Edmonton Oilers: Player report card at the halfway mark

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - JUNE 21: General Manager Ken Holland of the Edmonton Oilers speaks onstage during the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on June 21, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - JUNE 21: General Manager Ken Holland of the Edmonton Oilers speaks onstage during the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on June 21, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Edmonton Oilers
BUFFALO, NY – JANUARY 02: Edmonton Oilers defenseman Adam Larsson (6) skates during a game between the Edmonton Oilers and the Buffalo Sabres on January 2, 2020, at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, NY (Photo by Jerome Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Adam Larsson

Larsson and Kris Russell are going to be locked in a battle for a roster spot for the rest of the season because it’s become obvious that both have become too much of a drain on the team – and $8.2 million is too much for 2 d-men who are a drain on the team.  1 will be gone after this season and there’s a good chance neither player is on the roster in 2 seasons.

Anyway, we all remember how Larsson came to this team in the first place.  PC happened.  Larsson has been a pretty good addition to the roster as he shored up a position that badly needed some veteran reliability – right defense.

He has played that role well…..until now.

Like Russell, Larsson is capable of some secondary offense, usually about 13-20 points.  And like Russell, he has struggled in that area as well – 1 assist in 20 games. Maybe I should cut Larsson some slack because he was injured for a large portion of the season, but Larsson is too key a player and a veteran of 518 games so we should expect better.

Unless Larsson picks it up in the 2nd half of the season, he’s on pace for a measly 4 assists.  That’s not good enough.  When you have a history of putting up 13-20 points, I don’t think it’s too much to ask to have you do it again.

Even his bread and butter – stay at home defending – has suffered this year.  He was an atrocious -28 last year but let’s be honest he produced the 2nd most points of his career so we could overlook that a little.

Now he’s improved to -12, which is much better, but again as a 27-year-old veteran of 518 NHL games you expect better, especially when that’s what you’re known for.  Also, no offense.

He’s 5th on the team in blocked shots with 42, which I guess is something, and 13th in hits with 29.  Hey, I’m grasping at straws now. Hopefully, we chalk up Larsson’s bad 1st half to his injury and he does much better in the 2nd half of the season.  I’m not convinced of that.

Josh Archibald

Archibald is another bottom 6 forward brought in for secondary offense but has not delivered.  He’s been in and out of the lineup all season, and up and down the lineup as well.

He’s only produced 3-2-5 in 33 games this season, a huge disappointment considering he put up 12 goals and 22 points for Arizona last season.  He’s on pace for 8 goals and 12 points this season, a significant dropoff from last season.

He’s also at -10 right now, a terrible regression from the +1 he put up last year with the Coyotes. He’s 2nd on the team in hits with 83, so I guess there’s that, but he was brought in for secondary offense, otherwise, he wouldn’t have sat in the pressbox for 9 games. Unless he starts scoring in the 2nd half, don’t expect him back next year.

Mike Smith

And now we save the most dubious for last.  Smith has flat out sucked as of late, let’s say that.  I had my doubts about Holland signing Smith when I thought better options were out there.

He started out great, in the first 2 months of the season he had a sub .920 sv%, but hasn’t had a game with a save % above .900 since Nov. 23, which not so coincidentally was his last win too.  Smith has imploded just like he did last year in Calgary.

We can only hope that history repeats itself in the playoffs and Smith elevates his game at that point.  Right now he’s at .893 with a 3.12 GAA.  That’s not good enough whether you consider him a backup or a 1A. If we had better options in Bakersfield we would bring them up and him down.  Alas, this is not the case as our guys in Bakersfield aren’t NHL ready yet.

Unless Smith picks it up, he’s as good as gone at the deadline, or sooner.  We can’t go on like this. Maybe Pittsburgh will take him if we agree to take Matt Murray from them.  He’s also struggling, but at least has room to improve.  Smith’s only saving grace is last year’s playoffs.

Brandon Manning, Markus Granlund, Tomas Jurco

All three were up here early in the season, and now they’re in Bakersfield, so what does that tell you?  They all sucked too much and can only play in the minors, end of story.

Can’t really judge them due to lack of sample size

Kailer Yamamoto, William Lagesson



That’s all folks. Happy New Year, everyone. I hope you enjoyed reading this.