How Not to Rebuild: Edmonton Oilers Edition

Now that we’re in a veritable rebuild I thought it would be fun to take a look at some cautionary tales, teams that have attempted to rebuild and failed, in order to determine what went wrong and how the Rangers should avoid making those some mistakes (all this of course, with the idea of Gorton or someone high up in the Rangers’ front office is reading this, because there’s a non-zero chance of that happening). This is going to be something I try and stick to, because I’d like to be able to really give some time and thought to why and how exactly teams have blown it in blowing it up. With all of that said there really is no better candidate for a cautionary tale deep dive than the Edmonton Oilers.

The Oilers have been rebuilding now for more or less a decade, depending on when you consider the rebuild to have started. A good trail marker along the mountain trek that is the Oilers rebuild is the Ryan Smyth trade: they gave up a heart and soul player, someone who had set records and given his all to the team through some very successful years (including a run to the Stanley Cup Final that ended in heartbreak at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes), all for Ryan O’Marra, Robert Nilsson, and a first round pick that they’d use to select Alex Plante. This break with the previous era came shortly after the Oilers traded another mainstay in Chris Pronger, who brought back Joffrey Lupul, Ladislav Smid, and three draft picks (the draft picks ended up going to various other places in exchange for various other pieces, the details of which can be found here).

In any event, whether you consider it to be the larger haul of the Pronger trade or the spiritual break with the past of Ryan Smyth, they began to try and turn things around circa 2006. There were a lot of potholes on the road back to relevancy however, and I’m not going to bore you with details that can be found readily on wikipedia. I’m not even going to really get into the first rebuild the Oilers attempted because it’s distant history and, in any event, didn’t do the trick. What I’m trying to say here is that it’s been a while, and it still hasn’t really worked out.

The middle of the Oilers rebuild sandwich is the Taylor Hall era, which started when they won the 2010 draft lottery and selected one of the most prolific scorers in the NHL since then (if you’re doubting me on this and don’t care to look up the numbers, just watch the Devils for something like five minutes). This was Steve Tambellini and Craig MacTavish’s heyday with the Oilers, when as general manager they selected Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov with the next two first overall picks, Darnell Nurse with the 7th overall in 2013, Leon Draisatl with the 3rd overall in 2014, and of course, Connor McDavid with the first overall in 2015. There’s plenty of other players they could have selected in 2011 or 2012 who we know now would have turned out better, but hindsight is 50/50 so I’m not going to fault the Oilers there. What is pretty suspect is how their other draft picks since then have faired.

In 2010 they selected 10 players other than Taylor Hall, 3 of whom turned into NHLers – Tyler Pitlick, Martin Marincin, and Brandon Davison, whose 436 combined NHL games played is far less than Hall’s 513. Without even getting into points scored and other contributions to the team, 2010 was not a great draft for the Oilers. 2011 wasn’t much better, because outside of RNH the only two draft picks that panned out for them were Oscar Klefbom and Tobias Rieder, the latter of whom is no longer with the team and has 112 points in 297 NHL games. The next year, 2012, was the year of Nail Yakupov, who again we have the benefit of hindsight, but out of the 6 other players who they selected only Jujhar Khaira and Erik Gustafsson made it to the NHL, each with less than 100 games played and between the two of them only 40 points total.

In 2013 their highest pick was Darnell Nurse at 7th overall, with their only other NHLer from that draft being Anton Slepyshev, he of 21 points in 86 games (I’m not going to hammer them too hard on this draft because there wasn’t a lot of mind-blowing talent available, but I will note that our very own Pavel Buchnevich went 75th that year). The Oilers’ only NHLers from 2014, 2015, and 2016 are Draisatl, McDavid, and Jesse Puljujarvi. This past year’s highlight is Kailer Yamamoto and a bunch of guys who I’m not qualified to talk about and in any event aren’t ready yet.

