If you thought the Buffalo Sabres playing the Calgary Flames the other night was enough to make the NHL shudder . . . brother, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!
Tonight’s Opponent: The Edmonton Oilers
Record: 25-36-9, 59 pts.
Standings: Fourteenth in the Western Conference
Current Streak: Won two
I’m pretty sure I have written this before, but it is worth repeating: the Edmonton Oilers should serve as a warning for the Buffalo Sabres. The Oilers have been “lucky” enough to pick very high in the last three drafts – and they still have nothing to show for it. I guess if you’re an Oilers fan you can look forward to yet another high pick in the NHL Entry Draft, but still, the question has to be asked: does Edmonton’s front office actually know how to build, and develop, a team?
The Oilers have a stable of young forwards that should be the envy of any team attempting to rebuild: Taylor Hall. Jordan Eberle. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Sam Gagner. Nail Yakupov. Yet, only one of those players currently sits in the top 30 point scorers in the NHL (Hall), with Eberle ranked number 40. Meanwhile, Yakupov has less points in 63 games this year (24) than he did in his electrifying rookie season last year (31 points in 48 games). Sophomore slump? Sure – but for EVERYONE on the Oilers? Even in their third, fourth, etc. year?
So yeah: relying on the draft hasn’t worked out as well as planned, but that’s certainly because Edmonton ignored their goaltending and defensive deficiencies for too long. Here is where I give the Oilers credit: they have done a nice job solidifying their goaltending situations, bringing in Ben Scrivens and inking him to a two-year deal, and then acquiring Viktor Fasth from Anaheim. Even if Fasth splits during the offseason as a free agent, locking in Scrivens was a wise move, and will help Edmonton turn the corner during their “Taking Our Own Sweet Time” rebuilding process.
Fun facts: according to the Oilers’ Game Program for tonight, winger Matt Hendricks (recently acquired from Nashville) prefers dogs to cats and is an excellent Walleye fisherman! Scintillating stuff!
Tags: Buffalo Sabres