Friday, 27 September 2013

Lack of center depth = lack of playoff spot


 
Courtesy the Hockey Fanatic
 
Take your favourite NHL team, take ANY NHL team and remove the top two centers. OK, now, what are that teams chances of winning? Not very good. PERIOD. Now, take the Edmonton Oilers as exhibit A of a team with this very problem. Add in that they have finished 30, 30, 29, and 24th in the last four years and you compound the issue. 

New GM Craig MacTavish has done by most standards a great job. The mountain that was the off- season was a steep climb with to many items needing attention. Most holes were plugged (or seemed to have been plugged) with exception of one...a big one. Short of losing both of your goalies, this is the worst possible news. (ok losing Taylor Hall would probably be worse but work with me here please)



The Sam Gagner injury was a result of a stupid, bone-headed, reckless play and could not have been predicted. The Ryan Nugent-Hopkins injury is and was completely predictable, and WAS NOT accounted for. Moving Hall to center in the end may end up being a great move long term for the club, but it should not be seen as anything other than a gamble at this point. Playoff teams do not have to rely on a gamble to be successful.

 

This is a new blog and most of you will be new to me so lets get this covered now. We will not live in hindsight. Calls and predictions will be made, but I will never rip a team for a move that didn't work out when I agreed with it at the time. This club should have added a Grabovski type of player (or Grabovski). A true option at center, not hope and prayers. Maybe Mark Arcobello and Will Acton can carry the mail for a month or two and stem the tide. History tells me that they won't. Hopefully for the sake of new head coach Dallas Eakins I'm wrong. My prediction - The Oilers dig a big hole that they can't get out of and miss the playoff by 6-8 points.

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