The bottom line here is that the Oilers were abysmal in terms of draft selections since winning the 2010 lottery and embarking on the sequel to their first rebuild, which turned into Oil Change 3.0 with the drafting of Connor McDavid and the change over to GM Peter Chiarelli and coach Todd McLellan. So much of rebuilding a team is restocking the farm with players who you can develop into successful NHL players, either for your own roster or for trading to other teams in an attempt to add top-level talent to your team.

So on that note, let’s talk trades. Since taking over in 2015, Peter Chiarelli has put his mark on the Edmonton Oilers as far as boneheaded trades go, and when you realize that this is the guy who traded away Phil Kessel and Tyler Seguin it all makes sense. The Oilers full trade history can be found here but here’s a couple of highlights: Griffin Reinhart from the Islanders for the Oilers’ 1st and 2nd round picks, Cam Talbot for a 2nd and a 3rd, a 4th round pick from Toronto for Martin Marincin and Brad Ross, Eric Gryba for Travis Ewanyk and a 4th, Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson, Nail Yakupov for Zach Pochiro and a conditional 3rd, and the most recent Chiarelli special, Jordan Eberle for Ryan Strome.

The biggest ones here are Hall and Eberle, and here’s the problem with both of these trades: the Oilers are still looking for a true top defenseman, and find themselves at a loss when trying to find the perfect partner for Connor McDavid. Add in the fact that they signed Milan Lucic for $6m every season through 2022-23, as well as Kris Russel for $4m until the end of the 2020-21 season, and things are looking pretty bleak. It may be time for another rebuild if not this year then next, given that they’re in 26th place right now. When you consider that the Oilers have only made the playoffs once since embarking on three successive rebuilds 12 years ago, they’re more or less a study in what not to do. So what have we learned?

A few things can be gleaned from the Oilers wandering stumble back into (maybe, probably not) relevancy. The first, and this is very basic but easier said than done, is that you have to draft well. With the Oilers we’ve seen them have countless high picks, including the future of the league in Connor McDavid, and despite the talent they’ve taken they’ve almost totally squandered their opportunity to put together a solid supporting case. Hell, even some of the high picks they had could have been used more effectively, but again we have the benefit of hindsight here. You can have the best player in the world on your team, and even a couple of very good ones (emphasis on “a couple”), but if you don’t put together the rest of the team around that player then you’ll be slightly better than the worst in the league.

Next we’ve got another bit of wisdom that may as well come out of a fortune cookie: make good trades. The Oilers have made a bad habit of turning something into nothing over the years, going back before Chiarelli but continuing pretty consistently since he took over. The bad free agent signings are just the icing on the cake, because in addition to already dedicating (rightfully so) a ton of money to Draisatl and McDavid, they’ve got Lucic gumming up the gears and Russel’s contract just kind of there.

All of these are areas that I think the Rangers are at very least, average in. They may not be the best at the draft, but it’s important to remember that we haven’t had all that many picks these past several years, and they’ve made them count when they do have them. This draft we’ll have a ton to work with, and that’s before we even consider the possibility of trading up or down the board. It’d certainly be hard to draft as aimlessly as the Oilers have over the years, and I place a lot of faith in Gorton and more importantly Gordie Clark to know what they’re doing. They’ve certainly knocked it out of the park with what they’ve chosen, with the list of NHLers selected by the Rangers in just the past few seasons being far longer than the Oilers’ respective track record over the course of 12 years.

As far as making good trades, well, opinions seem divided. I personally think the Rangers have done just fine dealing with other teams, but it is true the Rangers haven’t totally fleeced anyone in term of making one huge, team altering trade. We’re looking for Gorton to show his killer instinct on the trade market for sure, but I think what we’ve seen of him so far has been at minimum pretty good.

The last bit about not making any dumb free agent signings I think Gorton knows about, because the large contracts we have on the books have already hamstrung the team enough that he’s surely aware of the need to open up space for future roster players. No team with Marc Staal on their salary cap while entering a rebuild could possibly think signing a big name free agent is a good idea. Expect for Kevin Shattenkirk to be the last UFA the Rangers sign for quite a while, save for a one or two year deal to someone like Nash or Kovalchuk (Grabner, Tavares, or Karlsson are well out of the picture here, so don’t hold your breath). There’s simply no way a guy with 7 picks in the first three rounds of the next draft would clog up the pipeline with huge, long-term contracts (at least I hope).

