10-22-14: The team's numbers are improving slightly, but with a 1-4-1 record, the team is off to yet another awful start. Former No. 1 overall pick Nail Yakupov has been a disaster and rumors are swirling about his potential departure. Their main concerns continue to be in net and on the blueline. Things are getting ugly in Edmonton, and I don’t see how they will improve anytime soon.
10-15-14: Edmonton has allowed 16 goals in three games, while only scoring seven goals themselves. They still haven’t solved their goaltending and defensive issues. Their young talent up front is undeniable. With that being said, the Oilers are going to have to win many 5-4 games this year in order to get produce wins in the win column. The Oilers have consistently picked at the top of the NHL Draft for the last decade or so, and that trend very well could continue this season.
10-10-14: Two nights after the Maple Leafs visit the Canucks in the second most expensive NHL game this season, they travel to Edmonton to play in the third highest-priced matchup. On the secondary market, Oilers tickets against Toronto have an average price of $435.11, with a get-in price of $84.
Following an offseason rife with management shakeup (the Leafs named Brendan Shanahan president and replaced three assistant coaches and two assistant GMs), the Leafs are seeking to implement a more defensively responsible system at both ends of the ice. Though they lost one of their more stout defensive players, Carl Gunnarsson, the Leafs solidified their bottom six by adding Daniel Winnik, Mike Santorelli and David Booth.
Hope springs anew in Edmonton after the team added defensive depth and goaltending this offseason, not exactly what the public has come to expect from the team that seems to stockpile young offensive talent. Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth were brought in to be the pillars in net that Devan Dubnyk wasn’t. On the back end, Keith Aulie and Mark Fayne lend size and composure to a corps that has traditionally lacked both.
4-14-14: Ryan Smyth left his final NHL game as a winner. He was celebrated by teammates, fans and opponents at an emotional contest at Rexall Place this past Saturday. It was a nice moment for the longtime Oiler, but the reality is Oilers’ fans want to see their team in the postseason. This could be considered the dark ages of Edmonton hockey. Since going to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006, the Oilers have failed to make the postseason.
4-7-14: Stop the presses! The Oilers have won two games in a row, dealing severe blows to the playoff hopes of the Coyotes and the divisional title hopes of the Ducks this past week. Edmonton finished the season 2-3-0 against the Ducks. The draft will be crucial for the Oilers this coming June. They haven’t had much success in the last 10 seasons besides drafting Taylor Hall. The most pressing need for the Oilers is defense and with Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad sitting there, the Oilers must take him.
3-31-14: Despite sitting 29th in the NHL standings, the Oilers have wins against some of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. They have defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers. Geography certainly has not helped the Oilers. Edmonton is 14-13-4 record against the East and 5-0-2 in their past seven games against teams from the Metropolitan Division. They are 12-26-5 against teams in their own conference.
3-25-14: Only 10 more games remain for the Oilers and their fans. Last week started out with a 5-1 win against Nashville and concluded with a 3-1 loss to Buffalo of all teams and an ugly 8-1 loss to Calgary, in which a disgruntled Oilers fan threw a jersey on the ice. This was the second time this season a jersey has been throw onto the ice at Rexall. Who could blame that fan? The Oilers, with as much talent as they have, should not be this bad.
3-17-14: Edmonton only earned three points in four games this past week, but it's hard to blame them when those four games came against Los Angeles, Minnesota, St. Louis and Detroit. The season has been a lost cause of the Oilers, and they’re looking at a top three selection for the upcoming draft. What the Oilers do in the offseason will be key. Many believe they need trade one of their young core players in order to become successful.
3-10-14: Two wins and a visit from Wayne Gretzky? Oilers fans should enjoy this. With games against Los Angeles, Minnesota, St. Louis, and Detroit on deck, this could be as good as it gets for a long time. The Oilers did trade the expiring contracts of Ales Hemsky and Nick Schultz at the deadline for picks. Hemsky was dealt to Ottawa while Schultz was traded to Columbus. The Oilers main focus now should be geared towards the draft.
3-3-14: The Oilers currently sit at the bottom of the Western Conference and there is little to no hope for this team. Edmonton does have some pieces they could trade at the deadline, which is this coming Wednesday (March 5th) at 3 p.m. Right winger Ales Hemsky, center Sam Gagner, and defenseman Nick Schultz all could be on the move. The Oilers registered one goal in two games this past week, both losses. One thing is certain in Edmonton and that is another top five draft pick.
