The Edmonton Oilers 2015/16 season was nothing short of a moldy diaper wrapped in a flaming bag of dog shit. I have come to the conclusion that this season’s injuries, scoring droughts, and bad scheduling is a product of winning the Connor McDavid draft lottery and a lovely little gift from the hockey gods. Now we’ve got one more draft lottery here and IF the Oilers win it they have to do the right thing and trade it away to appease the hockey gods or they’ll be cursed for another season. Really. As tempting as it would be to have McDavid, Matthews, and Nuge down the middle, it’s a recipe for disaster.
Anyways, the report card for the year:
Taylor Hall (B) – Finally found a way to go through an entire season without getting injured. Point production down though. Could be traded this summer.
Leon Draisaitl (A-) – 51 points as a 20-year-old = tight! A good off-season and improved faceoffs will go a long way for next season.
Connor McDavid (A+) – A healthy season would’ve seen him in the Hart Trophy race surely. He came into a league that wasn’t ready for him and made fools out of quite a few established pros. Is already one of the team’s best two-way players so we won’t have to hear about that going forward.
Jordan Eberle (B) – Scored 25 goals in 69 games which is par for the course with Eberle. Too bad he’s found his way into the bad books with fans and TV pundits alike. If the draft lottery balls fall the way the Oilers would like, we’ll have seen the last of Eberle in an Oilers uniform.
Benoit Pouliot (C) – Pou did nothing apart from McDavid which is disappointing. Fancy stats liked him but they also loved Nikitin this year. So take that for what it is.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (C) – Could’ve had 50-60 points this year if healthy and that’s damned good if this was a bad year for the centre. Long stretches of non-production hurt him though.
Teddy Purcell (C+) – TP was okay. Nothing special in my books. Is a much better fit on the 3rd line in Florida with Hudler and Grimaldi. Stole some of Yak’s icetime in my opinion.
Andrej Sekera (B) – Was thrown to the wolves right off the bat in true Oilers fashion and battled his way out. Liam Neeson would be proud.
Mark Letestu (C) – Letestu was played in a role above his ability for most of the season due to injuries but the Elk Point native is a solid and unspectacular centre on a team that needs quiet veterans. Too many times did he shit the bed on a clear-cut scoring chance this year.
Nail Yakupov (C+) – Turned it on in the last ten games of the year when he was properly placed in a regular top-6 role… Weird how that works?… He’s chaos personified.
Lauri Korpikoski (C-) – He’s a worker and if wins were calculated based on how hard you forechecked, the Oilers would have an 1st team All-Star in Korpikoski.
Patrick Maroon (A+) – Big Rig blew everyone away as an Oiler. Size, grit, skill, and an honest opinion. More please! 14 points in 16 games on the wing of Connor could be misleading though.
Iiro Pakarinen (C+) – 13 points in 63 games and he was the guy taking Yak’s place in the top six some games?…
Matt Hendricks (B) – I love me some Hendricks. What a leader he is! Give me more of him in the bottom six. When people talk about players with heart on this team I immediately think if Matt Hendricks. Doesn’t put points up but he doesn’t need to.
Oscar Klefbom (A) – Before his injury he was in beast mode. Had he not been injured he might’ve put up nearly 40 points. #Revelation
Brandon Davidson (A-) – Speaking of revelations… Properly develop a defenceman in the minors and look what happens… He’ll be in the top four in 2016/17.
Darnell Nurse (C+) – Get’s a + because he did what very few Oilers have been willing to do apart from Luke Gazdic or Matt Hendricks. He gets a ‘C’ because he just wasn’t ready. 20 games in the Bake would do him well next year.
Justin Schultz (F) – … Best conman in the league since Alan Eagleson to get the Oilers to give him that much money and that much term. Now the Penguins have realized what a shit-show Jultz is.
Zack Kassian (C) – Started off well and his unpredictability is exactly what the Oilers bottom six requires. He’s a nuclear deterrent because he can go all Rinaldo on the opposition but he’s got hands and can score too.
Mark Fayne – (D) – Is an NHL defender on a team that has very few. Beginning of the year was a train wreck but after his trip to the AHL he improved slightly. Don’t think he’ll be in Edmonton for long.
Adam Clendenning (F) – Jultz 2.0. Did nothing to impress me.
Eric Gryba – (B) – Loved me the physical style he brought to the team. And that beard! Glory to the beard gods! That is a beauty! Was deployed correctly by McLellan and I hope he re-signs.
Jordan Oesterle (B-) – Turned out to be a very efficient puck mover. He’s still a tad small for my liking and could use a bit more seasoning in the Bake but he could very well be a regular come 2017 if everything pans out.
Anton Lander (F) – Too bad for Anton. Seems he’s hit the same road Yak is on with the team. Three points in 61 games… Yikes!
Adam Pardy (C) – Pardy time performed the Gryba role relatively well. But I don’t reckon he’s better than Reinhart or David Musil at this point.
Jujhar Khaira (C+) – Thorny had 15 games with the Oilers this year and looked-a-gamer. Nice size, pretty good hands, brought great physicality, and did his job quite effectively. Look forward to seeing more of him. Perhaps the team drafts his brother this year.
Luke Gazdic (F) – Great guy, bad hockey player. Wonder if he get’s a role in Goon 3. Epic beard and flow though.
Rob Klinkhammer – (D) – The Colonel couldn’t find a way to stay up with the pro team which baffles me because he was playing a very physical, hard forechecking style before getting injured. Point production part of the reason?
Nikita Niktin – (F) – Fancies LOVED this guy… Have fun in Siberia Nikita.
Anders Nilsson – (C) – One has to wonder where the Oilers might’ve ended up if not for that hot streak earlier in the year… Chia was right to move on from him.
Griffin Reinhart – (B-) – Did not start the season well at all but that last portion of the year where he was paired with Oesterle, he played his role very nicely. Gave us a taste of what he’s capable of.
Anton Slepyshev (F) – Did nothing for the Oilers after the pre-season. Did slightly better in the AHL.
Cam Talbot (A-) If not for that tough start he’d have an A+. He came through though and that’s all that matters isn’t it. When the Oilers have solid goalkeeping they’re a good team. Now we wait.
Laurent Brossoit – (D) – That glove hand… Historically for him that glove hand is his Achilles heel. Hope he can get that sorted.
Andrew Ference – (F) – Isn’t an NHL dman anymore. Hasn’t been for a season or two.
Brad Hunt (D) – What happened to that shot we were seeing in Bakersfield? Disappeared in Edmonton.
Andrew Miller (F) – Who? I can’t even remember him playing but apparently he was in for 6 games…
Chiarelli I’d give a B because he did in fact address two things with the team. Goaltending and team toughness. Adding Maroon, Talbot, and Gryba were gold in my opinion. The Reinhart deal is dodgy because the team could’ve had Kyle Connor instead. We’ll see how that might bite us in the ass next season when Connor is playing for the Jets.
McLellan I’d give a B- because he didn’t have a full roster at any point this year but he did instil structure to the team. He wasn’t afraid to call the team out in the media either. But I wasn’t a fan of how he deployed Yakupov or the defense pairs at times in the year.
So there you have it. As a whole I’d give the team a C because they found a way to stay in the game more often than not this year but when they got beat, it was pretty bad. When they won, they were outstanding wins like the game in Calgary at the beginning of the year where all 1st overalls got a goal and McDavid got four points. Even there were some losses where the fans were jacked. Like the game versus Florida where Hendricks smoked Ekblad.
So we look ahead to the lottery draft and we speculate like crazy until June 24th…