So there we have it, three easy prescriptions for the Rangers in their rebuild. It’s all just so easy: draft right, trade right, and manage your salary cap right. These quick fixes can help a team avoid the predicament of the Edmonton Oilers, who despite having a truly generational talent on the roster seem primed for years of poor results. Stay tuned for more content like this, where I take a look at other failed rebuilds and make recommendations as to what to do or not do. Jeff, if you’re reading this, you’re welcome.

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  • Oilers have the best player in the league and a HOF goalie, so what’s the problem?

    That Hall deal was a Chiarelli special. That’s why I hold out tremendous hope that he trades us Draisaitl. Yes, he is dumb enough to do it.

      • I would drive them to the airport.

        Pipe dream on my part, admittedly. Sounds like Tavares is more realistic.

      • See it’s trades or stupidness like this that has resulted in one cup in 75 plus years. Hayes alone will produce Draisatl numbers and at less money. The Rangers have done a great job in phase one of the rebuild. Phase two comes draft day. If the number one pick isn’t in play at a fair price stay put. Trust the scouting team because it’s now in their hands. It’s a youth movement plus skill, skating and toughness. Toughness meaning players that are hard to play against. Messier was hard to play against as was Graves and Leetch. No Goons just guys who can put the puck in the net and you in the boards. Hold on to the picks draft smart trust the process. Yes AV has to go.

      • Glad you’re not the GM David because that is highway robbery on Edmonton’s part. I mean I really really like Draisaitl but let’s be blunt here, he plays with Connor McDavid a lot. I don’t see evidence that he can drive the bus just yet and if I’m trading a haul of picks, a real intriguing prospect like Day and 2 Top 6/Top 9 roster players then I want more.

        • Day is not NHL caliber, 2nd rd pick no big loss, TB conditional at best very late 1st rounder in lousy year. So Hayes & Spooner no major sacrifice for one of best forwards in NHL, who can play either center or wing with elite ability.

          • Day is an interesting prospect. I think his head skills will never catch up to his body skills but I would wary of writing him off … and those picks you so cavalierly want to give up, well that’s what got us in this mess in this first place. Then you go and give them 2 roster players both capable of scoring 50+ points — sounds to me like the recipe for failure when we obtained Nash. We added the better player, but we gutted our depth. As good as Draisitl may be, he’s played for the most part with McDavid … I would say the jury is still somewhat out on whether Draisaitl can drive the play at an ELITE level and I would worry if he came here and we placed that pressure on him.

      • It’s trades,bad scouting and ridiculous talk like that which has brought one cup in 75 plus years. Hayes and spooner alone will out produce Draisaitl. The picks if done right bring quality depth. Which is what the oilers lack. Draisaitl isn’t even a generational player. Again Hayes and Spooner will produce for less money. Sean Day will be a player in the NHL.

        The Rangers must be smart with their drafting it’s key to not miss on picks.if the number one pick isn’t in play at a reasonable price. Keep the picks and work your draft board. Please stay away from trading for a high priced vet thinking where back in the game. It’s a rebuilding process so stick with it until the players develop.

        One other thing AV must go.

    • I think Ryan Nuegent Hopkins is the one to go

      Pretty sure they’ll trade him possibly at the draft…there are going to be a ton of trade proposals in this draft for picks in rounds 1 and 2….mark my words

      Rangers in my opinion have to get another 1st and 2nd round pick in the coming draft….these kinds of drafts don’t come around often

      • I don’t want Hopkins.

        The only player left that can even draw a #1 is Zuc, and probably lower #1. Unless you’re packaging Namer and/or Spooner.

        Rangers need a top end #1 C and another top 4 D man or the rest of this is a clusterf–k.

  • Hockey is a team sport. A couple of big name superstars is not enough to win, if the rest of the team is crap. McDavid can’t win every game on his own nor can Henrik Lundqvist.

