In the midst of back-to-back games, the Pittsburgh Penguins (29-18-1) travel to Edmonton Thursday night for a matchup against the last place Edmonton Oilers who own the second worst record in the league.
From injuries to star winger Ales Hemsky, to under-achieving overpaid veterans and a new coaching staff that hasn’t been able to turn around the Oilers fortunes, it’s been clearly a year of disappointment for the Edmonton Oilers ( 16-24-5-37pts).
With Nikolai Khabibulin sidelined for months, the Oilers now lack a true NHL goaltender.
David Staples of the Edmonton Journal took the time on Wednesday to speak to DePaoli about the Oilers woes, former Penguin Ryan Stone (2003, 2nd round pick) and new head coach Pat Quinn who was under consideration last winter to replace former Penguins coach Michel Therrien.
Staples on the Oilers woes
“The Oilers have no NHL goalie, in that Jeff Deslauriers just can’t get the job done. He may be the weakest Oilers goalie I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been watching this team since 1972.”
“The Oilers also have all kinds of under-performing high paid veterans. Ethan Moreau, the captain, hasn’t been the same since an eye injury last season and is no longer an NHL-quality player. Sheldon Souray and Shawn Horcoff have both been injured and ineffective this year, and now Souray is making noise that he wants out of town.”
“The leadership of this team is in disarray and the young players look lost, as a result.”
“The management of the team is fixated on signing high-priced veterans, many of whom don’t want to be in Edmonton. It’s a “buy high” strategy, and it’s ended with the Oilers having one of the biggest payrolls in the NHL, yet one of the worst teams.”
“Fans are now calling out for a change, both in the veteran leadership of the team and in the manangement of the team.”
Staples on Ryan Stone, C
“Ryan Stone has been strong for the Oilers.”
“He’s not putting up official points, but like Cogliano, his hitting and screening is helping to create goals and he’s been solid on defence, just one goal-causing error. His +2 true/plus minus indicates a player who is getting it, and might just stick in the NHL for a few years. Needs to figure out how to score some goals, though.” –David Staples —
Originally drafted in the second round – 32 overall – by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Stone was acquired by the Oilers a year ago along with goaltender Dany Sabourin and a fourth-round pick for goaltender Mathieu Garon.
During his time in the Penguins organization, Stone was highly regarded as being a potential core role player but he failed to reach his potential in Pittsburgh after struggling to earn a roster spot out of training camp in 2008. The six-foot-two, 207-pound winger played a total of eight games for the big club over two seasons, recording an assist
In 26 games played for Edmonton, Stone has 6 assists and a +2 rating, including 46 penalty minutes.
Stone has been a physical presence for Edmonton after earning a surprise roster spot out of Edmonton’s training camp.
Staples on the new coaching staff
“The new coaching staff of Pat Quinn and Tom Renney hasn’t been taking flak. The moves they have made have seemed to make sense. Some players, such as Dustin Penner, Ryan Stone, Gilbert Brule, Andrew Cogliano and Tom Gilbert, appear to be taking major steps forward in their play under the new regime, and that has satisfied most fans.”