Are the Oilers still a wise team to invest your fantasy-hockey future in?
As the Edmonton Oilers were enduring one of the most embarrassing losses handed to them in franchise history, a comedy skit broke out on Saturday Night. Taylor Hall, noticing that his team was getting torched, decided to start throwing water around the bench in an attempt to put out the fire. Dallas Eakins, drowned and soaked as a result of Hall's decision to play firefighter, misinterpreted the effort and started ripping into the youngster. An alert fan, noticing what was going on, decided to throw his jersey on the ice in an effort to help out. Rather than taking the jersey over to Eakins to towel off, Ben Scrivens instead took the gesture out of context and threw the jersey back into the stands. The circus continues in Edmonton but nobody is laughing.
Did Edmonton lose by a touchdown or a field goal? Last night it was a touchdown and eleven times this year the Oilers have lost at home by three goals or more. The team is a real life abyss and bordering on fantasy wasteland. The Oilers have a conference worst goal differential of minus-58. Their current top six (Hall, Eberle, Perron, Gagner, Nugent-Hopkins, Yakupov) are a combined minus-106. Taylor Hall is on an expected point per game pace with 65 points in 65 games this season and Jordan Eberle needs just six points in the team's final 10 games to break 60 points, which could be viewed as an underachievement to his fantasy owners. David Perron has been a solid addition this season posting 25 goals, 25 assists, and decent peripherals. However, the forwards are deficient in playing away from the puck defensively and the team is a plus/minus nightmare. In real life, the bottom six in Edmonton has been a continuous recycling of journeymen third and fourth liners over the past five seasons. Meanwhile Sam Gagner has been a disappointment since returning from injury, Nail Yakupov has significantly regressed, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has been inconsistent.
On the blue line Andrew Ference was a nice off season addition but he is a depth answer, not one meant for a top pairing. Justin Schultz's development hit a wall this season. He is minus-20 but has a respectable 28 points in 64 games as the only fantasy relevant defenseman on the team. Schultz has the potential to establish himself as a successful offensive defenseman with shutdown capabilities but he is still in the early phases. The rest of the team's defensive core would be on the bottom pairing of most NHL teams. Moving forward, the team either needs Darnell Nurse to develop three years ahead of schedule or Craig MacTavish to make a "bold" trade