    Great hockey teams win championships. They are a sum of parts all working together for a common goal. A squad of a indivuals who just play for themselves, will never be successful. Thats hockey.

  • One big problem too with the Oilers was they drafted name…best available. They didn’t address the team. Then they got impatient and panicked a little bit.
    They also overpaid all their young picks.
    All these young kids….I am sure egos clashed and once McDavid came into the fold the management became overwhelmed with who they were.
    Let’s face it, McDavid was and is going to be the face of the Oilers and their window is just beginning.
    Now is the time for them to build their team….say they get to select #2, they don’t need Zadina, they need Bovquist. You can pick Zadina but then you have to go look for your Boqvist which in turn costs you….So why not just pick Bovquist?

    I wrote about this a couple of threads ago….mentioned the Islanders too….the biggest learn for the Rangers is not to go down the path of the Oiler rebuild.

    Alas as I speak, the Rangers are sabotaging their rebuild, so maybe it won’t matter. There is a process. This draft would have netted you your elite and depth but now it looks like It’ll be depth.

    Should Rangers go the Merkley, Ty Smith Akil Thomas route instead of Bode Wilde, Barrett Hayton, Rasmus Kupari, Ty Dellandrea route…..then the opportunity presented as we are trending will be wasted.

    What we just are about to lose was a better chance at Dahlin/Zadina….better chance and probable odds at Wahlstrom. This in my opinion was/is a huge mistake because if you add in another draft with a shot at Jack hughes, Nolan Foote, Alex Vlasic in a much less talented draft….then what are you ultimately achieving? I can not stress how important THIS draft is. You can draft for need and still get an elite prospect (Wahlstrom) vs next years draft where you don’t get #1 and say draft 10…to draft for best available and not really build on the depth

        • I hope so too.Thought we were in Tank mode but that changed the past 3 games.Yet the 3 teams we played are kinda in Tank mode so maybe they tanked and we fell for it?We’ll see this week.Everyone we play is sitting right there or a head a bit.Florida looks good and sitting pretty with 3-4 games in hand.

  • Gordie Clark and his team are really good at finding supporting players. The Ty Ronnings of the league. The Jesper Fast of the leagues. Nothing spectacular about them but good in everything that they do. Their achilles heel is finding the elite gem hiding within the draft. Or raising one. I think with Renney the franchise learned alot about how to nurture prospects to get the most out of them. I think MciIrath was the last of those attempts to find a elite talent in the lower half of the first round. Now they just pick the secure players like Andersson just to have a product. And hope he becomes the elite gem in the draft.

    With the oilers example I think one major factor you are leaving out is their ability to pay or keep star players. It is a small market franchise with a hell of alot of hockey history. But the Gretzky’s and Messiers didn’t leave the franchise cause the oilers were paying them the best salary and they were getting the best ad revenue in their days pre salary cap era. Just think were the most of those players ended up after all the fun in Edmonton was had. They all either went to LA or to the Rangers. Not one of them went to a small market team like the Hartford Whalers.

    You want to focus on a failing franchise that is in a lot of ways is like the Rangers …i will suggest Toronto. They are very large market team with all the money in the world to be had but have continually done just as good if not worse then the Rangers. I think they both have figured it out. Draft well with the picks you have. Find supporting cast deep down in the drafts and pay high priced picks for the elite when you are ready to win it all…..oh wait no that is what the Rangers did unsuccessfully these last 5 years. Joking.

    Honestly Gorton has figured it out. Get your supporting cast and try your best to find a way to get the generational player otherwise you can’t win it all. You need someone to lead the team. Someone who is not a goalie. Someone who’s work ethics, competitive nature, and unyeilding drive for success push everyone to the next level. And on top of all of that everyone has to believe they can do it.

    Lets be honest…Messier guaranteed a victory and then went out on the ice and did it himself. How the hell do you look at him the next day and not realize you can win it all? He didn’t leave anyone a question in their minds. And luck whether anyone wants to believe it is a large part of hockey. And luck is a combination of hard work and timing and honestly…the Rangers of 2013-14 where good enough. Just didn’t have the luck. Didn’t have that game changing series changing moment. And I let you decide why that is …I know my reason.

