30 Mistakes The Edmonton Oilers Have Made

It has been seven plus years since the Edmonton Oilers have made the playoffs and as we enter the second week in November the Oilers are already out of this year’s playoff race with a 4-14-2 start.  I am a long time Oilers fan and I have to be vocal about the futility of this hockey franchise.  The glory days are long gone.  With the exception of perhaps a fluke trip to the finals in 2006 with a loss to Carolina in game seven, really what have the Edmonton Oilers done in the past twenty years?  The answers not much.  Frankly the fans, myself included are getting pretty pissed off.  Yet the Oilers still sell out every game.

So today after another loss (3-0 to Dallas 0n home ice) GM Craig McTavish goes off on how he is pissed off that the start of the Oilers has not been what he expected.  Well no kidding.  Truth be told I’ve never been a fan of MacT.  Not when he was coach of the Oilers and not as a GM.  He was fired as coach for a reason.  Behind the yes, yes I know he is good friends with Oilers owner Daryl Katz.  They spend time together here in Kelowna in the off-season.  I’ve bumped into Craig at the airport on occasion.  I also am aware of some recent health problems that MacT has had and I can say that I do not “not” like him as a person, but he’s simply not one of the guys that should be running the Edmonton Oilers.  The same can be said about Kevin Lowe.  Kevin is an articulate person but he has failed in hockey management.  The futility experienced by Oilers’ fans in the past 20 years is something that should not be experienced by any hockey fan.  The fans, myself included, are frustrated.  Don’t believe me?  Here are some fan comments courtesy of tsn.ca after MacTavish’s latest tirade.

What a mess the Oilers are from the front office to the players on the ice

cant recall any pro sports team to have that many high draft picks, year after year, and yet continue to fail so miserably year after year.. what a total embarrassment.. and then when the franchise had a chance to re-build from the ground up, what do they do? they re-hire MacTavish.. pathetic!

Lip service… As a long time Oilers fan I hate to say this (for another season). The Oilers are pathetic on so many fronts – this team will not win 20 games – then what? Lowe, MacT, Eakins all stay and the kids increase their losing skills

I really feel for the loyal Oiler fans… such tremendous young talent and they just can’t seem to get the job done. Change doesn’t happen over night, but after how many years, something drastic needs to change in the locker room and management to get things going. Look at Colorado.. they only needed 1 first overall pick to climb the standings

‘The blueline needs to be improved upon’ Good thing you traded away Smid!!

Wow, I feel sorry for oiler fans, this team is going nowhere with the management it has in place!

all they need is a new president, a new gm, 5 defencemen, a goalie and some grit and watch out

Kevin Lowe’s hand prints on this team is the problem

Such a poorly built team.. Sick of seeing ‘this team will get better’ every single year as they finish last, or 2nd last. Pathetic, time to rebuild the rebuild, get some proven veterans, then get some stud rookies. Who are your vets edm, Ryan Smyth? Hemsky? laughable. Andrew Ference the only capable veteran I see.

MacT sees progress ? Huh ?

‘The blueline needs to be improved upon’ Nice work Craig, you just traded your best Dman for almost nothing but cap space and now you want a Dman? lol. Way to go

‘Eventually’???!!! Really, MacT? Eventually has been since 2002. Since then, it’s been all ‘rebuilding’ to a 4-14-1-1 record. Maybe the Oilers will get a clue once the fans start failing to sellout Rexall Place

Mac T is in over his head. He has no plan and the frustration is showing. Why Katz keeps him and Lowe is beyond comprehension. As for Eakins, he’s another Guy Boucher. He’s better suited for the AHL.

Sad state to the once proud franchise of Edmonton..MacTavish..Lowe and the rest of the Oilers in the front office need to be fired and sent packing.

The Oiler’s are a clear example of how NOT to run an organization. You cannot finish last and be awarded the 1st overall pick 3 years in a row and not improve your team. The best talent available doesn’t always mean it’s the best possible pick for your team. It’s ironic how they draft the highest skilled offensive player in the draft and suddenly want/expect that offensive minded player to play defense??? REALLY?!!!! It took Kovy 8 full NHL seasons before he knew what a D-zone was….. Oil Brass – give your head a shake please. You drafted wrong. End of story. The best 2 way player w/ nearly Yak’s skill level was MTLs Galchenyuk… Sorry about your luck. Enjoy last place again. (Although we (NJ) will finish right beside you….)

Mac T is frustrated…now he knows how an entire city has felt for the last 7 years…why did I think buying a mini pack to watch this team play was a good idea?!

The blueline needs to be improved upon… do we need a big stud defenceman? It would help immensely,’ said MacTavish. But MacTavish explained that he’s not willing to part with one of his team’s core pieces at this time…That is BOLD MacT. im sure your fans have all the patience in the world after a decade of embarrassment…

Please, Kevin Lowe, for the love of hockey in Edmonton, STEP DOWN!. Maybe if everyone going to the game Friday takes a sign pleading with Lowe to step down, he would get the message.

