The 8th or 7th Day of Oilers Christmas: The Definition of Patience

Busy weekends means I miss a couple opportunities to write. However, being a couple days behind on the 12 Days of Oilers Christmas is not much of an issue since I want the same things for Day 8 as I do Day 7.

On the 8th and 7th Days of Christmas, the Oilers gave to me, a prayer at either 8th or 7th in the western conference.

Most of us knew going into this season, that should the Oilers make the playoffs, they'd be barely scraping in. There wasn't much reason to look past the 8th and final playoff spot for Edmonton since the holes in the roster were glaring.

Thanks to such a weak team and major injuries to key components of the Oilers lineup, Edmonton now sits at 14th in the West and one game under .500. With only 47 games left, Edmonton would need to go something like 30-17 in their remaining games to have a legitimate shot.

Based on the injuries and play over the first 36 games, not likely is a term that comes to mind.

On the Oilers after show following Edmonton's loss to Washington, Dan Tencer was asked what he'd like to see with this team and his answer was patience. In fact, he called that the only logical response.

Tencer followed with explaining that the only way teams build a contending team is from within and through the draft and that Oiler fans should look to turn this ship around that way. Bob Stauffer followed up by suggesting the reason Edmonton's failed to do so despite missing the playoffs for consecutive seasons, is that "when the Oilers have been bad, they just haven't been bad enough to get a top five pick".

He's right, only Jason Bonsignore was drafted in the top five by Edmonton. Not exactly a stud.

So If my request for Christmas on the 8th and 7th days represents an 8th or 7th playoff spot, what would the Oilers need to do?

First, if they actually believe and agree with Tencer that building through the draft is smart, stop pretending to contend every summer and look to make the playoffs next year, not this one.

Understand that this team is a few steps away from fixing it's problems. Trading for Heatley gets you 50 goals, but it doesn't improve your team overall. Signing Nikolai Khabibulin gets you a proven goaltender, but one that maybe only steals you 5 games a year and as we've seen has injuries and age problems that come along with it.

I'm not suggesting tanking or not competing as a team night in and night out, but futile attempts to move up a few spots in the conference when you're not only a few spots away from the playoffs, moves you up only enough to not be a lottery pick.

In the end, you miss the playoffs, but you are also just good enough that the draft drops off.

Tell the fans, you expect to build through the draft, but will compete every night. Don't sign one or two medicore free agents and tell the fans you are a playoff team.

Take your lumps, get the draft pick that will help and maybe, your team in the meantime surprises and does well without adding overpriced pieces that do nothing for the real future of this team.


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