    We need a leader. Plain and simple.

    We need a Messier, A Toews, A Crosby, A Namath, A Troy Aikman, A Messi, a Reggie Jackson, just someone who with a combination of skill and natural talent can make the difference out there when it is time. Not a guy who consistently makes a average team better, but a guy who makes them great. I know it has been a long while for most of you, but watch the highlights of that series against the Kings…were the Kings really that much better then us to take us out in 5 games? Is dustin Brown really that good? I dont think so.

    • One key element you failed to mention was behind the bench playing his fav’s, exposing one Dan Girardi as a slow footed player who couldn’t stick handle, and lost board battles. Who was that masked man behind the bench, oh Clarabelle the baboon. The gum chewing fool couldn’t, or wouldn’t make any adjustments, and LA sat back and let the Rangers play right into their hands. Your other points seem to be right on target though!!

      • I get it you don’t like him. LOL that is a mild understatement for sure. But as we have come to conclude through countless discussions on here …who is better then him? We know this franchise and we know how they will hire another good ole boy or put Ruff in place of him. Is that really the best move for this franchise?

        We have seen how they have handle these things in the past 30 years. If coach Q becomes available by all means I am up for his tenure. But I can almost guarantee AV will replace coach Q. in Chicago as soon as we do that. Tippet is not going anywhere. So what is left? Not once has anyone on here come up with a solid suggestion for a replacement to AV. Everyone who is good is employed at the moment. And no way this front office and ownership sign off on an unknown entity with little to no track record on the professional level.

        And in my humblest opinion…coaches really don’t make that big of a difference in hockey. Do you really think Sullivan is the reason the penguins went from a 1st round exiters to a potential 3 time cup champion? Is he really doing something so different from AV or for that matter everyone else in the league? Or is it his talent pool of players that make the difference between when he was here under torts and now on his own with the pens?

        Walt we all get you hate him. But if you hate him so much come up with a solid replacement idea. Not just the standard we need to fire him cause he sucks.

        I like him because he has a system in place that is different from the majority of the NHL good ole boys. I like him cause in 15 yrs of coaching he has been to 2 stanley cup finals. Trots has been around for 19 seasons and has not made it past the 2 round. I like him cause he seems to be an effective coach (.593 win %) .and knows to leave the players to themselves. (It has been stated he hasn’t lost the room) Your only leg to stand on with getting him fired is his lack of in game adjustments and his lack of experience with youth.

        99% of the season and playoffs that year G and Mac were shut down guys …that is not why we lost in 5 games. We lost cause we honestly didn’t get the breaks that the kings did. We didn’t have a player like nash simply take over the game and score 2 or 3 goals like brown did in game 3. We did not have that guy who when you really needed it could bury that double ot winner! How many posts did we hit that double ot game? Those are the breaks. A coach has nothing to do with posts. Or soft goals let in at bad times. That is just luck.

        • At the top of my head, a name I mentioned earlier on another tread today, John Paddock. Has been a head coach with a couple of NHL teams, worked for this organization in the past, develops kids, and is a solid teacher of playing defense properly.

          As for AV system, you have got to be kidding, just watch the defense play helter skelter, running around like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off. We went thru a few defensive coaches, with the same results. What team gets some 40 shots on goal for some 10 games in a row, and expect to win? That is what his so called system is all about, and it’s for the trash heap.

          Sullivan made one hell of a difference, that is he brought up kids from Wilkes-Barre, replaced his immobile defense with fresh legs, got rid of the relics, and let the kids run wild. He didn’t win one cup, he has two, and a very good shot at three.

          As for adjustments, I was watching a game, said to my son, why is Hank always trying to get the puck out of the zone to his left. Not more than two minutes later P McGuire said the same thing. In the intermission, someone must have told AV about this, and finally Hank went to the other side, while a LA King was waiting at the half board waiting for a steal, which didn’t come because they finally made an adjustment.