Hmmm, draft all scorers and now you expect them to play D? Maybe you should draft based on your needs. MacT should never have been brought back. This team needed fresh, new executive leadership to match the young team. All they got was the same old same that hasn’t worked in Edmonton in nearly 30 years. Oh yeah, they had that one run: That’s just how good Pronger was. Maybe they should think about drafting a D-man who can play D.

Mac-T’s comments today are all about timing … the Oil play the Sharks Friday night then the despised Flames on Saturday … he’s attempting to downplay his teams pathetic position in light of these 2 upcoming potential blowouts especially the Flames who only are one year into a rebuild yet light years ahead of the Oil …

One of the biggest problem’s hiring a coach with no NHL head coaching experience. Krueger was actually doing a great job and the Oilers were playing meaningful hockey in April! Isn’t this comparable to all the time’s coaches have done a great job in NCAA football but completely bomb in the NFL? It’s a huge step in both cases. Here’s the problem. You got a rookie coach with rookie players. I’m still mind boggled about how this team is doing so bad compared to last year when on paper they should be a much better and well rounded team…..

Why Lowe still has a job is a mystery. Last year the Oilers were close to the playoffs and could have made it except for a late 10 game slump. Bringing in Eakins has set the team backwards although he is tied to MacTavish’s poor decisions (Ferrence, LaBarbera, Larsen, Belov, trading Smid) and saddled with two ex Oiler assistants (Smith and Buchberger). The team has had enough make overs, it is time for the management to move on. Katz – clean house, please!

I wouldn’t support getting rid of a new coach this early but I do wonder what Eakins is teaching. Their game is lacking any sort of structure. I recognize that systems can take a while to implement effectively as a new coach but that group of players needs a plan to move forward. It seems like a clear plan for how to improve is missing both on the ice(coach/players) and off(gm/president).

So basically, he’s upset like all the fans are, but nothing is changing and things will continue to go downhill. Got it.

I see MacT is not willing to part with one of the team’s core pieces at this time…Exactly what is this team’s core at this time? As a Canuck fan, I should be loving this, but I don’t. I feel bad for the Oiler fans who stand by their team. Time for the fans to be rewarded. May need to blow it up. These kids may be better off separated, and the Oilers can get some quality vets in return for some of them. Hang in there Oiler fans, it has to get better.

As a flames fan, I don’t think Eakins is the problem. It is MacT and I knew this was going to be a disaster when he was hired as GM, and so did my oiler fan friends. Lowe is no better with his horrible contracts he signed after 2006 season. You guys deserve better than this! From a flames fan.

Don’t worry. Kevin Lowe knows a thing or two about winning.

I guess Oiler fans have renewed their prospect magazine subscritions. Should give one to the oilers scouting department. Have not got an impact player beyond the first round in 8 years that is good enough to make the team. Honestly the Oiler’s problems stem from very poor scouting. Not one guy from round 2 plus has made any impact. Terrible. MacT needs to a lot of help from scouts and they are the problem not the solution. Take in to account the Oilers were picking first in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th rounds as well.

I will tell you that the coaching change scared me a little at the start of the season and now my fears have come true. Dallas Eakins may become a very good Head Coach in this league some day but maybe they should have brought him in as an assistant coach first. The Oilers were in the top 10 in powerplay and penalty killing last year and their 5 on 5 was hurting. Now everything is a shambles and they have no confidence and no continuity in management. MacTavish probably thought that bringing in a ‘Hammer’ was needed. What they really need is a systems coach. An NHL systems coach not an AHL systems coach. Ralph was an NHL systems coach and the players responded with a very good powerplay and penalty killing. We need a Kruger/Hitchcock type with serious systems.

Oilers will continue to be non-competitive until the management group is replaced. They need defence, and they trade Smid, the best defencemen on the team. Bad choices, repeated again and again. Sabres ownership was bold enough to clean house, why isn’t Katz?

Turn it around? look at the Oilers division it will take around 100 points to make the playoffs…do the math the season is over.

Disgraced Oilers FanSo as we can see the fans of the Edmonton Oilers are not very happy.  Whom do we have to blame?  Well mainly the management team and the scouts.  With that here is a look at 30 mistakes the Edmonton Oilers have made in recent years which has contributed to the sorry state they are in currently.

30 Mistakes Made By the Edmonton Oilers

Continuing from my previous post, here is a look at 30 mistakes made by the Edmonton Oilers that have contributed to their current state of cellar dwellers.

