On Pat Quinn
The Edmonton Oilers finished last in the NHL. There are plenty of issues and its easy to blame Quin. But the roster he had plus given the injuries (Hemsky, Khabibulin, Souray particulary) I'm not sure many coaches would have done much better. You could also add that Gagner, Lubo, Staois, Grebs were hurt much of the year. I liked how OTC didnt rely on the vets, they sucked. Penner and Brule had good seasons and Smid might have if not for his inability to skate with his head up (cue the Hall is going to be Lindros discussion). You can make the argument that he may not be the best coach to lead the team going forward but not that he was the reason for the Oilers failures last season.
Hall vs Seguin
Taylor Hall is having an amazing Memorial Cup. My opinion on who the Oilers should draft has gone back and forth in the last couple months. I think its obvious to take the best player available and the only reason to consider Seguin is under the assumption that Hall and Seguin are equal players and that centers are more valuable than wingers. I believe this to be the case but that Hall is a better player. Oilers need a center to compliment Horcoff and Gagner but shouldn't pass up on Hall. That being said, the Oilers scouts are having a good run and I haven't seen either player enough to be a reliable source. Stu "Magnificant Bastard" MacGregor will get it right.
Is Malkin Available?
There are rumors out there that Pittsburgh may move Malkin to get some quality wingers to play with Crosby and Staal. Im with Jonathan Willis when he says there is no need to move Malkin". In the next 20 years, I wonder how many 23 year old Art Ross winning, Conn Smyth winning, Stanley Cup champs will be available. My guess is none. I'm all for an Oilers rebuild internally but if Malkin is truely available, I cant see why you wouldnt inquire.
When your so bad its good
Back in December I was pushing for a lottery pick as I'm sick finishing around 9th place for much of the past decade. This years team was bad, so bad it makes me wonder if it was part of the plan. There were so many obvious needs for this team which were not addressed the easiest to fix being a healthy goaltender once Khabibulin was injured and a center to help on the PK and who could win faceoffs. After failing to get Heatley, it almost seems like management decided to tank. I wont give the management team that much credit but the end result is promising.
The future is brighter
MPS and Eberle have had quality seasons and are a source of optimism for the Oilers. A young core of Gagner, MPS, Eberle and Hall or Seguin to go with Penner, Hemsky and Horcoff (who Im hoping will bounce back next season) should make forward a position of strenth for the Oilers. Like Derek Zona, I am also high on Teemu Hartikainen although admittedly not as much. All in all, I dont see the Oilers sucking much longer. We may not be a playoff team next year but if they can address the defense properly in the next year and have one of the young goaltenders step up the Oilers should be playoff bound in 2012. After 5 years off, we'd be long overdue.