Team: Edmonton Oilers
Finished last in the Western Conference with 70 points. Hey, the rebuild is almost finally back to where it was some four years ago! See, the reason you think the Oilers' plan is flawed is you rely on fancy concepts like assuming that time works in a linear fashion! If you just accept that the Oilers are, on the other hand, working on a completely different time plane, it makes sense. Watching this rebuild is like watching LOST starting on Season 4, then going 5, 3, 1, 6, 2 in that order. Somehow, it always ends with something exploding, doesn't it?
But, that legends' parade to end the season was cool. Watching today's stars rub elbows with greats like Jason York and Cory Cross sure was something!
Your Head Coach
Todd McLellan. Sick of seven years of coaching a San Jose team that consistently underachieved in the postseason, he decided to take a job where there was literally no concern of that ever happening. Anyway, here's Todd last season, showing that is he indeed new around here:
"I don’t know if there’s a number big enough or how to describe how disappointing that effort is," McLellan started. "We’ve been together for 200 days and talked a lot about competing and working hard and holding your hand and showing up. And we get that. That’s the exact crap that we’re trying to eradicate from this group.
"You work hard and you climb, and you climb, and you climb and at least get some foundation. And you give it back in one night. We were outshot. We were out-hit. We were outscored. We were out-faceoffed. We were out-power-played. We were out-penalty-killed. Our shift length was terrible. They (the Flames) played four games in six nights and we’re going to go for 55-second shifts. We turned the puck over 1:10 into a shift and cheated on a change. We had a change for a center who happened to be two zones away. I don’t know how that can happen.
The sad part is that McLellan said this in April. You would have thought he would have made his peace with this already, but he seems firmly in denial. "I don't know how that can happen"?! Bruh, you coach the OILERS. Let's start there.
Your Starting Goalie
Cam Talbot, because y'all extended him! That's right; you're paying $4.167M per year until 2019 for the guy whose crowning career achievement is opening a bench door for Henrik Lundqvist. To his credit, he was a fairly decent .917 in 56 games last season, but I don't think it really matters one way or the other behind this defense. I'm pretty sure the remaining 8.3% of shots were a breakaway caused by the Oilers defensemen trying to both hit the puck carrier and then crashing each other. I don't need to look it up; I'm pretty confident in my analysis.
Anyway, if Talbot ever goes down, you are SCREWED. Know why? Because you got the Monster in town! Ohhhhhh yeah! You may remember him as the guy who singlehandedly torpedoed the Bruins' playoff hopes. Luckily, I don't think you need to worry about that. What's with the Leafs retreads, anyway? Did you people learn nothing from Ben Scrivens?
New Things That Suck
Look, as much as we mock you guys, it's goaltending and defense that are holding you back. You have some good players up front, and as long as you didn't do anything stupid like trade one of your best players, you should be fi-
After years of sucking, the Oilers have determined it was Actually Good Player Taylor Hall that was the problem. He was shipped to New Jersey for good, but by no means, amazing defenseman Adam Larsson, and....that's it. That's the ENTIRE trade. The Oilers took a severe downgrade just to slightly improve their defense. That's like amputating your leg because you broke your arm. That's like deciding your salad needs more dressing, so you trade your salad for more dressing, and then drink the dressing.
For those counting, Peter Chiarelli has now traded away two elite wingers on two different teams for entirely underwhelming packages. I'm starting to sense a theme that he maybe doesn't exactly know what he's doing.
Luckily, it's okay, because the Oilers always had a replacement in line! Instead of a very good player in Hall being paid $6MM until 2020, now you get Milan Lucic, who is four years his senior, making the same amount for three more years! Lucic, by the way, hasn't hit 60 points since 2012, and will be 35 by the end of this contract. It is also more than likely he will be ground up into a fine dust by about Year 3 of this contract, but it's a culture change!
I take it back. Chiarelli knows exactly what he's doing: he's trying to recreate the roster of the only successful team he's ever had. His "be the 2011 Bruins" philosophy is straight out of the '85 Bears School of Management For People Who Don't Know What They're Doing But Fall Backwards Into Success Anyway.
Also, you guys have a new arena! That's nice! I mean, you're probably paying tax dollars out the wazoo for it, but at least your bad team no longer plays in a decrepit donut located in the best neighbourhood in Edmonton to get stabbed in the face. This should really revitalize that downtown core that is a complete and utter ghost town outside of standard business hours!
Things That Still Suck
Honestly, what do I write here that hasn't been written a thousand times already? I could just copy and paste the same thing every year. Do I talk about how the front office is an Old Boys Club of Oilers alumni? Or how constantly lucking out at the draft is undercut by awful management that can't fix any problem that isn't solved by a lottery ball? Or how this team, much like the fashion and hairstyle of most of its fanbase, has not been relevant since the 1980s?
There's no point. It's the same story every year. Every year, Oilers fans get way too optimistic for this mess when we all see what's coming. It's like watching Charlie Brown and that football over and over again. They'll gush over McDavid, praise Lucic for bringing a "new element" to the team, and by American Thanksgiving, the Oilers will be 10 points out of a playoff spot while fans salivate over the next draft pick. They go through franchise saviours like Henry VIII goes through ex-wives!
These people are completely tone deaf as to their own relevance. Did you see all those Oilers fans complaining that their team won't be on NBC? That it was immoral that Connor McDavid would not make an appearance on U.S. national TV. You know what would make American fans want to watch Connor McDavid? Him playing in a city people actually care about! I'd call the Oilers the Cleveland Browns of the NHL, but most people who watch hockey on NBC have actually heard of Cleveland.
Why They Might Not Suck
Lucic-McDavid-Eberle is actually a pretty good first line. I mean, it really is all they have, but that should be fun to watch.