Aside from their’ push to the Stanley Cup finals in 2006, Edmonton Oilers fans have had little to cheer for in the past decade. After three seasons of getting the first overall pick in the NHL draft, you would expect that they could put together enough skill to make a playoff push. Edmonton has even experimented with coaches from all levels to see if they can make a difference when it comes to rebuilding their organization.
Dallas Eakins hired as head coach
The recent firing of head coach Ralph Krueger led to the hiring of Toronto Marlies’ head coach, Dallas Eakins. Although Eakins is a young coach, his performance at Toronto caught the eyes of several NHL teams.
With a team full of young players, like what the Oilers have, it may be very beneficial to have a head coach that is young as well and can hopefully relate to the players on a more personal level.
This is going to be the Oilers’ fifth head coach since 2008, which is never good with a team that is looking to rebuild itself. The Oilers have experimented with the famous Pat Quinn, as well as other experienced coaches. This obviously has not been working with the young players since they continue to find themselves at the bottom of the NHL when May comes around.
In order to see success from the Oilers, I think that they need to do what the Blackhawks have been doing for the past several years; beat their opponents with speed, quickness and stamina, therefore embracing the fact that they have a bench full of young bodies.
What to expect in the draft
With recent discussions on the likelihood of Nikolai Khabibulin being traded, I think this leaves the Oilers with three things to be looking for in the draft/ off-season trades:
1.) Defense. The Oilers have a fairly matured defensive roster, allowing them to acquire some younger guys who can look up to the other defenseman for guidance.
2.) Power Forwards. The Oilers should be interested in finding some power forwards that will be able to dominate the front of the net, and also be able to bring a physical presence to the offensive corners, and eventually feed the puck to players such as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, and Taylor Hall who are goal-scorers. This may be easier to find through free agency, or a trade.
3.) Goalie. They should be looking at finding a young goalie who can play behind Dubnyk for a couples years, then be able to be the franchise goalie for years to come after that.
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