11 losses in a row.
A record of 0-12-4 against the Western Conference.
The next 4 games…Sharks, Sharks, Ducks, Ducks.
Neither California team has been playing really well lately but I think any bettor would put his money on the Edmonton Oilers extending their losing streak to 15 straight.
So, what then?
I can’t imagine anything the Oilers do at this point will change their fate in any way.
They’ve apparently tried trading Yakupov and Perron and haven’t come up with a substantial return…is there anything else they can do?
I expect the answer is not much.
I seriously doubt the team is ready (yet) to part ways with Craig MacTavish and the GM has repeatedly and recently backed his head coach Dallas Eakins.
I think it’s probable that the Oilers just ride this out unless a desperate team like the Flyers does something stupid and offers a significant trade and, quite frankly, that’s likely the best bet as Bob Nicholson conducts his “audit” of the organization.
You can imagine that the organization is already having conversations about the 2015 draft with Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel and Noah Hanifin seen as a reward for another lost season but I think that may turn out to be fools’ gold.
In my opinion, the NHL will do everything it can to prevent the Oilers from picking 1st overall…it is a situation that has the potential to do great damage to the league and to a generational player like McDavid.
If the Oilers fail to draft McDavid, it needs to be pointed out that both Eichel and Hanifin are playing NCAA hockey and both have the option to remain in college as long as they wish. In fact Eichel has already indicated he will return to college next season and Hanifin could easily follow suit. It’s then not inconceivable that both could play out their college careers and become UFA’s in the same way that Justin Schultz did when he spurned the Ducks and signed with the Oilers. (I wonder how he feels about that decision now?)
So, the reward for another lost season for the Oilers and their fans just might turn out to be…nothing.
Now, I would imagine the Oilers will attempt to get a firm indication of the players’ plans before the draft so I wouldn’t be shocked to see the team go off the board and draft someone out of the top 3 if they don’t get the answers they want to hear.
There are some very good prospects later in the projected 1st round but it’s likely any player selected outside the top 3 will not be an impact player (see Leon Draisaitl) next season.
So, what does a team close to the cap, anchored by a series of bad, long-term contracts and a management team that doesn’t seem to have any idea how to fix this do next?
The most likely answer, I expect, is…nothing.
At this point, the diktat from Daryl Katz may well be to put a hold on any transactions while Nicholson completes his organizational review and make decisions after.
However, the team is in a very dangerous situation…the Boys on the Bus are doing serious damage to the Oilers brand and that damage will only be exacerbated by other lost season manifested by empty seats, an angry mob mentality by those who do show up to watch the circus and, perhaps even worse, a growing apathy toward the team from what can only be described as a very loyal fan base.
“It’s an exciting rink with a good atmosphere, another reminder of how fun it is to play in the NHL.” @hallsy04 on playing in WPG tonight
As the very public squabbling between the team’s veterans and its Golden Child escalates, the toxic stew that is the Oilers, I don’t think it’s inconceivable that one or more players will demand a trade at the end of the season unless there is a clear path toward success delineated by next summer.
But any clear path that includes the current management group, based on its performance, is highly unlikely to succeed in the near term and, in my opinion, the Oilers are close to running out of runway with their fans.
And you have to wonder how long Daryl Katz will let his friends tarnish the brand.
( I see the moderators have removed that post thinking it might be defamatory, which would only be the case if it were untrue)
Hold on, it’s going to be an interesting ride.