The Oilers did great this year and had they played a consistent 60 minutes of hockey, they could have went far but what was the problem? Now obviously the coach comes under the spot light when a team breaks down like this but the Oilers finally made the playoffs so looks like he is going to get another year despite being ridiculously bad.
Truth is the Oilers did much better than their should have considering their lineup. Their meteoric rise was not just due only to the phenom which is McDavid but also owes its tribute to the emergence of Draisaitl and more importantly the stellar performance of Talbot. There are many other players that added to make the season a success but Talbot kept the Oilers in games that they arguably didn't outplay the other team.
With the Oilers success it seems unclear if Oilers management is ever going to improve the club through any method other than their first pick in the first round. I understand that they traded for Talbot but there was no way of knowing he would succeed the way he has. Oilers top brass should be shopping for a new GM and coach right now but instead we are left with Chiarelli who has been abysmal at addressing the Oilers needs. The trade deadline was a huge let down for Oiler fans as was last offseason.
Oilers need to improve their top 9. That was apparent when Caggula and Slepyshev were top line players in the playoffs. If a club can have a player that barely makes the team and is also good enough to play top line minutes, there is not that big a talent gap among the wingers. There were many rental options and there will be many UFA's this offseason that COULD help the Oilers.
Ideally I would like them to go for low risk offensive players that they can get a good price. UFA's preferably and don't tell me that they can't sign them because they just signed Lucic and that was to a losing team. Now I am skeptical about Chiarelli's ability to get anything done after the return he got for Hall and how much he gave up for Rienhart. Still let's pretend he isn't border line retarded for a second and for the sake of this blog we'll imagine the Oilers have a GM that can ice a full NHL calibre team.
I am assuming Iggy is retiring but with the way he played for LA after the trade deadline he would be an extremely affordable option for a third line center.
Vanek as well had a decent year and is only 33. I don't know what he is asking but if it is what he is what he is currently getting paid (basically half of what Pouliot makes) then the LW/RW veteran would be a gamble worth taking. Worst case is that he is a bust and eats up minutes on the third or fourth line. However most likely he will give the Oilers a better option that Caggula/Slepyshev and quite frankly, even Maroon as a top 6 winger depending on what they decide to do with Draisaitl, Eberle and Puljarvii.
Obviously the dream would be Radulov. He will cost a pretty penny but he would provide a much needed spark for the Oilers RW. If Montreal can't get a deal done, this could be an option as the rumor mill has the Habs as being highly interested in Eberle. Moving Ebs 6 mil contract would make Radulov more affordable and could allow the Oilers to grab the rights before July 1.
Obviously Hemsky is just fun to mention. The porcelain doll has got to be cheap and he is still in his early 30's. An interesting option for a third line. Especially if the Oils think the 1-2 are going to Ebs and Puljarvii. Realistically though, I think Kassian has earned the chance to play second line if Puljarvii needs to slowly get his feet wet.
Jagr has said great things about the Oilers and even once expressed a desire to play in Edmonton. Not a bad mentor for the young team if he is willing to give of the sun and beaches for a chance at a cup run.
There is also a great group of 3-4 line centers as options and Vrbata who is a decent option if he goes cheap but I doubt he will.
The Oilers DO need a back up goalie Broissot does not have that covered yet and there are a ton of solutions for this that are cheap so I won't even bother. I will only say that it would be nice to be able to rest Talbot in the playoffs if he is having an off night rather than winning or losing based solely on him.
The Oilers defense is screwed and people seem to be more okay with this lately. Klefbom is great. I like him as a number two defender and see no reason to replace him with a guy like Fowler on the left side. However Sekeras and quite frankly all the RHD's are brutal.
Sekeras started the year as a solid second pairing defender ending as a decent third pairing. In my opinion he has been out played by Nurse by the end of the playoffs. Nurse really rose to the challenge of the added ice time. Problem is that Sekeras makes WAY too much for WAY to long to be playing third line minutes. They have to be looking at a way to get him to waive his NMC and be traded. Even then the Oilers are going to have to keep some salary unless they take a stupid contract back. Or they should be thinking buyout but that hurts the books bad and in the end he is worth playing for the difference of the cap hit the buyout will leave so might as well give him third line minutes.
On the right side, Larsson hit some people. He played like a prospect of his age should. he very well could turn out to be a great defender but he isn't and playing him big minutes in high pressure moments isn't helping the team or Larsson. There really is no option to replace him outside of trading but it took Hall to get Larsson so I don't see Chiarelli landing anyone good with Eberle or Nuge. There is hope that ANA puts themselves over their self imposed cap and wants to trade Lindholm but that is unlikely. Also a chance that Min can't move Brodin's 4mil+ salary and takes offers for Dumba. Again, I am not holding my breath.
I don't see options unless they offer sheet someone. I am thinking Justin Schultz. Wow I can't believe some fans got down on him like that wasn't management's fault. Few years from now Yakipov and Eberle will be leading their teams to a cup and some Oiler fans will still believe it was the players that sucked and not the way the Oilers management played them. I will be here righting another blog about how it was McLellan that crucified Eberle in the playoffs that got him traded and not his skill. People probably already forgot his 51 points this season. Meanwhile it will be the same people commenting on my blog about how I am wrong. That's the beauty of a blog. I don't have to be right, it is really just opinion. Just so happens that my opinion is right.