2006 and still counting: On the second Saturday of every month I put another entry in the log chronicling the Edmonton Oilers’ hopes of a return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs…
The Edmonton Oilers traded Taylor Hall and Nail Yakupov, among a few other moves. GM Chiraelli’s shown in the past he doesn’t mess around. Like the deals or not, he’s not afraid to make them. In the summer I said I was excited because it seeemed like for the first time the young underachievers clogging the payroll realized maybe the Oilers don’t really owe them anything. Just being there isn’t good enough. Maybe they might actually have to, *gasp*, fight for a job in the NHL like everyone else.
I think that’s played itself out nicely and the identity has shifted as planned. Picking up Lucic was a big help. I also think not pressing the panic button on anyone else either coming or going will help in the long run. Not getting Versteeg or Parenteau for example isn’t a sign of missed opportunities. It’s a sign of allowing the ones who remain to look from within and see if they want to take themselves seriously or not. There’ll be plenty of free agents later if needed, and first task is to prove Edmonton is a destination worth coming to.
Confidence is a big thing and the off season has really changed the room around. Instead of going in feeling like they have to win, the players can go into some games with the mentality that they’re supposed to win. That subtle change, that little bit of swagger is showing.
I’m starting to believe not only that the Oilers will make the playoffs. I’m also starting to think they’ll spend less than 15 games of the year, if any at all, out of a playoff spot.