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The Oilers Finally Get Lucky

It was supposed to be a relatively quiet couple of weeks. The Edmonton Oilers had their GM in place. Craig MacTavish was giving the interviews, he was talking about the draft, Craig was on it. The Oilers had their spot in the draft lottery, and with about an eleven percent chance of winning the lottery, that wasn’t happening again, no way right?

So, knowing that it was going to be a quiet time for a team that I could barely bring myself to watch all season, let alone talk about this was an excellent time to take a trip. My husband was working in Honolulu, I’ve never been, and we are now 28 weeks pregnant with our first baby; this was an excellent time for a break! Well, let me tell you, this was the worst time for me to be in a non-hockey market, without a laptop and four hours behind my home time zone.

So, the Oilers have won the NHL draft lottery, again shocking most of the hockey world. The winnings? A franchise player in Connor McDavid, a player the Great One, Wayne Gretzky described as “He’s as good as I’ve seen in the last 30 years, the best player to come into the league in the last 30 years, the best to come along since (Mario) Lemieux and (Sidney) Crosby. He can definitely change a franchise’s fortunes.”

Oilers fans have heard this song before. First it was Taylor Hall, then it was Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and then of course it was Nail Yakupov that were supposed to turn the organization around. Unfortunately, one, two and even three players are not enough to fix this Oilers team. While the team has gotten younger and more skilled, they have also gotten, well younger, less experienced, and of course smaller. The Oilers have become a team that can and do get pushed around night in and night out. They are easily stripped of the puck, they have a hard time keeping goals out and of course, the biggest struggle, moving the puck up the ice for any offensive chances.

The Oilers attempted to bring in a new coach, but it wasn’t the right time, and the right coach. Young players cannot be told night in and night out that their focus has to be on shots per shift, hockey is an organic game. You keep your players accountable, but not to a set number of shots per shift with the consequence of failure being time in the pressbox.  And so, the search for a new coach continues into the off-season with Todd Nelson as a front runner.

Deciding on the new coach however, is of course not Craig MacTavish. While MacT has made some potentially good moves this season, his time was apparently up with the Oilers, or more likely it was simply that a better candidate became available. So, the strangely enough, the biggest change, the biggest shock that came about in the past couple of weeks in Edmonton was the appointment of Peter Chiarelli to President of Hockey Operations and General Manager of the Edmonton Oilers.

Chiarelli is not a member of the Oilers’ old boys club, he didn’t play with Gretzky, he wasn’t friends with Daryl Katz through the glory years but he does have an impressive resume. What alarms most folks in oil country, myself included, is Chiarelli’s apparent willingness to trade away young talent hoping that with big risk comes big reward. The trade value on most of the Oilers’ young talent is just too low right now. The only one with “high” value would of course be Jordan Eberle. The Oilers certainly can’t stand to lose Eberle at this point. 

Chiarelli has a lot of work ahead of his this summer. While the Oilers got lucky in landing the first overall pick at this year’s entry draft as well as an experienced GM who just might be able to turn this team around, given the right tools and opportunity, this will still take time. It would be foolish to think that the Oilers will be competitive next season, to the point of a playoff spot. But there is hope that the team could possibly win a game or two here and there, maybe even stringing a few wins together. Could you imagine? Yes, the Oilers got lucky, but more importantly, the team has given hope back to many of us who were losing interest, let alone hope in the home town team. 

Filed in: Edmonton Oilers, | Oil Patch | Permalink
  Tags: connor+mcdavid, peter+chiarelli



At least Boston or LA didn’t land the #1 but you have to wonder if the Oilers can mismanage yet another top talent.

They really need to think about trading one or two of those players for some size, grit and leadership. Although, as the article states, their trade value is too low right now.

Posted by evileye on 04/28/15 at 12:43 PM ET

Lisa Brown's avatar

That’s exactly the issue, there is little value in any of the current roster players. If they trade away good players, who aren’t doing well in the current situation and only get back mediocre players, then that’s an issue. The Oilers are going to have to look seriously at free agents this summer, hope that they’re players they could trade have a good season, and then try for a trade.

Posted by Lisa Brown on 04/28/15 at 01:56 PM ET

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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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