On Monday’s episode of 32 Thoughts the Podcast, Elliotte Friedman started off by diving deep into the Edmonton Oilers. The question was first raised over which Canadian city was currently the “hottest”, based on all factors he determined that was Edmonton.
Here is everything you need to know from the episode.
Edmonton’s in the hot seat
When asking about the temperature, here is what Friedman led with:
“The Oilers always go through one week a season where it looks like the Titanic is sinking. One week a year it always happens. A couple years ago it was when they made the coaching season, there was one last year too where it appeared as if everyday brought a new level of anger and pain and angst to the Oilers nation.
“This year it started early. I don’t know if it’s ever been as early in the last few seasons as it started this time around. But, there is my November first stat which is teams that are four points out after the games November first make the playoffs around 10-15% of the time. Well the Oilers are on one of those teams this year…I thought after the outdoor game things would be ok here. They are far from ok.”
Oilers leaky at goaltending
Jeff Marek then moved the conversation towards goaltending and whether or not Jack Campbell was a main reason for the downturn and if Stuart Skinner was going to get a long run in net:
“They are not getting saves, there is no question about it. The Oilers are leaking. This is a double whammy combination…I know that if you are giving up great chances and not getting saves it’s bad. Sources say that is bad. So yes, they are not getting saves, but I dont think thai is only on the goaltenders. The Oilers right now can’t defend. Teams are going right through them and they are getting to wherever they want to go.”
Is change coming for Edmonton?
The conversation quickly shifted to coaching and if that was something that was going to change:
“I started getting calls when that game started getting away against Nashville on Saturday, do you think Woodroft could be fired? Do you think something could happen after the game on Saturday or we could all wake up Sunday and there was a new head coach? There’s two things I look at in these situations:
Number one, what is the coach’s history? And number two, who’s the replacement? Who makes sense. It’s very easy to sit there and say we are firing the coach, but it;s a lot harder to say who makes sense to replace him…The number one thing here I think is that yes I do believe the Oilers are starting to ask some serious questions internally. What is wrong? What can we do to fix it? And has it been thrown around that maybe they might have to look for another coach? Yes, I believe it has.
I think you would be doing the ostrich, burying their head in the sand, if you didn’t think the Oilers were at least thinking about this.
Let’s remember one thing. Jay Woodcroft before this season was the Oilers for 120 games, they won 76 of those and they won three rounds in the playoffs. Is he perfect? No. But he’s gotten results on that team.
To me, when you’ve got that kind of record you need to have a good reason to say you really have had to exhausted all your options when you are saying we have to change the coach. Now are you going to have to go in there and say you might have to do things a bit differently? Yes. You might have to change the way you approach some things? Yes. But how many teams fire a coach with that kind of winning percentage and find someone better?
When looking at candidates and who could replace Woodcroft, the names of potential replacements were…interesting to say the least:
“You make your list of who makes sense. Claude Julien is a person, if you are really craving structure that is definitely the kind of guy you are looking at. You know Patrick Roy…I’ve always wondered when the day would wince when he could get another shot in the NHL. A lot of people talk about Joel Quenneville…on Sunday there was a report of another lawsuit potentially on the 2010 Chicago Kyle Beach case.
There is a media conference on Monday, I think at this point in time…I wanna wait to hear from this media conference what comes out of it…while this is unfolding it seems unlikely the nHL would approve Quenneville while this case continues to proceed. So that is the one thing and wonder. I think there are teams that would look at some AHL coaches or assistant coaches on other teams, but how often do teams let them go during the season?”
“I think with the coach in Edmonton, look if Jay Woodcroft had a .350 winning percentage, or a .420 winning percentage, I think we’d all understand. But the guy has had one gull season and his winning percentage is at 65% and has gone to five playoff rounds the last two years. Unless he is openly refusing to do things, or you really think he’s lost his touch, you’d have to explain to me why that’s a good reason.
Getting to the bottom of it all
Of course, as many conversations go with the Oilers recently, the chat quickly shifted back to goaltending:
“I would feel better about that purely because they were playing better defensively. If you said to me that Edmonton was locking teams down and still losing, then…I’ve had a couple of teams now say to me they look at the Oilers and say “when did the Oilers think “we can’t win with this goaltender.”
Do the Oilers get to a point and say “this is not going to work for us and we have to find a way whatever the cost is to extricate ourselves from it.” One GM was really interesting to me said look “You’ve got McDavid you’ve got Draisaitl they are in the prime of their careers. You think after the last couple of seasons these guys are going to stay forever because you have a chance to win.” Now this season starts the way it is and everybody has questions.
This GM said to me “if I were in these guys shoes…the question that I would be asking myself is is there a price that is too high to pay to extricate myself from this problem if I decide that we can’t win with this goaltender.” This guy said the answer is “probably not.” This is one of the few situations where because this is McDavid and Draisaitl in the prime of their careers getting to the end of their contracts, this is one of the situations you say “ok guys you aren’t throwing me preserves, you are throwing me anvils, I am willing to go to the bottom of the oceans to get ourselves a better goaltender.”
The podcast wrapped up with the the duo talking about whether or not Ken Holland owe Jay Woodcroft a trade? The consensus was that both Friedman and Marek don’t think making a coaching change makes sense and that the team needs to change up its composition first. That means some change is coming sooner rather than later.
Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire