The Oilers are currently on an 11 game losing streak and sit dead last in the NHL standings with just 17 points to their name. This has been a recurring event for this team in recent years that has left fans, players, coaches and management staff frustrated and confused.
This is a team with a squad of talented players, relatively new coaching and management staff that has yet to have any kind of consistent success in the league.
Younger players need to step up
This is an organization that has seen four coaching changes in recent years and still nothing has changed. Mactavish admitted to the press that everything in the organization is being evaluated. In other words, change may be coming. However, his philosophy will not change.
Mactavish stated that he believes in his current squad of players and that developing these players is the most important task. Yes, the Oilers have hit rock bottom and the playoffs are out of the picture. A lot of fans and the media are calling for change in the form of trading players. But according to Mactavish, what people need to take away from this losing streak is that the players need to take accountability, step up and play better hockey.
The Oilers have lacked the intensity, determination and skill level to win games consistently. This is reflected in the statistics. The Oilers top line of Hall, Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins has a combined total of just 50 points so far this season. The players that were brought in at the beginning of the year have not performed well at all. Pouliot and Purcell have only combined for 19 points.
These point tallies are unacceptable if a team hopes to make the players. However, before fans demand trades, it’s important to remember that the Oilers oldest forward is Matt Hendricks at 33. Mactavish was adamant that it takes time for these guys to develop and deal with the immense pressure they’re under night in and night out. No player can become as talented and skilled as someone like Sidney Crosby overnight.
That being said, guys like Hall need to keep things simple and work on eliminating the small mistakes. The Oilers turn the puck over far too often, have failed to execute on the powerplay and have failed to be competitive and finish games strongly. The Winnipeg game is a perfect example.
The Oilers used their speed affectively to create chances. But they failed to react in the defensive zone and the Jets were able to make them pay. The lack of experience available within this Oilers squad and the inability to react in high pressure situations is really hurting this team.
Rash trades not the answer
According to Mactavish, the Oilers don’t have players available to use as bargaining chips and get something of equal value. The worst thing this organization can do right now is trade one of their top line forwards. The right price isn’t there and there isn’t anyone in free agency that would be able to shift the momentum of this team.
The only forward I would consider trading is Yakupov. Or perhaps part ways with goalie Ben Scrivens and try and pick up Josh Harding. Regardless, the Oilers are in a tough spot and fans will just have to trust in Mactavish’s player development philosophy and hope for better things in the future.
I’m confident that these young players will continue to improve and eventually start winning games consistently. It will be interesting to see how the players perform moving forward throughout the rest of the season.