Hello everyone, this is my first blog, so I am going start with an introduction. My name is Brendan, one of the owners of @WTPHockeyFacts on Twitter. I am a young, but very knowledgeable hockey fan (take a look at our Twitter account for proof, many of those facts are found by myself, through research and my extensive hockey knowledge). I have been a hardcore Edmonton Oilers fan as long as I can remember. So, naturally, I would like to take a look at what is wrong with the Oilers, and what they can do, to once again become a competitive hockey team, instead of being considered the laughingstock of the National Hockey League.Patience:
The first thing people need to realize, is that this is not Be A GM Mode in NHL 15. Teams don't just give away star players, so the sooner everyone learns that the Oilers aren't trading Jordan Eberle for Shea Weber, the easier things will become. As much as fans of the team are sick of hearing it, patience is key. The best hockey teams don't just become Stanley Cup champions overnight. Keep in mind all the long years that Pittsburgh or even Detroit spent in the basement of the league until they were able to turn it around. Change is coming, so everybody just needs to wait a little longer while this hockey club gets turned around.Drafting:
So much of what makes a good team is drafting and developing. The Oilers have been fairly successful so far with their first round picks. Taylor Hall has become one of the best left wingers in the world, Nugent-Hopkins is finally emerging as a true first line center, Paajarvi brought us back a very good player in David Perron, Klefbom has been showing some very promising potential, and I believe it is still too early to tell on our most recent three picks (Yakupov, Nurse, and Draisaitl). It is absurd to suggest that a top pick in this year's draft would not help the Oilers. This is not at all, a normal draft. Connor McDavid is one of the greatest draft prospects the NHL has ever seen. Before his hand injury, he was on pace to be the highest scoring 18 year old since Mario Lemieux. Yes, the same Mario Lemieux who was one of the few players who could go head-to-head with Gretzky for scoring titles. Saying McDavid would not assist Edmonton is utterly ridiculous. After him, there is still Jack Eichel, a big center who is tearing apart the NCAA despite playing against much tougher, and older competition. Even the third best prospect, Noah Hanifin, is considered by scouts to have true franchise defenceman potential, which seems to be what every fan wants. Finishing at the bottom of the NHL, and getting another top three pick, could greatly help this team. Now, fans cannot expect the Oilers to draft perfectly. For every Kopitar or Drew Doughty the Kings drafted, there was a Thomas Hickey. For every Toews or Kane the Blackhawks selected, they picked a Jack Skille or Kyle Beach. Where the Oilers' weakness has been, is outside the first round. They took Tyler Pitlick over Tyler Toffoli, and Devante Smith-Pelley. When we took David Musil, John Gibson and Brandon Saad were sitting there waiting to hear their name called. Obviously, it is way easier to make these picks here in the future, but take a look at the teams that did make those picks. Anaheim, LA, and Chicago, three of the best hockey teams on the planet, and it is no coincidence. They have been extremely successful in drafting and growing their young talent, and as soon as the Oilers can learn to do that, they too, will become one of those elite teams.Grit and Compete:
Take a look at some games from the Oilers' 2006 playoff run. What really separates that team from the Oilers of today is not only a star defenceman in Chris Pronger, but also a whole lot of toughness and compete. Players like Raffi Torres, Michael Peca, Jason Smith, Matt Greene competed every shift and put fear into their opponents. Name one Oilers defenceman that other players would be terrified to go into a corner with? Didn't think so. This is why I don't mind the rumors about acquiring one, or both of the Schenns. They are physical players who are far more intimidating than nearly anyone on the Oilers today. Until the Oilers become an aggressive and competitive team again, they aren't going anywhere.Goaltending:
Finally, the most important issue must be addressed. Goaltending. Edmonton has not had an elite goalie since Curtis Joseph, and unless they change things, it won't be any different anytime soon. Now, here is where most fans will throw out crazy trade ideas, but where I believe management can turn this netminding disaster around, is through young goalies. Edmonton has continuously missed out on elite goalie prospects. Young studs such as John Gibson and Zach Fucale (all it would have taken would be trading up a few picks for Fucale) have slipped our grasp in recent years. Drafting a real, top goalie prospect could be just the thing the Oilers need. As good as he may become, all of the Oilers' current hope for the future, is on the shoulders of a 6th round pick, who has yet to excel beyond the ECHL. Don't try to tell me that the Rangers, Kings or Canadiens would be among the NHL's best teams right now, without the goalies they have. It doesn't even have to be the Oilers that pick this goalie. Keep in mind, the Bruins traded for Rask (in a ridiculously lopsided trade), they did not draft him. Finding and developing a goalie who can one day lead this team to a championship, should be near the top of Craig MacTavish's priority list.Summary:
Now, those are just a few things that I believe could restore the Oilers to their former glory, but there is a whole lot more that will need to be addressed such as defence and coaching. But as I stated earlier, the biggest key for fans, will be patience. There are more things I think the team can do, and I could make another blog about what they can do right now. But I would like to know what everyone thinks about this, as, like I said earlier, this is my first blog. Tell me it was horrible, I don't care! Please let me know what I can do better, what you liked, and what you think can be done to turn the Oilers around.