On June 22, 2017, two days before the 2017 National Hockey League Entry Draft in Chicago, the Edmonton Oilers made a head-scratching trade with the New York Islanders. They traded Jordan Eberle to the Islanders for Ryan Strome.
At the time, many Oilers fans thought that the trade of Eberle would be the catalyst of another deal and that general manager Peter Chiarelli would acquire another top six forward either via trade or free agency.
The subsequent move just never happened, and thus the Oilers are not surprisingly having problems with secondary scoring. Their 64 goals are the third least in the Western Conference. Only the Anaheim Ducks at 62 goals and San Jose Sharks at 58 goals, have fewer goals in the West than the Oilers. (It should be noted that 1/8 of their total production this season came in one game against the Vegas Golden Knights).
So far this season, Eberle has got off to a slightly better start than Strome. In 23 games, Eberle has nine goals and eight assists for 17 points. While Strome has four goals and seven assists for 11 points. On Sunday, Strome delivered his biggest goal of the season as he notched the game winner in a 4-2 Oilers win over the Boston Bruins.
The goal may not have reduced the Oilers fans’ overall pain to start the season (they are six points out of a playoff spot), but it might have sweetened their palate just a little bit. The fact that Strome is playing with Leon Draisaitl, there is a possibility that he might see an increase in his production. On Sunday, Oilers head coach Todd McLellan did some line juggling and now has Connor McDavid, Milan Lucic and the newly acquired Michael Cammalleri playing together.
The fact that McDavid and Draisaitl are finally apart, should benefit the Oilers other lines and provide more secondary scoring. To date, McDavid has had a decent start (team high 30 points, sixth in the NHL and eight more points than Sidney Crosby). It is the rest of the team that needs to get their butt in gear. Sunday’s win might give the Oilers a much needed boost in confidence.