A New Decade of Darkness?
While the sky isn’t falling in Edmonton - although fans living through the decade of darkness will remember how this felt - it’s definitely feeling a little heavy. Halfway through the 2017/2018 season, the Oilers are proud owners of the following:
- worst PK in league history at home by a country mile at a solid 55.4%,
- worst away PK in the NHL at 72.7%,
- sitting in the uncomfortable but familiar spot of 13th place in the West as I write this
- 26th in the league overall
Yupp, things are not looking bright in the City of Champions, and it’s not looking good for playoffs if the team continues on this path. While I will never say a team is out of the playoffs until the math states it is impossible, going into a bye-week soon and the All-Star game, things might need a bit of a shakeup if the Oiler’s want to build some consistency and just squeak in. Chia is definitely sweating up in that booth.
Where to look?
Que the Montreal Canadiens. If you want to look at a team that had a bright future that now looks bleak, look no further than the Habs. With one of, if not the, league’s best goaltender Carey Price, a 4-time Norris candidate in Shea Weber, the team has struggled to find significant scoring over the years consistently but still managed to stay playoff contenders with goaltending and defense. As per Nick Kypreos’, (You may find a good read on this here) the team is actively shopping their current Captain Max (Patches) Pacioretty. Is there a fit for the Canadiens captain in Edmonton? Let’s take a look at what Max Pacioretty brings to the table, and how he could help this team level out and make the playoffs.
Bruised Ego, Good Player
- Credit to ESPN stats
Generally when viewing a player coming in to help with scoring, PTS is the first column to look at. After trading Jordan Eberle for Ryan Strome, the Oilers lost some offensive consistency - something they haven’t really replaced. Over the past 4 seasons, Pacioretty has scored a minimum of 60 PTS per season. On a team who is known for lack of scoring depth and struggles finding a number one center, that’s pretty amazing. I’d love to see what would happen if he was on that left side with McDavid, a center who seems to make any player better overall. His +/- is inconsistent, but having to drive a line as a left winger I don’t believe should be a thing unless we are talking about a man named Ovechkin or someone of that caliber. In 14-15 he was a +38, which seems to be really great in my eyes. He seems to be in the double digits with special team play as well each year, which could help the Oilers woeful PP. And, honestly, you can never really discount the McDavid effect - just look at Patrick Maroon.
THE BIG PICTURE
Overall, the Oilers need a leader. Pacioretty is struggling right now in Montreal, and maybe a trade to a team that needs some help but with fresh voices might help him out. The Oilers are desperate for a consistent 60+ point producer, something I believe would push them into a really big threat in terms of a scoring forward group. We would not be receiving a heavy hitter compared to the likes of Lucic, Maroon and Kassian (love this guy) but at a listed 6’2″ and 213 he’s no slouch. Let’s get real: we don’t need any more guys to push teams around when we have those three I listed. He seems to be pretty quick and able to find his scoring regardless of the players he plays with lining him up with McDavid might (would?) bring any player into a better place in terms of an overall stand point.
LET’S MAKE A DEAL!
IF Montreal does trade Max Pacioretty away, it should be the first sign that management has decided to rebuild. If Montreal is going the route of a rebuild and have become sellers they would most likely prefer a prospect and/or pick/picks. Getting another LW with a left side already overloaded with anywhere from 2nd-3rd line players, could send them someone like the likes of Jujhar Khaira or Anton Slepyshev and pick/s. With what seems to be an emergence of Jesse Puljujarvi on North American ice, could Yamamoto have played his last game in Edmonton and be moved? I would be wary with any trade involving Yamamoto, but if JP continues finding his scoring touch it does make a potential trade easier. Would the Canadiens take a combination of Kharia/Slepyshev/Caggiula + a 1st round pick in 2018? Or, do the Oilers need to look at moving one of their premium prospects like Yamamoto, Bear, etc?
In my eyes, bringing a guy like Pacioretty in would be helpful on any team looking for a little bit of scoring. He is also the captain of one of the biggest hockey markets in the League, and seems to have handled it like a grown man time and time again. With Edmonton being short on some prospect area’s the left side is and would be loaded for the foreseeable future.
Edmonton need’s to either shake things up or really hope to find their magic from last season and start on a tear. Each game gets closer to elimination and a time to look back at what we could have done or should have done.