Back in the early 2010s, I had a lot of optimism about how the NHL would look by the next decade. The Canucks were going to be fully through a Stanley Cup dynasty, the league was finally going to let the Phoenix Coyotes move to Quebec City, and the Edmonton Oilers were going to be a pretty good hockey team led by Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
While being a Vancouverite might dictate that you can’t want any success for the Oilers, as an objective hockey fan I always hoped Edmonton would eventually turn the corner and give the Sedin-era Canucks a worthy opponent in the Northwest/Pacific Division. But no matter who was coaching, no matter who was in the general manager seat and no matter which generational talent the Oilers drafted, they just kept losing. Sure, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have become two of the greatest players the game has ever seen, but the franchise still only has one playoff appearance in the last 15 years to show for it.
And this year sure seems no different. The Oilers are plagued by a lot of the same problems that’ve been present the last decade and a half; inconsistent goaltending, a sluggish defensive core and a massive lack of depth, all of which has made me apprehensive about where this team belongs in the North Division. Couple it all with the long history of underperformance, and you’ll understand why Edmonton might never make it into the top three of these rankings. If they want to make it onto the podium, some consistency in the win column is the only way they’ll get there.
The Oilers have talked the talk for a very long time. I won’t believe they can walk the walk too until I see it.
1) Toronto Maple Leafs – ⬆️ 2
All this media in Toronto and we have a player on the quietest 13 game point streak ever.
2) Montreal Canadiens – ⬇️ 1
11 of our 20 points came from playing Vancouver and Ottawa, but we’re not worried at all! At all! *laughs nervously*
3) Calgary Flames – ⬆️ 4
Apparently we didn’t just take the Canucks’ free agents, we stole their reliance on Jacob Markstrom too.
4) Edmonton Oilers – ⬆️ 5
5) Winnipeg Jets – ⬇️ 3
It’s so great to finally have some roster stability and winning consistency aaaaaand it’s gone.
6) Ottawa Senators
We’d start checking out the 2021 Prospect Rankings, but this season…
7) Vancouver Canucks
All we needed to start winning games again was an insparational tweet thread from ownership and Loui “Empty Net” Eriksson! #ThankYouJim
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