Edmonton Oilers: Should They Win Or Lose?


The Edmonton Oilers have put themselves into a difficult position: they have effectively killed any chance at the post season before even reaching the first half. When an organization under performs as badly and as often as the Oilers have, many difficult questions and even harder decisions are put on the table. We have already witnessed some of the coming fall out with the firing of Head Coach Dallas Eakins. There have been countless articles and blog posts all over Oil Country and the Hockey world scrutinizing almost every aspect of the Edmonton Oilers. As the season goes by though, more and more attention will be given to the upcoming draft.

There was an article published this week in the Edmonton Sun by Terry Jones suggesting the best thing for the Oilers is to stay the course and tank so they get a chance at either of the two so called generational prospects available at the NHL draft of 2015: Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. The main point of the piece is that the best course of action is to tank and get one of this guys, because nothing else would even come close to being a positive coming out of the dreads experienced in Oil Country.

The post caused quite a reaction, in a lot of cases negative, by Oilers fans, as witnessed by this writer on the twitter feed. While Terry Jones makes some valid points, it is difficult to rally behind the idea of tanking this early in the season and after having witnessed the team go for 3 consecutive 1st overall picks in the last 5 years and finishing no higher than 25th in the standings.

Here are some of the merits and counters to the idea of tanking:

Let’s Tank:

  • Jack and his magic beans along with McSavior are touted as once in a generation phenoms. There are many articles out there citing how these two are projecting even better than Zach Parise (Eichel plays college hockey in the USA like Parise did) and Sidney Crosby (CHL). So why wouldn’t a team want either of these guys?. They are set to be franchise players and true difference makers.
  • The Oilers will gain nothing from going .500 the rest of the way only to finish around 25th overall, so better tank and get something.
  • Tanking will also allow MacTavish to move more assets and set the table for a true rebuild come summer.

That’s  about all the arguments that can be made in favor of tanking. The only one that matters really is the one about getting a super player.

Tanking? Get out of here!!!!!:

  • The Oilers already have 3 first overall picks and keep losing, obviously the problem is not so much top end talent as it is something else. Again, this has been talked about to the point of dizziness. Bad scouting, bad non first round drafting, bad management, bad supporting cast, bad goaltending, prevalence of a losing culture, Kevin Lowe, etcetera. If those other areas are not addressed and improved, 3 McDavids will not make a difference.
  • This team has seen too much losing already, the last thing they need is another three months of misery. There is still over half a season to play for and things will only get uglier around the Oilers if they keep getting beaten silly. The best thing for their confidence and psyche is to battle hard and get rewarded with some Ws. If they are not making the playoffs, other than getting a good draft pick it doesn’t matter whether they finish 17th or 30th overall, so let’s just win as much as possible and get the joy of playing  back.
  • The above point applies to tier 1 and tier 2 fans as well. People on these lands have been very patient and supportive. They spend their time and money following this team and the least Katz’ organization can offer is to put on a good show. If the team plays their heart out and still end up picking first overall, so be it. So long as fans get to see an entertaining team, it won’t matter much at this point. Oil Country deserves some joy.
  • The deals made earlier this week by MacTavish are a good tell of what the Oilers can hope to get in their current situation. The other 29 GMs in the league are ready to pounce on MacT like lions on a straggling Buffalo. If players start putting up numbers and getting some wins, their trade value will increase and maybe better deals will become possible, moves that truly address the weaknesses on this roster.
  • Even if the Oilers go .500 the rest of the way, they will end up with about 70 points. They will most likely still end up in the top 5 picks. This draft is said to be one of the deepest in recent memory, so picking in the top 10 would still guarantee a core player for the Oilers.

When I first realized the Oilers were about to blow another season back in early November, I was 100% on board the idea of getting McDavid. But as time went by and it became evident the issues with this team run deeper and wider than a few roster improvements, I now firmly believe that getting some wins is more important than yet another first overall, even if it is the next Wayne Gretzky.

What do you think? Please leave a comment below.

PS: On behalf of everyone at OilonWhyte I would like to thank all of our readers and followers for giving us a moment of your day to pay attention to our ramblings. We do this because we are passionate Oilers fans and we are truly grateful to be able to share our thoughts with fellow Oilers fans. As this year comes to a close, we hope to continue sharing our views with you and keeping you engaged with OilOnWhyte.

Have an Excellent New Year!!