After having a great year in 2016-17 in which they made the playoffs and were one of the better teams in the National Hockey League, the Edmonton Oilers were horrible last season.
Coming into this year, Oilers’ fans were hoping that things would be different. They were hoping that they’d have more scoring, get a better year out of netminder Cam Talbot, and have a good enough year to get into the playoffs.
Things are not going well for the Oilers. They are 1-2 and even though it’s only been three games, have not shown enough to make their fans believe that things are going to be different this season.
It all starts with the fact that besides Connor McDavid, this team does not have any offense. As of this writing (October 16), the team has scored just five goals.
The team struggled to do this with any kind of regularity last season. In the early going this year, it’s been much of the same as there are only two players that are contributing.
If you know the Oilers and their roster then you know the two guys are Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. The two have combined for three of the team’s five goals and have also combined for 8 points.
What’s also not great for the Oilers is that they are going to burn out McDavid. McDavid may still be very young, but he is currently averaging about 24 minutes of ice time per game. Again, he still may be 21-years-old, but getting ice time like that on a nightly basis could end up being detrimental to McDavid.
This was a serious problem for the Oilers last year. They put all of their eggs in McDavid’s basket and it ended up costing them in the long run. Last season, the team was 20th in the league in goals scored and as of this writing (October 16), they are the second worst team in the league.
This problem should be blamed on the team’s general manager, Peter Chiarelli. He did not make any significant moves this summer and because of that, the offense remains stagnant.
Defensively, the team actually has not been that bad. They have allowed just 10 goals and have done everything they can to make goaltender Cam Talbot’s life a bit easier this season.
Speaking of Talbot, he needs to continue to work on getting back to the form he had two seasons ago. He currently has a 2.71 GAA and a .901 save percentage. If the Oilers want to have any chance of getting back to the postseason, those numbers have to get a lot better.
If things do not get better soon, don’t be surprised if the organization makes some moves as this franchise cannot afford to keep missing the playoffs.
Photo: Boston Herald