So what happens when you are in year four of your supposed five-year rebuild, and it is clear to everyone that your plan isn’t working because you have no idea what you are doing? And what do you do when it is clear that you need to blow your team up in the middle of your rebuild so that it can go from five years to say…seven?
All these first-overall draft picks are getting the team nowhere, and you might as well assume they are aiming for another Top 2 pick in this year’s draft because their continued pathetic performances leave no other explanation. Why? Because they have no reliable support from the veterans even when they’re healthy (which they often have not been), and the players who should be playing alongside them aren’t.
If you are going to stink up the joint that badly, you might as well trade away the dead weight–Ben Eager, Eric Belanger, Ryan Whitney–and play all the kids so you can see what you have, instead of playing the superstuds and leaving guys like Magnus Paajarvi and Teemu Hartikainen twisting in the wind.
And if the Oilers do not use their inevitably high draft pick on a defenseman in this year’s draft, be it Seth Jones or somebody else, then Steve Tambellini, Craig MacTavish and the rest of them all need to be fired immediately. If you use all your picks on forwards and don’t address the real problem on your team–defense–you will never improve.
SPOILER ALERT: This is not the 1980’s. You can’t win with all forwards and no defense. Devan Dubnyk is not Grant Fuhr, and the Baby Oilers are not Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, Paul Coffey and Glenn Anderson. If the Oilers’ brass can’t get this through their skulls, then this organization is destined to become even more of a laughingstock than the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Oh yeah, and all of these high draft picks who are supposed to help lead the Oilers to the promised land? If this losing keeps up, guess who’s going to try to force their way out of town first? And then you’ll be left with…Mike Brown? Remind me why we brought him in again? How does getting into fights every time we start losing help our team, exactly?
The Oilers have talked for several years about changing the culture and building a winner in Edmonton, but right now they are doing neither of these things. You can’t just blame the players anymore for this mess. It starts at the top, and it’s time for the Oilers to clean house and get some people in there who actually have a plan and know what they’re doing.