The Edmonton Oilers are off to a rough start this season. According to Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal it’s the worst October in 20 years for the Oilers. This start is something that was never expected given the hype that surrounded this club following the off-season moves that saw a new GM, a fresh face behind the bench and a plethora of new players in the lineup.
But new doesn’t necessarily translate to wins and in this case, it’s done very little to advance the rebuild that is rapidly approaching a decade long. To say the fans are getting restless is an understatement. They began getting restless three years ago when the first overall picks continued to mount up while progress in the standings was nowhere to be seen.
Now Craig MacTavish has publicly said that he will not make a bold trade just to satisfy the angered fans. He told Matheson that he doesn’t want to panic, make a deal and pay for it down the road. That’s the smart thing to do but at the same time, the issues that are facing this team can’t be fixed internally.
The Oilers blue line is mediocre at best. But Matheson does a great job pointing out that any time a big bodied, power forward from the opposing team decides to drive the Oilers net, Edmonton doesn’t have an answer to out-muscle or out-position that player. The result is giving up goals thanks to poor defensive coverage that eventually leads to another loss.
The goaltending has been suspect and at times, awful. Richard Bachman provided hope for one-game and while he can’t be at fault for only making 22 saves on 26 shots against the Maple Leafs, most Oilers fans were hoping for another stellar game where he stole the show. It didn’t happen and it’s difficult to say he’s the answer to the team’s woes between the pipes.
There are holes on the Oilers roster, that’s no secret. These are the same holes that existed in September when training camp was looming and MacTavish stated he would make more moves during camp and prior to October. But even he found out the hard way that renovating this roster isn’t as easy as one would hope.
Now he’s forced to sit and watch as this team’s playoff hopes slip further and further from reality. It’s going to take a major turn around to get these Oilers in the playoffs this year and it’s difficult to say it could happen with the current holes that still remain on the roster.
Making that big move that has everyone around the league buzzing may not be the answer for MacTavish despite part of the fan base begging for it. Patience is a virtue and Mac-T is confident this team can turn it around. But if they don’t and the rookie GM fails to deliver on his bold move promise, perhaps then he has to look in the mirror and admit that he is to blame for taking Oilers’ Nation hostage for yet another season.
Don’t let this season be completely written off before it’s too late Mac-T. Tinkering with internal moves won’t make this team better. Be bold, make a move and do what you can to insert some life into this hockey team, into this city and into this dedicated fan base.
It’s been seven long years with no meaningful hockey come spring time in Edmonton. Let’s not make it eight. But the way things are going, it doesn’t look promising. Fixing this team won’t be easy, but at least show us that you’re willing to try.