Welcome back. I wrote an article last week suggesting our biggest problem is our defence and suggested one smart trade is all that is needed to correct the ship. As it turns out, this is a historically awful start.
We had a poll here on what our biggest problem is and the readers agreed it is the defence.
What was missing, to me, in that poll? Option five which is Oilers’ GM Ken Holland. Our D is healthy and this is what Holland built for us in “win now” mode. Our cap is right up against the wall and that is, again, Holland. We also have a very expensive goalie who is clearly not NHL caliber. That is also Holland. Some argue Darnell Nurse is not a 1D and well overpaid. That is also Holland. The only Peter Chiarelli remnants are two very good contracts for Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
The importance of American Thanksgiving
Thursday, November 23 is American Thanksgiving. This is a HUGE date on the calendar as 80% of teams in the playoff picture on this date make the playoffs. I’ve been tracking this for years and it is remarkably accurate.
Here is where we are today:
We have to be in a playoff spot on the 23. Luckily we play right up until the 22nd.
Here are our eight games until the American Thanksgiving cut off date:
.550 would be the minimum playoff spot today. I will use points percentage as everyone will have played a different number of games by the 23. Game 18 is the last game before Thanksgiving. We are sitting at 2–7–1. To get to .550 we would need to be 9–8–1. This means we have to win seven of the next eight games. This would give us a 9–8–1 record and the last wild card spot (in theory). If we want a guaranteed spot than we have to win the next eight games in a row!
It’s officially time to panic. The answer is NOT in the room. There is no D or G in our pipeline that fixes this. I fear the solution will be to fire Head Coach Jay Woodcroft. I fear the solution is to get a forward. Maybe sign Patrick Kane or Phil Kessel. Connor Brown hasn’t moved the needle at all. Everyone was excited that Raphael Lavoie was coming up to the big club. He had less than 10 minutes of ice time. Sam Gagner has been great and he’s zero for two as an Oiler. Our solution isn’t a forward. We need a NEW dman and we need him yesterday. Expecting a forward to fix our problems would be like wanting a Police Officer to put out a fire.
What is the answer?
A lot of online fans point out that we are missing Klim Kostin and his grit. Kostin is another forward that wouldn’t help us. He makes around $2M, has no points, and plays around 10 minutes a night. At league minimum he was a tremendous help at 10 minutes a night. At $2M and 0 points he may see himself on waivers soon.
Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire