Can MacTavish Stop Jerseys From Being Thrown On The Ice In Edmonton?
For what was supposed to be a season of promise and progress for the Edmonton Oilers turned out to be an utter disappointment and even some would say, a nightmare. There was talk about being a potential playoff bubble team, just coming up short of missing the playoffs during the lockout shortened 2013 campaign. However the season was burdened with continuing struggles, jersey tossing and another draft lottery pick. Let’s take a look at how what kind of “Bold Moves” GM Craig MacTavish should make in order for the Oilers to get out of the basement.
This is one of the things the Oilers have a lot of potential on. Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are still finding their game and they will need a supporting cast. That includes a faceoff specialist, which they have not found with the departure of Shawn Horcoff.
Also, they do need a big body winger, much like a Wayne Simmonds type of player. David Perron, Boyd Gordon and Luke Gazdic have been great additions to the Oilers, giving them a little more toughness and depth up front. The Oilers have been criticized for being a small team and need some depth to succeed.
However, will Craig MacTavish use one of his talented offensive forwards to land a top pair defenseman? Good question and one that will be soon answered.
With all the firepower in the front, the Oilers fizzle in the back. The experiment of bringing in Denis Grebeshkov did not work out, since he spent most of the season with the Oklahoma City Barons and has since left for the KHL.
Anton Belov also struggled with the Oilers. They were hoping he would be the hard hitting YouTube sensation but Belov struggled with the adjustment to the North American game. Also, the departure of Ladislav Smid left a hole in the defensive roster.
The Oilers do have prospects in the system that will potentially improve their defense. Oscar Kelfbom and Martin Marincin showed promise when they were called up to play a few times in the season. And Darnell Nurse is hoping to become the big puck moving defensemen Oilers fans have been dreaming about since the departure of Chris Pronger. But the young defencemen will need time to develop in Oklahoma City.
With that being said, the Oilers will need to acquire an experienced defencemen either through free-agency or via trade. Some have suggested bringing in someone like Braydon Coburn, Dion Phaneuf, Johnny Boychuck, Dustin Byfuglien or Brooks Orpik.
Devan Dubnyk knew going into this season that this would either be his “make-it-or-break-it” season. Dubnyk struggled out of the gate and was never able to recover, eventually getting traded to Nashville in the middle of the year and then would be traded again to Montreal, ending up playing with the Hamilton Bulldogs.
Jason LaBarberra was not a suitable backup and got subsequently traded. Ilya Bryzgalov was brought in for the vetran goalie presence, but with the acquisition of Ben Scrivens and Victor Fasth, Bryz was the odd man out and was traded to the Wild before the deadline. Even though The Oilers struggled thoughout the final stretch, the goaltending paring of Scrivens and Fasth has showed promise into next season.
With the upcoming draft and free agency, this will be a very busy summer for Craig MacTavish. He is well aware of the issues he needs to address with the team and the changes he will need to make. There is going to be some tough decision in making the “bold moves” MacT has always been talking about. However, the Oilers should not sacrifice too much of their future for short-term success that is not always guaranteed. All we can do is wait and see how all of this will pan out of the Oilers.