of Oilers Nation:
I believe the NHL is much safer now than it ever has been, yet I don't see many articles portraying that. Every time there is a borderline hit, or a spur-of-the-moment dumb decision that results in an injury to an opposing player, some pundits are quick to try and over blow the magnitude of the play.
Since the NHL implemented rule 48, there has been a drop in checks to the head. The players are getting the message.
Who cares about draft picks anymore? Honestly. If you are in Edmonton, you have seen enough of highly touted draft picks. You have seen enough “HOPE” (Hall Omark Paajarvi Eberle) and can look back at how that turned out. Omark is having a fantastic season in Oklahoma City, but is still not helping the NHL team while he’s there. Paajarvi is struggling to crack the St. Luis Blues team, Hall has been off to a slow start, and Jordan Eberle leads the team in points… with a whopping 15 points in 20 games. And so with that, Oilers’ GM Craig MacTavish had no choice but to address the media, the fans and the city Thursday. What he had to say seemed honest, but it wasn’t a message the fans are excited to hear.
The Edmonton Oilers are still struggling to find their identity as a team and they are still looking for their missing pieces. While some of those missing pieces may just have to come through trades, others could already be in the system. A glaring need for the team right now are power forwards, forwards who can play the puck, score goals and stand up to anyone else on the ice. While the Oilers brass and fans are looking to the trade market, and other teams for the ideal fit player, the team is also working to develop their own fixes. One of the possibilities for the team is Mitch Moroz, currently with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL.
For the second day in a row, the headlines are still focussing on Lars Eller’s comments Tuesday night. Yes from Tuesday night. Today is Thursday. At this point, is this just a matter of people looking for something to be upset about; simply looking for controversy? Yes, yes it is.
Drafted as a centreman, now playing the wing, 21 year old Tyler Pitlick will make his NHL debut Tuesday night in Montreal as the Canadiens host the Edmonton Oilers. Pitlick has had some unfortunate injuries, and has not had career numbers during his time in the AHL, but due to even more unfortunate Oiler injuries to Ryan Smyth and Taylor Hall, Pitlick has been called up.
He’s back. The Nuge makes his long awaited, much anticipated, healthy return to the Edmonton Oilers’ lineup Monday night against the New Jersey Devils. No one, not one person could be more relieved than Taylor Hall, not even Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Hall has had a good run playing first line centre, but it’s not a role the young winger relishes, nor is it something that Hall could master during his short span to start the season.
Love him or hate him, Ryan Jones is a fan favourite in Edmonton. His community involvement, his passion for the game, and of course his hockey hair have all helped to carve him a place in the hearts of many Edmonton Oiler fans, but the Edmonton Oilers are finally in a position where the team has competition for each and every roster spot. Well, most every roster spot; they will still take anyone who can win a faceoff, with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins out of commission. And what this means is that Ryan Jones was the odd man out.
The Edmonton Oilers made some big moves this summer, big of course meaning more than one move. But then again, moving out your long time captain to make way for a new locker room “feel” can be considered big. Overall the Oilers’ GM Craig MacTavish did accomplish what he set out to do this off-season. But was it enough?
About Oil Patch
Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
Oil Patch focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, The Oklahoma City Barons and Team Canada Hockey with game coverage, news updates, speculation and interviews.
Although the Oilers have had a difficult past decade… or three, here at Oil Patch, the future looks bright.
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