GM Dean Richter gives an honest view of the early season progress of his Edmonton Oilers after their first seven games on the new season.
I like to evaluate my teams in simple seven-game intervals. Winning most of these seven-game ‘series’ throughout the season should set the team up for a foray into the playoffs.
To start the season the Oilers have managed a respectable 5-2-0 record for 10 points. The Oilers in the mix at the top of what looks to be an ultra competitive Pacific division.
An early season bright spot is the Oilers team defence. The team has given up 16 GA for a 2.29 GAA which is near the top of both categories. The team’s commitment to the defensive side of the puck will need to continue in order to be successful.
If I had to single out one player over this seven-game stretch, it would be Zach Sanford. He has potted 4 goals to go along with a +6 rating. A fine performance from this bottom six forward.
An honorable mention should also go to Braden Holtby. His solid play has put him up into the top tier of goaltender stats thus far.
Although team defence has been great, the offence has been lackluster.
The goals have been spread around but there aren’t enough of them yet. Some of the higher rated players on the team need to discover their scoring touch after this slow start.
A player that has struggled offensively so far is Zach Werenski. We expect him to drive offense from the back end but he has had a slow start with no goals yet.
Two words – special teams.
The Oilers have been below average in both PP and PK which is not acceptable. If this team is to go anywhere they need to discover some chemistry on special teams. Finding the right combinations seems like witchcraft sometimes.