Better luck next year: The Edmonton Oilers made significant improvements, but they still have one major problem
They are so close.
Welcome back to Better Luck Next Season where we will take a look at what went wrong, what went right, and what sits ahead for all of the teams that missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs or were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Today we look at the Edmonton Oilers who keep getting a little closer to a championship, but keep missing out on one big area.
I have been a fierce — and I mean FIERCE — critic of the Edmonton Oilers for the better part of the past seven years because no organization has done less with more.
It’s actually kind of infuriating to watch from a distance, and I can not even begin to imagine what it has been like as an actual Oilers fan.
The hockey draft gods have spent the past decade blessing them with No. 1 overall picks and top-line talents, including the two most dominant offensive forces in the game in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
Most franchises will go their entire existence (or most of their existence) without seeing ONE player like McDavid or Draisaitl, let alone two of them at the exact same time.
Despite those blessings, the Oilers have mostly wasted them by surrounding them with crap talent at all other levels of the roster.
The general manager changed, the coaches changed, the goalies changed, and the complementary players changed.
But do you know what mostly stayed the same?
The results. Or the lack of results.
Since the start of the 2015-16 season, when McDavid made his debut and teamed up with Draisaitl, those two have been the top-two offensive players in the world by a significant margin.
McDavid is leading the league with 850 points during that time, while Draisaitl is second with 735 points.
No player during that stretch has recorded more than 680 points, while only seven other players have topped even 600. They are not only the best, they are the best by a mile
And what has that gotten the Oilers?
Only four playoff appearances, only four playoff series wins, and only one trip beyond the Second Round.
The common factors in their shortcomings have always revolved around the same four problems.
They are completely dependent on McDavid, Draisaitl, and their power play to carry the offense and get horribly outplayed when neither are on the ice.
Current general manager Ken Holland spent the first part of his tenure hesitant to make major additions and go all in to help his stars.
They have not always defended particularly well.
They never seem to have capable goaltending.
To their credit, they took some MAJOR steps this season in addressing several of those problems.
Let’s dig into it.
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