Have you heard the knews?! Dun Dun Dun...Another one bites the dust. One more for the list of players the Oilers have mismanaged. What's this list you may ask? Well follow me down the rabbit hole into a world of disappointment, heartbreak, remorse, disgust, and woe (Thanks Thesaurus.com!).
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The List (Feel free to make your own or add to the one provided.)
Now obviously each of these guys could've gone on to have very successful and fruitful careers with the Oilers but why didn't they? Was it Attitude? Perhaps they weren't compatible with the system the Oilers were implementing. Maybe they were handed undeserving contracts. Was there even a place for them on the roster?
Whose to blame? Management? Ownership? Coaching staff?
Here are my top 5 players the Oilers' fails:
Linus Omark: The fact with Omark is he dominates every league he plays in. He was well on his way to becoming a great offensive player in the NHL. His skills are perfect for the PP and he showed it when he played. Key word: When. But he was cocky and believed he belonged in the NHL. He didn't have a defensive game either. I believe if Edmonton would've stuck with Omark, he would've been 2nd line RW and the Oilers would've drafted Ryan Murray instead of Yakupov.
Dustin Penner: Was it a mistake to sign him to that offer sheet? The players surrendered in the offer sheet: Kirill Petrov, Justin Schultz and Tyler Myers. Or was it a mistake to trade him? The players acquired in the trade: Colton Teubert, Oscar Klefbom, and Daniil Zharkov. If the Oilers kept him they would've had that power forward they need. But I think we should've kept the draft picks and never submitted the offer sheet. Perhaps we could've resigned Ryan Smyth or Todd Bertuzzi as they were UFAs.
Shawn Horcoff: The Contract... Talk about hogtying yourself for the foreseeable future. No doubt he was an excellent captain and a very good 3rd line center... But not at that price.
Teemu Hartikainen: What did this guy actually have to do to make the Oilers? He more or less dominated at the AHL level, worked hard and did what was asked of him. No complaints and showed lots of heart. Was it just because the numbers weren't showing up that the Oilers brass sent him back? Well I can't oppose his decision to leave for the KHL. Another power forward who sat right in front of Edmonton's nose, gone.
Ryan Smyth: Drafting Smyth was great. Getting into a contract stand-off and trading him on the other hand was not. At the time he was Captain Canada and the heart of the Oilers and Kevin Lowe wouldn't part with a little extra cash to tie up arguably the Oilers most important player since Mark Messier. Robert Nilsson, Alex Plante, and Ryan O'Marra do not equal half of a Ryan Smyth in his prime. Today's Ryan Smyth, probably wouldn't get you Nilsson's jock strap.
Other notable blunders: The new arena negotiations, the 20 year personal services contract handed to Gretzky by Pocklington, Ralph Krueger, Tom Renney/Pat Quinn coaching tag team, hiring an often looked over assistant GM from Vancouver as GM, giving Pisani a big raise after a good playoff performance (historically a bad idea. Right Sean Bergenheim?), Ray Whitney being jettisoned out after one season (If there's any guy that's probably an Oiler from birth... Dad worked for the team, he was also a stick boy with his brother and Ryan Smyth).
Is the Edmonton Oilers' management at fault? Should the Oilers part with their alumni and bring fresh blood in (Hey Dallas Eakins! We're watching you!)? This will be the season that truly decides their fate. Kevin Lowe is on the hot seat now and rightfully so.
To conclude, is a player not succeeding but flourishing with another team the fault of the organization or the player himself? I leave it up to you to decide.
Thanks for reading and please follow me on twitter @beerleagueheroe
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