The Oilers Must Want Taylor Hall Just a Little Bit More...

It was a Western Conference battle between two teams that are looking at being strong favorites for lottery picks come this years NHL entry draft.

The Blue Jackets have won now just four games in their last 25 starts, their latest victory on Thursday over Edmonton being one of them. The Oilers have now lost eleven of their last twelve.

It's a pretty safe bet, that both GM's had a strong interest in how Taylor Hall performed at the World Juniors.

Thursday's win gives the Jackets still little to be excited about. Just beating a lowly Edmonton Oilers team and moving two points further in a very difficult conference isn't going to set their ships sailing. The game might have meant the most to Ken Hitchcock, who may have saved his job just a little while longer after rumors were he was looked as the next NHL coaching casualty.

Meanwhile, the Oilers will now take to a four day mini-camp to re-evaluate their situation. This is also going to be a four day meeting session between management and scouts to see which direction this team should go moving forward.

The Oilers will never come forward publicly with a plan, but subtle moves, or non-moves as it may go, should tell fans a lot about what to expect the rest of the year.

Do the Oilers make a move for a stronger presence in goal? Perhaps, but I contend only if it means successfully being able to move a contract the Oilers would like to get rid of.

Do the Oilers try to dump a few contracts now? My guess is not likely, unless someone comes knocking prior to the trade deadline. Only in that case, could Edmonton possibly obtain fair value for whatever is going the other way.

To me, it seems the only logical move is to quietly make the best push to win games that you can for the fans and the sale of future tickets, but to at the same time increase your odds of guaranteeing your spot in the draft.

There are three ways to do so.

1) Lose hockey games without changing a thing. With still half a season left, the Oilers could (not likely) turn it around. Their decimated with injuries and even without them are slightly better than what they seem to be producing now, but the team still puts forth the effort, and could squeak out a few wins, but it's likely just not enough.

2) Lose hockey games by relieving yourself of some of the pieces that will be attractive to other teams. Could you move Staios, Moreau, Pisani, Souray, Horcoff or someone with some cache to a playoff team? At any time it becomes available, make the move. Some like Horcoff and Souray may be tougher sells, but injuries to key players on contending teams could play a part.

3) Trade for a better draft position and try to improve your position in the standings now. This means getting improved goaltending, moving for a smaller trades that fill holes and talking to teams like the Boston Bruins who have a number of picks at this years draft and one really good one considering where Toronto is bound to end up.

I'm of the stance we go somewhere in between 1 and 2. The Oilers currently sit 29th in the NHL. It's likely not going to be stretch for them to stay there. That said no one really wants their team to lose.


What would you do?



2 comments:

I say we continue losing and trade someone to Boston to get Toronto's 1st Rd Pick in 2010. Then we possibly have 2 top 3 picks.

Anonymous
January 9, 2010 at 5:17 PM comment-delete

I am an Oilers Fan even if others say I am not. I will never cheer for another team. We are in 5th place for the highest paid team in the league and #1 with the least to show for it! I can live with this for now because the oilers give me hope. The hope is that all contracts eventually end and that the past will be forgotten. The time we have now is really great experience for our goal tenders as we edge closer to Taylor Hall;) Let's face it the only super stars the Edmonton Oilers will ever have again our future stars. A 3 or 4 year drought will pay aces later on.

Anonymous
January 20, 2010 at 6:51 PM comment-delete

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