Who will it be? Who is the one on the way out the door? That’s the biggest question lingering over the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club right now.
The team, as a collective, proved they couldn’t win together. Certainly not the way they’ve been constructed. The Oilers are too top heavy with too many people who think they’re skilled enough to ignore the basics of hockey.
Too many people that think they’re special and that the rules don’t apply to them.
In his latest, Jim Matheson looks at the St Louis Blues as a potential trade partner for the Oilers. His proposal has, at least, Jordan Eberle going the other way and in return would be Center (actually a Winger now) Patrik Berglund plus other pieces. Ray Ferraro suggested those other pieces might include Defenseman Shattenkirk, but there’s no mention of that in the Matheson piece.
For those keeping score at home, Berglund is a high possession 3rd line winger, sometimes center, for the Blues who once upon a time scored enough points to be of some value. He has had seasons of 47 and 52 points in his career but that’s maybe a little misleading because in his past 100 games he’s only had 37 points. This year, he’s had 4 points in 20 games. He isn’t being crushed with Zone Starts like the Wagon line is and he’s even getting 1:30 on the PP every night, but he cant create any offense.
If, as Matheson suggests, Berglund is the piece coming back in an Eberle deal, the Oilers are flushing their current leading scorer and 60+ point man down the drain for a 3C who has managed half the offense of Arcobello and less than Draisaitl (whom he’s mean to replace). To suggest that Berglund be the focal point of any Oiler deal involving Jordan Leslie Eberle is pure insanity.
The Ferraro addition to that conversation, Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, is far more interesting. He’s a Power Play specialist (averaging more than 3 mins per game) but he also gets regular PK time and is averaging in total roughly 22 minutes a night. He is essentially Justin Schultz if Justin Schultz was good at being Justin Schultz. He’s a 40 point offensive defenseman who also leads the Blues Defense in Corsi For percentage (55.3). He’s also playing with primarily Gunnarsson, not Pietrangelo, at even strength if anybody thought maybe it was his defensive partner doing the heavy lifting. Although, one benefit that pairing does get is a high percentage of OZ starts. So it’s clear the coach wants them out there in offensive opportunities.
If Eberle’s name is out there then Patrik Berglund (who also makes 3.7M a year until 2017) coming back is hilariously bad. If it’s Shattenkirk then at least the club is potentially addressing some issue it may have. That said, Eberle is a 60+ point forward and former All-Star. If he’s out there then they can afford to wait for a deal that actually fills holes on this team. Shattenkirk is a massive upgrade over Justin Schultz but he still isn’t really good enough to stabilize this Defense. LINEUP
What a fragile bunch these guys are right now. I don’t know if they play for the coach, for each other, or for themselves. Eakins has done a little reshuffling of the lines. Dustin Schwartz is the new Goalie coach but I’m pretty sure we’ll need to give him longer than 24 hours to undo whatever it is that Chabot has done to the goaltending duo. I will update when I know who the starter will be. (I’m guessing Gazdic). UPDATE
Bob Stauffer has Gazdic taking line rushes with Draisaitl and Yakupov. Gazdic is in and I think we can assume now that Yak gets maybe 11 minutes of ice tonight.
Hall RNH Eberle
Gazdic Draisaitl Yak
Perron Arco Purcell
Hendricks Gordon Pinizzotto
Fasth OILERS KEYS TO THE GAME 1) Taylor vs Tyler. It was Hall in the lead early in their careers. Then Seguin pulled himself neck at neck with Taylor Hall. Now, with Benn, Tyler Seguin has taken a huge step forward. He currently has more than double the points Hall does this season. Actually, Seguin has more Goals (15) than any Oiler has Points. Seguin’s 26 points are 3rd in League scoring. The 80 shots he’s taken are almost 30 more than the highest totaled Oiler. Tayor Hall missed time due to injury and there’s a 0% chance that he is completely recovered, but at this time Tyler Seguin looks to have gone supernova. If the Oilers want to take his line on they will need some inspired play. 2) Just Stop A Puck. Of the 4 Goalies between the 2 teams only 1 has a save percentage above .900 on the season. Kari Lehtonen has a .906 sv% and has been decidedly poor, but Lindback has an .845, Scrivens has an .887, and Fasth has an .890 sv%. These guys are essentially playing with Soccer nets out there so there’s a decent chance of a high scoring game (unlike soccer which apparently needs to make their nets even bigger). Both teams allow for a significant amount of shots against per game so this is the battle of which team will be less bad than the other, I think. 3) Play For Each Other. I think playing for the Playoffs is dead. It apparently wasn’t enough of a motivator to get this collection of players to abandon bad habits or show some pushback. Playing for the logo on the front seems like an antiquated notion these days. I mean the players say they respect the logo and they get angry when fans throw jerseys, but then they play like they did on Saturday and I think their faux care for the logo is unmasked. But is it too much to ask that they just play for each other? David Perron calls out his teammates for not playing the right way and they don’t even bother showing up to the next game. Draisaitl is plastered to the boards and nobody cares enough to stand up for the kid. These guys need to play for the guy next to them at some point, don’t they?
Puck drops tonight at 6:38PM Mountain Time on Sportsnet West. Game On! Follow me on Twitter @Archaeologuy