Goalies have wide backs in Edmonton. They haven’t been very efficient since the start of the season, but the Tampa Bay Lightning are 9-6-5 in the absence of Andrei Vasilevskiy, the Toronto Maple Leafs have twice as many wins as they have losses with Ilya Samsonov and Joseph Woll, and the Los Angeles Kings are sixth overall in the NHL. -a win rate despite Cam Talbot in net.
In short, Stuart Skinner and Jack Campbell are not the only ones responsible for the misfortune of the Oilers, now ten points behind the Seattle Kraken and the last place that gives access to the playoffs, with three games to go, but also seven points behind the Anaheim Ducks and Arizona Coyotes, with only one game less .
The Oilers come in at 21e place in the NHL in goals scored per game. They have barely more than Canadians. They score too few goals after transition plays and allow too many scoring opportunities.
The Oilers wouldn’t be in that situation if they had drafted and developed a little better. Since Connor McDavid, the first overall pick in 2015, only two players selected by the organization occupy a key position on the team, and again, goalie Skinner is struggling and Evan Bouchard, despite an impressive offensive performance, is drawing the ire of Oilers fans because of his many defensive mistakes.
If only we got quality veterans for some of these young players, but they were so bad that we lost first round prospects Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto and got nothing in return. Thankfully, we’re not going back before the McDavid era, because Nail Yakupov would be another great example of bankruptcy.
The Oilers hold the fourth pick. After Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine, the Columbus Blue Jackets surprise the middle with the third pick by ignoring Jesse Puljujarvi in favor of Pierre-Luc Dubois. Seeing Finnish general manager Jarmo Kekalainen, still with strong roots in his native country, flip the Finnish prospect could have alerted the Oilers, but it was probably too late, and Puljujarvi’s fantastic performances at the World Junior Championship would have encouraged most recruiters to recruit the youngster in this act.
After seven difficult seasons, 112 points in 317 games, the Oilers traded Puljujarvi to the Hurricanes for a countryman the likes of which we will probably never see again in the NHL. Would Edmonton have drafted defenseman Mikhail Sergachev if Puljujarva hadn’t been available, as rumored? Or Matthew Tkachuk, who Calgary selected sixth overall? Despite an early second-round pick and three third-round picks, no one else broke through.
Oilers draft at 22e undersized winger Kailer Yamamoto, 5-foot-8, 153 pounds, 99 points, including 42 goals, in 65 games in his year in Spokane. Yamamoto had a promising first season with 26 points in 27 games in 2019-20. Then the following seasons were punctuated by ups and downs. He had 41 points, including 20 goals, two years ago, but we got rid of him last summer to free up payroll.
Very few players drafted after Yamamoto have had stellar careers, save for two brilliant shots by Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger in the 26th.e rank and striker Jason Robertson at 39 years olde. Although not at the top of his game right now, goaltender Skinner, a third-round pick, was a good move. He was a finalist for the most outstanding rookie last year.
Opinions are divided in Edmonton about defenseman Evan Bouchard, the tenth overall pick. Bouchard is an excellent offensive defender. He just had two seasons of 40 or more points and has 18 points in as many games this year.
His advanced stats aren’t bad, but to the naked eye, his positioning, decision-making in the defensive zone, and his grit in possession battles are poor. Bouchard’s defensive deficiencies were already evident in his year of eligibility.
The Oilers would probably be better suited to Noah Dobson, who the Islanders drafted two spots down, or K’Andre Miller, 22e Rangers selection.
Second round pick, 40e Overall, Ryan McLeod plays a marginal role in Edmonton, but very few players drafted after him have been able to establish themselves in the National League, with the exception of Sean Durzi, Philipp Kurashev, Yegor Sharangovich, Jordan Harris and Jack McBain, among others.
Selection of Swedish defender Philip Broberg in the 8the the surprised act still hurts today. In his third season in North America, Broberg, 22, is still struggling to break into the lineup. He only played ten games, played an average of ten minutes per game, and even played in the American League early in the season.
This vintage was rich with talented players in the first round. Broberg was selected over Trevor Zegras, Matthew Boldy, Cam York, Cole Caufield and Alex Newhook, all established in the National League. The second choice, Quebec’s Raphaël Lavoie, raised hopes for a while, but never managed to break through. At the beginning of the season, he was fired and no club wanted him. He played six games in Edmonton recently before being reinstated. On the Oilers’ defense, very few players drafted after Lavoie have been able to establish themselves in the National League.
Would Dylan Holloway have become the forward he expected if he hadn’t suffered a serious wrist injury late in his career with the Wisconsin Badgers, where he had 35 points in 23 games with Cole Caufield? This 14e the overall pick has had surgery twice to repair his bad ankle and despite good production in the American League in recent years, he has just 10 points in 65 career games in Edmonton. It’s not too late at just 22 years old, but Kaiden Guhle, picked two spots down, would likely be Edmonton’s number one defenseman today. But let’s give the Oilers the benefit of the doubt. They also had bad luck.
It’s too early to judge. Forward Xavier Bourgeault collected 115 points in just 72 games over the last two seasons in the Shawinigan junior ranks, but has 39 points in 73 games in his American League career. Picked one spot after him, Wyatt Johnson is already Dallas’ offensive leader at just 20 years old, but almost every team looks bad compared to the Stars’ pick.
Ken Holland is responsible for the selections the Oilers made of Broberg in 2019. Shortly after this vintage, he traded Bob Green and Keith Gretzky for his former right-hand man in Detroit, Tyler Wright. He was fired last summer shortly after the arrival of a new president in Edmonton, Jeff Green.
Quote of the day
We saved this league. Today (new players) are coming and I guess we are no longer relevant. But we saved her. Now it’s up to them to make me lie and prove that Sidney Crosby and I aren’t the best.
Alex Ovechkin, bitter for an unknown reason, at Rob Rossi, from theathletic.com website.