          Dan Girardi isn’t as bad as we made him to be, under another system, like Tampa’s, not in AV’s because he has zero foot speed, and they attacked him the entire series.

          Defend this clown all you want, he can go to the Hawks if they are stupid enough to hire him. Hell, I’ll take him there myself, just to get the dong out of town!

          • Walt, Girardi is barely playing in TB. He’s only getting 17 minutes a game, on average and 2:30 of that 17 minutes is on the PK. That’s a third pair D, PK specialist.

            Girardi hasn’t been rejuvenated in TB, he’s just not getting paid like a top pair D so TB shelters him on the bottom pair.

          • Chris

            You make my point for me. AV playing his favorites, one calls him out and points to a major reason we may have lost the cup, and people get upset. Dan was exposed by the Kings, took advantage of him the entire series, and no adjustments made, but Dan was still used as a #1 pair d-man.

            We buy him out, many pointed to the fact he was signed by Tampa, and that he was still a good player. Again blinded by loyalty, and hate anyone who dares to point out his faults. He plays for the Lightning as a 3rd pair guy, limited minutes, and is functional. The system employed by them doesn’t require Dan to do as much skating as he was asked to do under the AV system, so he is capable of giving 10 minutes a game.

            Bottom line, the system employed by us requires good skating, quick reactions, good stick control, speed, all of which Girardi lost, if he ever had any, and I’m made to be a horses ass for pointing it out. It’s time to laugh at some peoples reaction………

  • I agree…..Were MDZ and Sanguenetti Clark choices? I think they were….huge wiffs there and sadly McIlrath too…..I wanted McIlrath too to be honest but also wanted Bjugstad too…..I totally wiffed myself on Vladimir Tasarenko

    Speaking of St Louis….they are very eerily similar in how they operate as a hockey club to us….I want to get away from this

    • Look JD has been around hockey for a long time and a I mean a really long time. Anyone who can go from the tv booth to being a franchise’s GM has to know a thing or 2. Not only that but he has turned 2 franchises around in his time with either.

      But hockey unlike any other sport is more affected by luck on any given night. The one clear example of this that I always will remember was that non goal against quick back in like 2013 or maybe 14 but the shot was a past him but it hit a rut in the ice right in front of the goal line and bounced out …like some ghost was there stopping it. It was freakish. The odds of that are greater then getting struck by lightning. The saying pinged off the post is a saying in hockey for a reason. Cause 1 inch the other way and it is in. How many posts have these guys like nash, krieder, stepan, mack hit over the years? I believe that is a by product of not believing in yourselves. Not willing the puck into the net.

    • Also leather …realize that draft picks really are a crap shoot. You can go to any franchise’s picks in the draft and find tons of MDZ’s and Sanguenetti’s …it is luck of the draw. No one saw Tasarenko for what he became, just St. louis saw some talent and took a shot. As I have stated since the 70’s the 1st pick overall has a 70% success rate of just making it to the NHL. Let alone be that generational gem like McDavid, Crosby.

      It is a pure crap shoot.

    • Actually no, Gordie Clarke was not in a position of real power when MDZ and Sanguinetti were drafted … besides, MDZ for all his issues has played almost 550 NHL games. You look at the 2008 draft year and there were quite a few failures and quite a few players that under-performed their draft position. He was taken #20 and hasn’t had that bad a career for himself. So he wasn’t the next coming of Brian Leetch, very very very few are.

        • He’s been around since 2002-3 … in any event, if he’s responsible for drafting MDZ and Sanguinetti, then he’s also responsible for drafting Marc Staal, Michael Sauer (such a shame), Carl Hagelin, Del Zotto, Stepan and Anisimov. Add Cheraponov (RIP), Fast … he’s responsible for signing Girardi as a FA, Cam Talbot, … he’s responsible for scouting McD, etc. etc. The point is, drafting is more of an art than a science … you win a few but you lose even more. Bottom line, did they produce a good product from the lockout till last year? Clearly yes.

  • The Rangers will likely assess what they have and need going forward as a team at the draft. They will, no doubt select the best players available with their first round picks.