  1. Spending too much time trying to re-live the glory years – the Oilers have spent too much time resting on their laurels and living off of the dynasty teams from the eighties and 1990.  The League has changed, the game has changed, the Oilers failed to roll with the change.
  2. Failure to draft or trade for size – the game and its players have gotten bigger.  The Oilers have failed to address the need to have size at all positions especially at forward.  Adding size to the team also plays into the intimidation factor and could perhaps have helped protect some of the Oilers small players.
  3. Retaining Kevin Lowe in his management position(s) – sorry Kevin, you were a solid defenseman and won the Stanley Cup as a part of some excellent teams, but you have had minimal success in hockey management.  The list is too long to convey but expect to see some of your fiascos within our top 50 mistakes that the Oilers have made in recent years.
  4. Not addressing inconsistent play – the Oilers play has been up and down for years.  Every year they win a couple then lose the equivalent or more.  It’s like take one stride forward and two strides back.  This team needs to learn how to play consistently.
  5. Trading Chris Pronger to the Anaheim Ducks after their 2006 Stanley Cup run – acquiring Pronger was one of the best things the Oilers have accomplished in the past twenty years.  Letting him go after one season was not.  Regardless if it had to do with his family or wife whatever.  He had signed a what 5 year contract?  If the Oilers were going to accommodate Pronger’s request they should have not traded him within the Conference and should have received a better package for him as Pronger was arguably one of the league’s best defensemen at the time.  The Oilers got Smid and Lupal, both who are no longer with the team.
  6. Poor Scouting – the scouting and drafting has been one dimensional at best.  Let us make this clear:  The Oilers lack goaltending, lack 3 top four defensemen, lack size in the top six forward position and lack the depth on the farm to call up to fill in for games throughout the season.  To me, this falls on the scouts.  Quite drafting small, skilled forwards in the age where the league is about positional play where power forwards and stud defensemen dominate.  Where goalies have a .920+ save percentage.  The scouting staff for the Oilers should be let go effective immediately.
  7. Signing Shawn Horcoff to a six year $33 million dollar contract – On July 16, 2008, the Oilers announced that Horcoff had been signed to a six-year, $33-million contract.  At the time Horcoff had one solid season amassing 73 points.  In the two seasons following Horcoff potted a total of 89 points followed by season with 27, 34 and 12 points respectively.  Horcoff is a smart guy and good in the room but was not worth $5 million per season.  Thanks for this one Kevin Lowe.
  8. Re-hiring Craig MacTavish as General Manager – I almost fell off of my chair when this was announced but then I thought to myself, “why is this surprising”?  With what the Oilers have done recently why wouldn’t they bring MacT back?
  9. Drafting, but not nurturing small skilled forwards – think of all of the talent that Rob Schremp or Linus Omark have.  The Oilers did not manage these talents well.  Although small both of these guys have shown some flash and dash but were never given a fair shake by the Oilers.  If anything they could have traded them for other assets.
  10. Not selecting Ryan Kesler or Corey Perry in the 2003 entry draft – With their 22nd overall pick the Oilers selected center Marc-Antoine Pouliot.  With the next pick at 23rd the Vancouver Canucks selected Ryan Kesler, four picks later the Ducks snagged Corey Perry.
  11. Not drafting or trading for a bona fide #1 starting goaltender – the Oilers have not had a proven starter for probably six or seven years now.  Dubnyk is proving that he is not the man in the pipes that the Oilers need.  With the Oilers giving up nearly 4 goals per game it is no surprise that they only have four wins thus far in this season.  They need a number one goalie.  What does Craig MacTavish do?  He goes and signs Ilya Bryzgalov.  This is not an upgrade people.
  12. Too much line juggling – especially with Dallas Eakins as head coach.  The Oilers lines have no consistency.  The players cannot get used to their linemates.  Huge, critical mistake by Eakins.  The lines need to gel.
  13. Placing too much responsibility on the Young Guns – the key players on the Oilers are already being asked to do too much.  They should be learning how to win not worrying about learning new systems.
  14. Not protecting the talented players on the team – the Oilers Young Guns are so hyped that we have seen other teams take runs at the skilled young guys.  from Nugent-Hopkins to Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, there have been a number of questionable hits, high sticks and such incidents that make us cringe when these guys get hit.  The Oilers could really use a Chris Neil to police the ice a little.
  15. Not getting Ken Hitchcock as coach – the Oilers have lacked a defensive style for quite some time.  In fact they have lacked any style save for when Ralph Kruger was coach.  So it perplexes me that the Oilers wouldn’t look at getting Hitch as coach when he was available.  Hitch did a great job in Philly, an admiral job in Columbus with limited resources and has the Blue as Stanley Cup contenders.  Not good enough for the Oilers?
