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It’s Edmonton Oilers day on PHT

Aug 15, 2013, 9:02 AM EDT

Taylor Hall #4 of the Edmonton Oilers awaits a face off against the Phoenix Coyotes during the NHL game at Arena on December 15, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Oilers 4-2.
(December 14, 2011 - Source: Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Edmonton Oilers.

The Edmonton Oilers led off the 2012 NHL Entry Draft for the third consecutive year. It was a remarkable and simultaneously embarrassing feat. Over the past few years they had assembled an incredible core of talented young forwards — but had done so by enduring the worst stretch of failure in a generation.

Some of that could be forgiven because they were clearly in a rebuilding process, but eventually promise for the future needs to transition into success today. Going into the 2013 campaign, the Edmonton Oilers’ objective was to finally compete for a playoff spot.

Well, they were better, but still nowhere near good. On the positive side of things, Taylor Hall had his best season yet with 50 points in 45 games and Nail Yakupov had a respectable rookie season. Another player that entered the season as a potential Calder contender, defenseman Justin Schultz, excelled offensively, but also posted a team-worst minus-17 rating.

The Oilers finished with a 19-22-7 record, which put them a full 10 points shy of the playoffs.

Offseason recap

Edmonton’s failure to take a major step forward led to GM Steve Tambellini being replaced with Craig MacTavish. In his introductory press conference in April, MacTavish labeled himself as “impatient” and was ready to do “bold things.”

So what did he follow that statement up with? Well, for starters he fired Ralph Krueger after just 48 games as an NHL head coach and brought in Dallas Eakins to serve as the team’s new bench boss. Eakins enjoyed a great deal of success with the AHL Toronto Marlies, but he will also be the team’s fifth coach in just six seasons.

On the trade front, MacTavish was able to move forward Shawn Horcoff and his $5.5 million annual cap hit to the Dallas Stars in exchange for defenseman Philip Larsen and a 2016 seventh-round pick. He followed that up by shipping forward Magnus Paajarvi, 22, along with a second-round selection to St. Louis in exchange for David Perron.

Edmonton wasn’t terribly active on the free agent market, but they got some much needed defensive help by signing Andrew Ference to a four-year, $13 million deal.


Introducing: PHT’s ‘Team of the Day’ summer series

  1. bcsteele - Aug 15, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    Dear PHT:

    I’m a regular follower of yours. An avid Blues fan. And an insane, loyal hockey fan. I’m getting married on the 24th and leaving town for the following week. As a way to get my marriage started off on the right foot, I would appreciate having “St. Louis Blues day” before I leave as to not get yelled at during my honeymoon for reading your posts on my phone (as I’m likely to do anyway, but at much less extent if it isn’t about the Blues). If you could help me out with this, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!

    P.S. My apologies to Edmonton fans for posting this in your article on your day, but I am pulling for you to make the play offs this year!

    • valoisvipers - Aug 15, 2013 at 10:24 AM

      A word of advice for you Turn your phone off while you’re on your honeymoon.

  2. vstar1us - Aug 15, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    Well no matter what, it is always good to see Hockey fans have fun!

    To me it is always Minnesota Wild day……

  3. malvaren18 - Aug 15, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    This guy better make the playoffs this year, they have the talent all they need is to work hard every night

    • davebabychreturns - Aug 15, 2013 at 12:16 PM

      Their defense is loaded with question marks and they don’t have any more “tough minutes” guys than they did last year (you could even argue they are even worse off in this respect, Boyd Gordon isn’t really a better player than Shawn Horcoff even if his contract is nowhere near as large).

      Ference and Gordon are good acquisitions who can play roles the Oilers need guys to play, but they need more of them and they need them to be better players if they’re going to be in the hunt this year.

      That being said, maybe their young guns all take another step and they can outscore their problems all season long. It doesn’t happen often in this league but it’s not entirely out of the question either.

      • ray2013 - Aug 15, 2013 at 2:14 PM

        Re: Gordon vs. Horcoff;

        Horcoff has been the whipping boy of local fans and the media for the poor showing of the team for several years; even though objectively, he did the most to make this team competitive. At the end of the season, he put his home up for sale. He did not want to be here anymore, and that didn’t start at the end of the season. By contrast, Gordon has a clean slate with local fans.

        So even if they are basically the same player, switching them removes an ongoing distraction, and gets rid of a player that didn’t want to be here for one that does. I’m not sure how you’d quantify that effect, but at the same time, it’s likely to be positive.

      • davebabychreturns - Aug 15, 2013 at 4:28 PM

        I agree with what you’re saying, but I think saying something like “even if they are the same player” is pretty charitable to Gordon.

        Horcoff isn’t the near point-a-game guy he looked like for a bit there but nor is he the career third and fourth liner that Gordon is.

        Don’t get me wrong, I would take Gordon on my team for sure, but if he’s the best and only option for going up against the opponents best scorers.. it’s not a position he has a long track record of success with.

  4. endusersolutions2013 - Aug 15, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    It is probably an indication of their fall that there is only 1 post so far in 2 hours. Their potential does show in that they have given the Hawks real problems the last couple years. The Central division may be the easiest to make the playoffs in as outside the Hawks and Blues, nobody is a very sure thing (I’d give the Wild a pretty good shot at #3). So this year is a big chance as they are in a division with multiple teams building.

    So the opportunity is clearly there. I do hope for their sakes that they get some more “coaching continuity”. 5 coaches in 6 years? Not a good thing.

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