Here is a gross understatement: The Edmonton Oilers are not doing well this season. In fact, the Edmonton Oilers are performing terribly, earning themselves consideration as the worst team in the National Hockey League. Among many problems with the club, scoring goals is front and centre. Throughout their last three home games head coach Dallas Eakins‘ youthful roster has posted 0 on the scoreboard.
In the midst of the Nail Yakupov saga, which seems to dominate Twitter on a daily basis, the bigger problem in Edmonton is the overall performance of the team. Many young Oilers are struggling to execute a game-plan conducive with winning hockey games. Some people are extremely puzzled by the team’s lack of goal scoring on home ice.
— Jim Matheson (@NHLbyMatty) November 14, 2013
The Oilers are (4-14-2) after 20 games played. What’s worse, they lay claim to a goal differential that screams ‘junior‘. Opposing teams have buried 78 times against the Oilers, who, conversely, have scored 48 goals this season. Only the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference have scored less goals than Edmonton, however, the Preds have 18 points in the standings (better defensively). The Oilers only have 10 points this season, ranking them bottom in the West, and second last in the entire NHL.
This young Oilers team was built on offence. In recent NHL entry drafts, the franchise has made a point to select what they perceive to be the best player available – often a scoring forward. The plan is not working, yet.
If you’re an Oilers fan, you might be concerned with your favourite team’s lack of success this season, and you’d be justified to feel that way. But patience is a virtue, and this core is still very young and inexperienced. A terrible 2013-14 can act as the catalyst for a very impressive 2014-15. Look at the Colorado Avalanche.
The Colorado Avalanche finished second last in the NHL last season with 39 points in 48 games. So far this campaign, the Avs already possess a stockpiled 28 points in only 17 games. No one predicted the incredible degree of success the Avalanche are enjoying this season. Just like no one knows how quickly things can turn around in Edmonton. It’s possible, better days are soon coming.
It’s all about weathering the storm with the young Oilers squad. Rookie head coach Dallas Eakins can’t get any less experienced at the NHL level. Taylor Hall won’t suffer from a lessened ability to play a complete game moving forward. 20-year old kid Nail Yakupov is only going to learn from his mistakes as he makes them. And, with another bad campaign, the Oilers can draft top 5 again for hopefully the last time in a long time. Small skilled winger is likely not to be on their draft day wish list.