  16. Trading Ryan Smyth – chalk this one up to Kevin Lowe’s ego.  I think this was just a poor decision by the Oilers trading Smyth at the trade deadline in 2007.  Smyth was traded over what a hundred grand?  Smyth bleeds orange and blue.  Anyone remember the Oilers record that season after the trade?  They won 2 of their last what 19 games?  Poor move by Kevin Lowe to trade the heart and soul of the Edmonton Oilers.  Smyth was still a 25-30 goal man at the time.
  17. Not trading for a power forward – the Oilers top six has consistently been too small.  They need one or two power forwards who can chip in 20-35 goals collectively per season.  They missed out on David Clarkson but others have been available in recent years.
  18. Wasting time with unskilled, small forwards – Marcus Nilsson or Patrick O’Sullivan anyone?
  19. Naming Andrew Ference Captain – I understand the reasons why, but a better choice may have been a Ryan Smyth or maybe even Taylor Hall.  Look at what some of the other young teams have done in naming their young superstars as their captains.  See Chicago, Pittsburgh, Colorado and the New York Islanders as examples.
  20. Not trading some of the younger talent for defensive help – the Oilers should look at trading someone of the likes of Sam Gagner, Nail Yakupov or Ales Hemsky to try and secure some defensive or goaltending help.  For some reason it appears that the Oilers cannot find a lot of trading partners.  There must be a reason for that.
  21. Not Leveraging Pat Quinn as coach – when Pat Quinn inherited a sub-par team after Craig MacTavish was fired in 2009 the Oilers finished last in the NHL.  Pat Quinn did not really have much to work with.  He was/is a great coach that the Oilers simply did not give a chance to.
  22. Firing Tom Renney as coach – after Pat Quinn was fired he was replaced by a great hockey man in Tom Renney.  He last a whole two years before being fired by the Oilers.
  23. Not taking Alex Steen or Cam Ward in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft – the Oilers took Jesse Niinimaki with their #15 pick.  Steen went to the Leafs at 24th and Ward went one pick later to the Carolina Hurricanes.
  24. Trading Jarrett Stoll to Los Angeles – in June 2008, the Oilers traded Stoll to the LA Kings.  Stoll has been one of the league’s top faceoff men in recent years and area the Oilers struggled in until the 2013-14 season.
  25. Trading Sheldon Souray – apparently Souray was questioning the desire of the team in the dressing room.  Looking back it appears that he may have been right, yet the way Kevin Lowe handled this was to exile Souray to the AHL.  Souray has come back and had some solid seasons for Dallas and Anaheim.
  26. Not trading up in the 2009 Entry Draft – the 2009 draft year was solid.  The Oilers had a missed opportunity in trading up from their 10th spot and possibly drafting a defensman such as Jared Cowen or Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
  27. Drafting Sam Gagner over Logan Couture in 2007 – The Oilers selected Gagner sixth overall with Couture going to the Sharks three spots later.
  28. Not trading the first overall pick in 2012 – the Oilers need defense.  In 2012, they became the first team to “earn” three consecutive #1 picks in the NHL draft.  The Oilers used this pick to select forward Nail Yakupov who is already open to a trade out of Edmonton.
  29. Using an AHL line for their 4th line in 2013-2014 – the Oilers need some depth players.  It sems for the past few seasons, this one included, their fouth line consists of an AHL line with players with limited experience playing in the NHL.
  30. Selecting Rob Schremp over Cory Schneider in 2004 – the Oilers, with their second first round pick at position 25 selected Rob Schremp.  One pick later the Canucks selected goaltender Cory Schneider.  Perhaps the Oilers should trade scouts with the Canucks?  Probably because the Oilers had drafted Devin Dubnyk a few picks earlier.

Let’s be brutally honest, the Oilers are a terrible hockey team and have been a terrible hockey team for too long.  Enough with the excuses.  The wrong people have been dismissed, and people who should be accountable are not.  I have been an Oilers fan since I was a kid and I can honestly say that I cannot and do not really get excited to watch them any longer.  My allegiance is starting to turn to teams like the Chicago Blackhawks or the San Jose Sharks.  Teams that are well rounded, well coached and play solid hockey year in and year out.  Jeez a fan can only take so much.  Words that come to mind when watching the Oilers are unmotivated, brutal, lacking passion, pathetic, inconsistent and well the team has truly become a joke.  I feel for the players who it is obvious have lost their confidence.  I feel for the talented players like Ebs, Nuge and Hallsey who deserve a much better hockey fate.  The Oilers are a long way away from even qualifying for the playoffs let alone win a Stanley Cup.  After missing for seven and now what appears to be eight seasons there is no end in site.  Oilers management team you should be ashamed of yourselves for creating this situation.  We, as Oiler fans, are tired of the excuses of tired of being told to be patient… Patient?  Eight consecutive years out of the playoffs?  Wow just wow.

Under-performing is one thing.  Failing to do something about it is another.