Tha Sports Junkies 101

Lack of depth will doom Edmonton in playoffs

Jeff Wallace via Flickr


Missing consistent secondary scoring, solid backup goaltender will lead to early exit for Edmonton

With a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, the Edmonton Oilers will be heading back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This will mark the team’s first playoff appearance since 2006, where they lost the Stanley Cup in seven games to the Carolina Hurricanes.

In the 11 years between appearances, it has been rough ride for the Northern Alberta franchise. Since 2006, the Oilers have had four No. 1  overall picks, and only drafted outside of the top ten once.

The Oilers have finally broken out of their years of futility, at least for the time being. Top-five picks Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have brought the scoring touch the team has lacked. Cam Talbot has brought stability to a net that has been more of a revolving door than a five-star hotel.

But that is where the problems begin for the upstart team. Outside of McDavid and Draisaitl, and occasionally Patrick Maroon, there is a large gap in secondary scoring. Jordan Eberle and Milan Lucic have 45 and 43 points, respectively, but they have been streaky players all throughout the season. Also, 34 of their combined 88 points have come on the power play, leaving a hole in even strength points after the Oilers’ top two.

Goaltending has not been an issue for the Oilers this season, a result that has come as somewhat of a surprise. It was a matter of time before Talbot would nail down the crease. Talbot posted okay numbers last season (2.55 goals against average and .917 SV %), but he definitely made an improvement and has helped the playoff push.

While Talbot has been a key cog in the Oilers’ playoff wagon, he has started too many games. Through March 29, Talbot has started 68 games. If he is to start in the remaining regular season games, he will start a total of 74.

If the Oilers play in all four playoff rounds, assuming that Talbot will start the entire playoffs, then Talbot would be on pace to play over 90 games.

90+ games in seven months. That is a lot for a goaltender expected to be the starter for the foreseeable future.

The backup goaltender is not solidified either. Laurent Brossoit put up great numbers this season (1.99 GAA, .934 SV%), but he has only seen action in six games. He has only played 13 NHL games, and the numbers are not pretty. A 3-6-1 record with a 2.75 GAA and a .912 SV% are stats that cannot make Oilers fans feel at ease.

It is a nice season for the Oilers. Back to the playoffs and looking on the upswing is a nice change of pace from continuous top ten picks every summer.

But the lack of depth will be the death of the Oilers in the playoffs. Secondary scoring is not consistent enough to pick up the stars. Goaltending after Talbot would make any stomach churn.

These problems will lead to an early exit for Edmonton. Add the fact they may be the least postseason-experienced team in the West, and a first round exit looks likely.

No matter the finish, the offseason will be about adding a solid backup goaltender. Adding another middle-of-the-road forward would not hurt, though the team may hope on the quick development of last year’s first-round pick Jesse Puljujarvi instead.

For now, enjoy the playoffs Oilers fans. It has been a long time coming.