Edmonton Oilers: Ranking Players That Are Trending Down This Season

VANCOUVER, BC - DECEMBER 17: Milan Lucic #27 of the Edmonton Oilers looks on from the bench during their NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena December 17, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)"n
VANCOUVER, BC - DECEMBER 17: Milan Lucic #27 of the Edmonton Oilers looks on from the bench during their NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena December 17, 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)"n /
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EDMONTON, AB – DECEMBER 22: Edmonton Oilers Defenceman Caleb Jones (82) watches the play up ice in the third period during the Edmonton Oilers game versus the Tampa Bay Lighting on December 22, 2018 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, AB. (Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The jury is still out on these players

Caleb Jones, Alex Petrovic, Brandon Manning, Joe Gambardella

It’s tough to judge the guys who haven’t played a lot of games for the club yet (Petrovic and Manning) or are on their first NHL callup (Jones, Gambardella).

I combined them into one category because they’re all in here for the same reason more or less:  sample size matters and 1-10 games isn’t enough to judge how a player will do over the long term, certainly not for the young guys getting their 1st taste of NHL hockey.

It’s up to them to sway opinion either way as they play more games.

Honorable Mention: Kevin Gravel

I put Kevin Gravel here because it’s tough to judge a 7th defenceman.  If he is invisible – which Gravel is most games – then you can assume he’s doing his job.

In 23 games Gravel has put up two assists and is -2.  That’s more or less what you can expect from a 7th defenceman.

Due to the fact that 7th d-men are never consistently in the lineup, and you never know from one game to the next whether they play or not, it’s impossible to project them since the only thing you really know about them is they won’t play a full season and will sit more often than most players.  You don’t even know how many games they are going to play, so how do you project their performance?  You can’t really.

I can’t project Gravel because of that.  A better person to ask to project Gravel would be Ken Hitchcock, but I’m willing to bet there’s a degree of gut feeling with him on this as well.

Due to that, the jury is out on him.  If he goes on a goal-scoring tear, expect him to usurp a regular’s job and then we’ll be able to know more about him.  Otherwise, we’ll say the jury is out on him.  Good?  Good.

Bottom line

I don’t know about you, but I find it rather disturbing that there are ten players on the list that are trending down.  That has to improve if the Oilers have any hope of making the playoffs this year.  As always, comment if you disagree about any of these assessments.  With any luck, a couple of those downers can start trending up in the last half of the season.

Next. Nepotism Is The Root Cause Of The Edmonton Oilers Failures. dark

P.S. Additional stats credit goes to the NHL‘s website as well as Cap Friendly for all cap hits.

Disclaimer:  This article took a long time to write, it was done in bunches over a number of days, so some of the stats may not be exactly the same.  As it is very time consuming to write a piece of this magnitude, please excuse any numbers that may have changed.  It won’t change my opinion about any of the players.