The Oilers Best Start in Over 30 years

Oilers Jets Gretzky

Pinch me because I’m not really sure this is actually happening. Some have said the Oilers would improve this year, some said they might be in the playoff mix for a wildcard spot, and some have even gone as far as to say the Oilers will be a playoff team… But color me shocked, I didn’t expect the boys to come out of the gate like this, but I like it.

Just a quick note on the Heritage Classic.

These are the kinds of games the Oilers would play in the past and fold up like lawn chairs due to the kind of pressure the Jets put on them at the beginning. Not anymore.

There’s some buy in to what the coaching staff is selling and this team is finally leaning (mostly) on veterans instead of rookies. McDavid aside, the men with the experience are paying HUGE dividends right now. The team is getting its scoring from all lines, the defense is chipping in and the pillars of the roster are staying healthy.

The Jets came out guns ablaze and hit the Oilers hard but the boys from YEG didn’t flinch. They took the barrage of gunfire and body shots and countered back with great success. These Oilers look as if they can finally hold off a team when they’ve got the lead. Now whether that is due to a veteran defense or the younger players getting better or stellar goaltending, I’d have to dig in a bit more but the team is finally looking like a TEAM. Hallelujah!!

Thirty years?!! That’s insane! I was 5 years old and the Oilers were being talked about in the same vein as Bowman’s Canadiens or Arbour’s Islanders. They were a dynasty just taking shape.

Is this rendition of the Oilers a dynasty just taking shape?

I think it’s a bit foolish to start there right now but what if they make it to 10 wins and 2 losses? Do we start believing then? Should we calm the F down because Washington is coming to town or should we stay on this high because the Oilers just handled the St.Louis Blues like they were just another team in the West?

It is hard not to get excited right? Connor and the boys are making for some exciting times in the YEG with this start. The roster is working so well together that you have to wonder if Chiarelli is a mad genius… Would Edmonton be 5-1-0 with Hall and Yakupov in the roster and sans Lucic and Larsson?

Hall has yet to score a 5×5 goal in New Jersey but I believe there are people out there that reckon he’ll do more for the Devils than Larsson will do for the Oilers. I respectfully disagree and this is why:

  • Unless Hall gets traded again, he’ll never play with the amount of talent he played with in Edmonton ever again. He WAS the man in Edmonton and had an embarrassing amount of offensive support around him but unfortunately didn’t have the defensive support. So he is basically back to square one in New Jersey.
  • He might lead the Devils in scoring but it’s likely he won’t hit the statistical highs that he’s being touted to hit.
  • Larsson has been THE MAN since the season started in Edmonton. I’ll defer to G-Money’s blog for the following quotes (Click the links to head to the blog):
    • G1 – “Similarly, Klefbom and Larsson were solid, but ended with poor numbers. The danger adjusted numbers tell the story: they were both positive on the night. So a lot of those outside shots probably were against the bulletproof KlefLar.  Checking the head to head, Larsson was hard matched against Johnny Cocky, so that’s a real shutdown result. That’s exactly what Larsson’s numbers in New Jersey suggested he would bring.  Keep it up!”
    • G2 – “Larsson is a guy that shows a consistent reduction in shot quality against.”
    • G5 – “You *have* to check out the rink map of shots against Klefbom and Larsson. Unbelievable. And they were matched against the Tarasenko line.”
      klefbom/larsson effect
    • G6 – “Klefbom and Larsson were masterful defensively (once again – check out the rink map).”
      larsson/klefbom effect
  • The name of the game is defense folks and Adam Larsson is doing his job in a masterful manner.

Now I would spit out some stats for you but I’m on a kick with the hockey buzzword of the year so far, #SmallSampleSize. So the whole Hall vs. Larsson comparison could very well be a hypocritical approach to it given we’re all of 6 games into the year. But I’ve watched the Devils games because I’m curious to see how Hall is doing on that team and he’s been really entertaining apart from not scoring 5×5. He’s a very dynamic hockey player and I’ll never take that away from him. Is he in the top 5 for left wings in the NHL… I’ll debate that.

I will say this with some confidence, I believe the trade will go down in history as slanted towards the Oilers when all is said and done.

Chiarelli is the GM of the best team in the league right now but an idiot he might be for clearing out the two biggest distractions in the dressing room. Hell, you could say the three biggest distractions if you include Justin Schultz.

Now as for Nail Yakupov, boy has he got his mojo back eh? He’s flying out there for the Blues. Good for him, the better he does for St.Louis, the better the draft pick Edmonton gets. And don’t sit there and tell me that Chiarelli is an idiot for getting what he did. Everybody who follows hockey knows that Chiarelli was shopping him hard for a 3rd round pick at the draft and even then nobody would bite. That value dropped to a 5th rounder in training camp. So how exactly did he mismanage that deal? As it looks right now, he’s going to get more than he ever dreamed of getting for him and now Yakupov is Doug Armstrong’s headache to sort out in the offseason.

Those are some nice positive sentiments eh? Surely this gentleman is a season ticket holder for the gretzky messier oilersOilers. 

BOLD prediction alert! A second rounder who is unlikely to score 15 in his ENTIRE career… It’s always possible but I imagine it’s just as possible as the Oilers drafting a 3rd rounder who turns into the 2nd highest scorer in NHL history… —->>>

But what about trading for someone who stops 15 goals? It’s a novel approach. Groundbreaking perhaps.

GOAL COUNT (as of 10/24/2016)

Tyler Pitlick: 3
Taylor Hall: 3 (zero 5×5)
Nail Yakupov: 2
Zack Kassian: 2

Tyler Pitlick is a 4th line grinder who averages about 8 or so minutes a game and Zack Kassian is a middle-six tweener, yet here they are equalling the production of two 1st overall picks… #SmallSampleSize

What are Hall’s and Yakupov’s excuses?

It doesn’t matter what they are! Look at the amazing team in front of you and bask in its wonderment.

I can’t really stand the Oilers fans who’d rather pump the tires of the players going out than the ones on the team they cheer for. And criticizing each and every move the Oilers make must be exhausting. I don’t believe they really know how lucky they are to actually have a team in Edmonton right now. Get in touch with Les Alexander if you don’t believe me. (Link)

I really want to hop on this train called “Playoffs” so bad but I’m afraid if I do, the Oilers might revert back or someone of some importance on the team might get hurt. So I’m going to temper my expectations right now and enjoy the games one at a time.

And therein lies the key component to loving your team. You cannot do it unless you enjoy watching it. So do that Oilers fans. Enjoy every second of Connor McDavid blitzkrieg-ing the opposing defenses with his speed and puck handling. Enjoy each and every licking that Milan Lucic lays on the other team. Enjoy how long it takes Jordan Eberle to dust off the puck when he shoots. Take it all in when Adam Larsson wallpapers the other team’s winger or scoots himself out of trouble in his own end. Soak it up when Cam Talbot saves the Oilers asses when they’re playing poorly. Love it when Letestu scores on a breakaway, Pitlick scores a goal but pays the price to do so, or when Kris Russell blocks another shot.

Enjoy the team because this could very well be the beginning of something magical.

Click on the pic and grab a new 16-bit Fighting Looch tee!
Click on the pic and grab a new 16-bit Fighting Looch tee!


Beer League Hero Written by:

I’m the Beer League Hero! I am from Camrose, Alberta but I make my home in Taipei City, Taiwan. I’ve been through the ups and downs and the highs and the Lowes, the Bonsignores and the McDavids, the Sathers and the Eakins but I’ll never leave my Oilers, no matter what!

They’re with me until the end and then some. GO OILERS GO!