The Battle for 28th (or 29th if you’re not so optimistic) took place last night at Rexall Place between HC Edmonton and the Canadiens.
The Canadiens have been having a rough go of it so far this season, and perhaps the Oilers could shake things up with a somewhat partisan home crowd.
Through two, it was 2-2. Then, the beer cans that we’d been using as wheels started to crumple steadily in the third, and all hell broke loose.
It’s gotten to the point where it appears that Gene Principe is no longer writing the punny after-game headline. “Decision Dropped”? No line about “Hab and Hab-Nots”? C’mon, even Mike Brophy can come up with stuff faster than this.
But man, didn’t you see the goals? They were legit. None of them were barf.
Okay, the Omark goal might’ve been a little shady. But if this team’s defence could’ve stood up, things likely would’ve been different.
Corey Potter had a slap shot that was tipped by Shawn Horcoff in the first period. It was a box of tactics on that goal, fit for a man or a king. The Omark goal…might have been a bit of opportunism, but so what. Give Omark some top six time, and the guy scores a goal. And the flippin’ toe drag by Taylor Hall?
That’s some high quality H20. That’s not some Laurie Boschman to Mark Freer tip in front of Jim Waite, that’s a calculated effort to throw everyone in white sweaters off for a split second. And it works.
Now the defence…
I like Theo Peckham a lot more than I like Cam Barker. Theo Peckham did not have a good game last night. Peckham took three minor penalties, one of which yielded a power play goal in the third. Not trying to make excuses for 24, but prior to the game against the Canadiens, he’s played once in the past five weeks. Peckham knew he didn’t have a good game, and he addressed reporters about it afterwards.
Not quite sure why Andy Sutton was sitting tonight, either. So it goes.
Barring a miraculous turn of events, the Oilers will be competing in the draft lottery in the not too distant future. And while many of us will be reaching for cold tallboys as the Blue Jays season winds up, we here at Oil On Whyte industries will feverishly be working around the clock trying to get our best bang for the draft pick buck. Some of you will be getting hammered to commemorate the third consecutive season that this team is playing for a lottery pick. Frankly, I don’t blame you one bit.
But who is this team going to draft? Rather, what is the biggest immediate need for this club?
That’s easy. It’s defence. There’s only one problem with drafting a defenceman, and that’s purely the fact it’ll take two or three years for him to come to the NHL.
Who’s ready to make the big jump from the farm? Plante? Teubert? Chorney? Johan Motin?
If none of those names left you satisfied, let’s move on to a projected October starting lineup.
We’re at least a couple of years away from David Musil (2011) and Oscar Klefbom (2011). Martin Marincin (2010) is coming along nicely in Regina, but I wouldn’t expect to see him in the NHL until 2013.
WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET
Without any changes, this is likely what your opening night roster will look like in October.
This is what this team has on its best night.
Don’t account for injuries, suspensions, leaves of absence, or 300 man games lost.
The Oilers will have somewhere between the first and fourth pick this June. Drafting a defenceman (or most any other player that isn’t first overall) will pretty much guarantee you won’t see him until 2014. Ready to keep the rebuild rolling for two more years?
All those in favour of trading the pick for immediate help on defence, say ‘aye’.
Those opposed, leave a comment.
Follow Oil On Whyte on the Twitters.
Jeff – @OilOnWhyte
Samson – @threwittki
Ian – @ibleedoil
Click Here to visit our NHL main page “Too Many Men” – Fansided’s Hockey Home on the Internets