2-10-14: The Oilers have been playing much better over these past two weeks, going 5-1-1 in their last seven games. You can contribute much of that to the stellar play of goalie Ben Scrivens. Scrivens is 3-3-0 with a 2.01 GAA and .948 save percentage since being acquired by the Oilers in a trade with the Kings. The Oilers will not make the playoffs and will most certainly have another top five pick come June. Oiler fans are hoping they make the right choice and select a defenseman instead of a forward.
2-3-14: The Oilers have won three of their last four games played, but that isn't exactly a pretty situation. Edmonton beat San Jose this past Wednesday thanks to a 59-save shutout performance by Ben Scrivens, which was a modern NHL record. The Oilers lost their last contest to Boston when Scrivens could not stop all 41 shots he faced. Safe to say, the Oilers need some help on the backend and they should be able to find that in this year’s draft.
1-27-14: The Oilers snapped a six-game losing streak this past Sunday, beating Nashville 4-1 at home. Edmonton’s main battle will be avoiding finishing 30th in the league. It will likely be a three-team race for last between the Oilers, Flames and Sabres. Nail Yakupov is minus-31 this season. If he doesn't improve, it would be the worst plus/minus in the NHL since Milan Jurcina of the Islanders finished minus-34 in 2011-12. There have been better days in Edmonton.
1-20-14: Edmonton set out on a four-game road trip last week. In seven days, they lost by two goals to Chicago, three to Dallas, three to Minnesota before posting an overtime loss to Winnipeg on Sunday. Edmonton holds onto the 29th spot in the league by just a single point. Sam Gagner has 20 points and a minus-21 rating in 38 games. Rookie pivot Mark Arcobello has 18 points and a minus-five rating in 39 games.
1-13-14: Since a 6-0 home loss to the Blues back on Dec. 21, Edmonton is 4-4-2. It's a positive sign for a team that has dealt with inconsistency all season. With the Sabres playing well as of late, the Oilers could be staring at their third 30th-place finish in the standings in the past five seasons.Edmonton’s penalty kill has struggled mightily over the past four games, giving up four power-play goals in 12 shorthanded situations.
1-7-14: A win over Tampa this past Sunday halted a four-game losing streak. Unfortunately, the Oilers' next two games are against St. Louis and Pittsburgh before the team hits the road for four games. The Oilers still hold down last place in the West and 29th in the NHL but are now only one point behind Calgary and two back of the Islanders. Martin Marincin played 17:14 against the Lightning. Recalled from the AHL, Marincin has worked his way up to the second pairing of the Oilers' defensive corps.
12-30-13: Edmonton agreed to a three year entry level contract with Mitchell Moroz this past week. Moroz is currently playing for the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings. Moroz has 21 goals and 13 assists on the season. The present is not good for the Oilers and they’re looking at a potential number one pick again this season. One bright spot has been the emergence of Taylor Hall this season for the Oilers. Hall has 35 points in 34 games played.
12-23-13: The Oilers are losers of six straight games with the average score of those games being 4-1. If the Oilers were in the East they could hide among the other disappointing teams, and thanks to a more favorable schedule they may have a few wins. However, they are the laughingstock of the Western Conference, seven points back of 13th place Calgary and 20 points out of a playoff spot. Ten Oilers are in double-digit negative plus/minus, with Nail Yakupov leading setting the pace at minus-26.
12-16-13: The Oilers lost their third game in a row this past Sunday, falling 3-2 in Anaheim. They've scored only four goals in their past three games after scoring 14 in three games prior to this losing streak. Consistency has been the biggest problem in Edmonton this season. David Perron has been a bright spot though. With 14 goals in 31 games, he’s ahead of pace to reach his first 30-goal season. His career high is 21 goals in the 2011-12 season came St. Louis Blues.
12-9-13: The Oilers have dramatically improved since the beginning of the year, but they dug themselves too deep of as hole to have any real shot of the playoffs. Edmonton went 1-1-1 last week with the highlight being their 8-2 win over Colorado. They followed up their win over the Avalanche with a 6-2 defeat at the hands of the Phoenix Coyotes. The Oilers finished the week losing to Calgary in overtime. Mark Arcobello leads all Oilers forwards with 50 hits this season.
12-2-13: The Oilers still have a long way to go from being a contender in the West, but they played fairly well this past week having three out of four games on the road. They went 2-2 this week overall and are slowly turning things around. llya Bryzgalov made his first start with the Oilers on Monday and ended up playing in four games over the entire week. Bryzgalov won one game by shutout and kept Edmonton in a game against Dallas. He left that game Sunday versus the Stars after a collision with Ryan Garbutt but has a .939 save percentage in four contests with Edmonton.
