What has gone wrong with the Edmonton Oilers? After a 7-11-2 start to the season, fans have to wonder what is going on with their team who many expected to be competing for the top spot in the Western Conference. Instead, the team who has two of the top young franchise players in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are floundering.
Allan Mitchell of The Athletic (subscription required) details what has gone wrong for the storied franchise this year, pointing to the team’s success in achieving their goal of locking up both McDavid (eight years, $100MM) and Draisaitl (eight years, $68MM), but to their lack of success to bringing in more talent to help this squad. The scribe points out that while Jordan Eberle was moved to the New York Islanders for spare parts to solve cap issues, that deal could have been delayed a year as their cap problems weren’t going to be an issue until the 2018-19 season.
He also suggests that Edmonton general manager Peter Chiarelli took numerous gambles with few of them coming up gold so far this year. He put a lot of faith in youngsters ranging from Ryan Strome, Jesse Puljujarvi, Anton Slepyshev, Kailer Yamamoto, Matt Benning and Drake Caggiula, all of which haven’t worked out as expected, although Caggiula’s two-goal performance Saturday could change things if he can continue that success. Possibly. Regardless, the Oilers have no choice but to continue putting out their youth, hoping some of them might figure things out and assist a struggling squad.
- Las Vegas Review-Journal’s David Schoen writes that Vegas Golden Knights’ defenseman Shea Theodore has needed more time than expected to adjust to the NHL game, despite playing a chunk of the season last year with the Anaheim Ducks. The scribe adds that after Theodore’s strong performance against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday, he might be starting to turn the corner and become a key cog on Vegas’ defense.
- Much of the Los Angeles Kings success has been in thanks to the team’s careful infusion of youth into their veteran lineup. The Los Angeles Times’ Curtis Zupke writes that Jonny Brodzinski scored his first NHL goal Saturday and is the fifth player to pick up their first NHL goal, including Kurtis MacDermid, Michael Amadio, Oscar Fantenberg, and Alex Iafallo. Much of the credit, according to Zupke goes to Ontario Reign coach Mike Strothers, who has worked hard to develop players who could work with the Kings’ quick-movement style of play.
- Anaheim Ducks backup goaltender Ryan Miller, who has looked good in four appearances since being activated a couple of weeks ago, might miss more time. While the veteran goalie was on the ice this morning taking shots, Miller (lower-body injury) was unable to practice, according to the Orange County Register’s Eric Stephens. Coach Randy Carlyle hopes he might be available next week, but with five games in the next seven days, the team may have to consider starting Reto Berra.