    With the few and far inbetween draft pick the Ranger scouting team has had in recent years, I think they have made the most of it. I have confidence that they will bring the franchise some good young talent to work with.

    • Would agree with you here—in recent years players like Kreider, Skjei, Miller, etc have been decent-to-good pros. Add in departed players like Sauer, Dubinsky, Tyutin, and Hagelin and it’s clear they’ve drafted pretty well from 2nd line on down thru the lineup. They’ve targeted good undrafted players like Cam Talbot and Dan Girardi. Even lesser guys like Del Zotto and Dale Weise have had long NHL careers as NHL journeymen. Guys like Buchnevich give reason to believe the scouts can still find useful players.

      I’m choosing to be optimistic, that Gorton armed with a bunch of picks is going to be a dangerous GM—in a good way for NYR of course.

  • One constant is the lack of defense. None of the Oilers trades or drafts secured a top pair defenseman. They need a competent top 4 defense that can hold a lead and help allow their young star forwards to breakout.

    • Constant no defense but also no supporting cast all around. You can have all the Crosby’s and Malkins in the world but if you don’t have depth around them …you will lose. Til the Pens got hagelin and brought up the kids like rust it was a 1 line team that could be shut down by the dubinsky’s of the NHL. All the times we beat them in the playoffs…all we had to do was shut down crosby and wait for malkin to dog it and poof we had a goal.

      edmonton did good last year despite no defense because they had scoring depth and put teams on their heels with their 1st line through 3rd. Now they are just 1 line deep and that is not hard to stop them. We just did it with Staal. McDavid was held shot less in the first and staal was out every shift he was. As time went on in the game edmonton’s coach realized he needed to double shift him to get better match ups.

  • The Rangers can rebuild all they want. Unless a stud forward and defenseman somehow make it to Broadway, the Rangers won’t win.

  • How do you reconcile the Rangers’ need to have the highest draft pick possible and trying to lose as often as possible for the rest of the season with maintaining the integrity of the game? Do teams tank for better draft position?

  • Look at the (I hate to say it) Penguins, and the Black Hawks. A few truly elite players (Kane and Toewes, Crosby and Malkin, providing punch down the center), who eat up a big chunk of the cap, and a couple of good defensemen, surrounded by a rotating cast of pretty good players who come and go as dictated by the confines of the cap, and a good farm system that can feed in new blood as needed.

  • If he rangers pick falls out of the top 7 which they are on the way to doing with the play on this road trip I think they need to put together a package whether it be 1’s and 2′ or players (zuc) to move near the top of the draft.

    • It would shock me if they win anymore games. The rest of the opponents down the line are all playing for playoff position and have a purpose. We beat the Canucks, Flames, and Oilers. Not exactly high caliber long run playoff teams there. 2 of them are tanking to get higher seating in the draft.

  • The Oilers always went for the marquee name, be it Hopkins, Yak, Hakll, Mac Jesus, Nurse. They never did their do diligence, drafting for need, and have played pond hockey it seems since Wayne left them. I’ll say this about Nurse, him I’d take in a heart beat.

    There is another factor coming into play in the north country, too many ex-Oilers running the show. What happens when one inbreeds, the by product is usually defective. MacTavish, Lowe, Mess, with all these successful players, they may have been poor judges of talent. Add to that that they play in the tundra, and life is so dull, a small town community that is hockey smart. Could there be too much pressure? Given a shot, many players like the bright lights, night life, good restaurants, all lacking up there, and they run ASAP.

    I believe we have a talented scouting department, who value the picks, and will for the first time that I can remember, be able to show their talent. At the end of June, we as fans will have an opportunity to evaluate what the organization did, lets hope it’s not a fumble!!!!

    • It’s probably Shesterkin actually … and they have a few other prospects that look pretty decent, like Wall and Huska (but they are both probably 2 years away from even turning pro).

    • He is not the future. He’s been good in 3 games. Rangers fans get way too excited once a back up plays well once or twice. Shesty is the future. And it doesn’t matter, until they improve the defense.

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