The Oilers Need To Get Hot, And Soon

Halfway through the season the Oilers are barely in possession of a playoff spot and need to get hot if they plan on making a run this year.

Draisaitl, McDavid and Hyman. celebrating a goal.

Twitter/@EdmontonOilers

While they’re in a different spot than they were midway through last season, the Oilers once again leave a lot to be desired entering the new year. Over the past couple of months, they’ve failed to get any real momentum going and have constantly been taking a step back with every step forward. This was as apparent as ever when they blew a 2-0 lead entering the 3rd against the Avalanche a couple of nights ago as they ended up losing the game in overtime. They haven’t won more than two consecutive games in well over a month and have often felt like the teams that failed to go anywhere during the Dave Tippett era. As of writing this, the Oilers are about to play their next five games against divisional opponents, and desperately need to rattle off some wins if they want to make sure they’re playing meaningful hockey come Spring.

The thing about the Oilers right now is that they’re a less aggressive type of bad than they were to begin last season. As a whole, it often feels like they’re just a couple of plays away from winning a lot of these games, but they’re just not getting it done. I think most of this comes from two things, their poor defensive play, and their inability to capitalize on offence. The defensive part of their game feels fixable, and in these next five games, they’ll need to try and start improving in that area. Zach Hyman in particular, despite his offensive surge, has struggled defensively, so look for him to balance out his game as the season goes on. Offensively it just feels like a matter of the depth forwards becoming more reliable, something we’ve seen Klim Kostin do and that we know guys like Kailer Yamamoto are capable of. Five of their next eight opponents are in the bottom nine for goals allowed, so if there was ever a time to get the secondary scoring going, it would be now.

I don’t think it’s an overreaction to say that this upcoming stretch is the Oilers’ most important stretch so far, and they absolutely need to get hot sooner rather than later. They’re barely clinging onto the last wild card spot, and if they continue like they are now, they could miss the playoffs entirely. I know this isn’t groundbreaking analysis, but Edmonton needs to get right soon, and that starts with this divisional gauntlet.

7 thoughts

  1. Oilers lack depth and grit also seem to be having issues with keeping the puck out of the net.

    Given 3 players take up almost 200 m of your cap and one guy is not worth 9.5 is Darnell Nurse not even remotely in the same league as Makar.

    My Kings dominated them with all their players last year in playoffs especially game 4 we didn’t even have Fiala which was top 6 elite skillset we were missing.

    So Draisaitl and McDavid can put up pts no doubt, does that translate into success jury still out on that one.

    Your thoughts Henry

    Slainte

    Alex

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    1. Definitely agree about the lack of depth being a huge issue, and the Nurse contract is a whole issue on its own. I think that the Kings played them really hard in the playoffs last year which gave them lots of trouble, and the addition of a guy like Fiala would make that a matchup I wouldn’t want to see again, especially considering how last night’s game went. McDavid and Draisaitl’s ability to pour on goals makes it so that they could beat anyone, but their deficiency in other areas also makes it so that they could lose to anyone.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Where do you see Kenny looking to address and what would be fair value for Jussi ?

        Also, I would not be surprised to see us make a run at chychrun or go after guy like Josh Anderson as well. Can never have too much depth.

        Name another team has deeper prospect pool than The Kings?

        If the Oilers don’t make a move, do you see them still getting in? and how far?

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    1. The Oilers definitely don’t have the deepest pool of prospects so a guy already in the NHL like Jesse or Kailer would probably have to be dealt if they wanted to get anything done, but I still think guys like Bourgault and Schaefer would be solid pieces in a trade. For Jessi alone, I think this might be the lowest his value is going to be and at this point, I wouldn’t feel great about trading him. I think one thing to consider is that they’ll have Kane back for the stretch, so if I had to say I would guess this team is able to squeak into the playoffs, but I’m not confident in that. With how messy the West is this year I think the Oilers could make a serious run in the playoff if goaltending steps up, but at this rate I don’t like the odds of them going back to the Conference Finals.

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      1. Look at the Avalanche have had 122 games missed of manpower at one point had 5 of their top 6 forwards out.

        Yet still in wildcard slot

        Smashville has won 4 straight, Jets didn’t see them becoming one highest scoring teams averaging 4.5 per game plus emergence of Josh Morrissey who I see one heavy favorites to win the Norris along with Josi.

        Also given the lack of movement from Sin City but having a healthy Jack Eichel and emergence of Logan Thompson who I see as front runner for Calder.

        To me the Central is very stacked besides the lonely Hawks in the basement I see one if not both slots being occupied by the Central.

        How about you Henry?

        Alex

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  2. I think the Oilers’ clearest path to the playoffs definitely feels like through the division, I agree the Central is really strong this year, way stronger than I expected. I feel like the 3rd team in the Pacific will probably have a similar amount of points are the second wild card, especially since I don’t have a ton of confidence in any team in the division. The one silver lining is that the Central could end up cannibalizing each other and leave that final wild card spot open, but right now it feels pretty open.

    Liked by 1 person

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