11-25-13: The Oilers are still the worst team record wise in the Western Conference, but had a good week going 2-0 overall. Albeit it, their wins came against both Florida and Columbus but two wins is two wins. Jordan Eberle leads Edmonton in points with 20 in 24 games. One player who has struggled mightily is forward Nail Yakupov. He has only nine points in 22 games and has been the subject of trade rumors recently.
11-18-13: The Oilers continue to be one of the league’s worst teams. They did manage to end the week on a positive note beating their Alberta rivals in Calgary 4-2. That win snapped Edmonton’s five-game losing streak. The real question in Edmonton revolves around their goaltending. They did bring in Ilya Bryzgalov to take some pressure off of Devan Dubnyk but he’s not the answer long term in net. The Oilers need to consider trading for their goaltender of the future.
11-12-13: The Oilers started off the week well by beating the dismal Panthers and giving Tampa a run for their money. Unfortunately, they got thoroughly outplayed by both the Flyers and Blackhawks to end the week. Trade rumors have been swirling in Edmonton for some time now and finally GM Craig MacTavish made a move shipping veteran defenseman Ladislav Smid to their rivals in Calgary for two fringe prospects. This was only the second time in Oilers and Flames history that they two franchises made trades with each other.
The Oilers maybe the only other NHL team that can rival the Sabres in terms of futility. They failed to score a goal in both games played this week. They were shutout 4-0 by Toronto and dismantled 5-0 by Detroit. The Oilers are 1-5-2 when scoring the first goal this season. I know they are ravaged with injuries including star forward Taylor Hall, but that’s no excuse for how bad the Oilers have played all year.
10-29-13: The Oilers currently sit dead last in the Western Conference and their 1-2-1 week is not good enough for a team that has dug an early season hole. Goalie Richard Bachman was recalled from AHL Oklahoma City on Sunday because of Devan Dubnyk’s injury. Bachman made 47 stops in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings. The Oilers got outshot 48-18 in the game. Something needs to happen for the Oilers to wake up. This team is too talented to be in the cellar of the West.
10-21-13: If the Oilers want to avoid another appearance in the NHL draft lottery then they better start praying Taylor Hall’s knee injury is not as serious as it looks. Edmonton got a much needed road victory last Saturday against Ottawa. Goalie Devan Dubnyk looked solid in the game. Is this game where he turns it around for the Oilers? History suggests it’s probably just a flash in the pan. There have been better days in Edmonton.
10-14-13: If you get out scored, you will lose. The Oilers have given up 25 goals through five games and have only scored 17. The “sexy” pick to make the playoffs out the west this season, Edmonton has struggled early on. Five games in, the young Oilers are still learning Dallas Eakins’ new defensive system of swarming to the puck. Veterans Boyd Gordon and David Perron have been welcome additions to Edmonton. Second-year forward Nail Yakupov has been struggling mightily.
10-7-13: It’s been a disappointing start to the 2013-14 season for the Edmonton Oilers. They have allowed 11 goals in two games and have not looked good at all. They do have major injuries to star players Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sam Gagner but that’s no excuse, in what’s suppose to be crucial year for the Oilers.
9-4-13: The Edmonton Oilers perennially improve in their winning ways. A young core consisting of Taylor Hall, Sam Gagner, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov have known what it’s like to lose and are now tuned in to what it is and takes to win- and that’s a scary thought for teams in the West. The addition of Andrew Ferrence and Denis Grebeshkov on defense is oil to the machine that will be a contending team. The question lies in goaltending, with Devin Dubnyk, Jason LaBarbera and Richard Bachman, taking the plunge in a hockey nation, eager to return to glory.
The tight Pacific Division will test the continued growth of the Oiler team. Teams like the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks and Phoenix Coyotes will not be welcoming to their neighbors of the north, and instead, look to relentlessly punish the Oilers like a freshman with the talent trying to make varsity.
Oilers 2013 NHL Draft Summary
Pick #7: Darnell Nurse, D
Pick #56: Marc-Oliver Roy, C
Pick #83: Bogdan Yakimov, C
Pick #88: Anton Slepyshev, LW
Pick #94: Jackson Houck, RW
Pick #96: Kyle Platzer, C
Pick #113: Aidan Muir, LW, RW
Pick #128: Evan Campbell, LW
Pick #158: Ben Betker, D
Pick #188: Gregory Chase, C, RW