G82: Oilers @ Flames - Fin.
Well here we are, what began October 6th in Gothenberg Sweden against the Devils, will end tonight in Calgary, Alberta against the Flames. Tonight will be the last game of the season as for the 12th time in 13 seasons, the Oilers will miss the playoffs.
While there have been countless disappointing seasons played by Edmonton, this season strikes harder than others. Not only has Edmonton missed the post-season, but their organization remains in complete disarray. We have no clue who the coach will be next season, or the GM, or who else will or won't be employed. The holes and issues with the roster are well known but the solutions will be tougher to come by due to a lack of tradeable assets and limited cap space.
For the players on the team right now none of that matters to them. Tonight they will be focused on playing a strong game against Calgary and potentially, have the chance to give one of their own a great personal victory.
I would like to take a moment to thank all of you for reading my blogs over this past season. It has been a pleasure to write for HockeyBuzz over this past year and I am looking forward to continuing to write for you all through the summer and beyond. I hope you will all continue to enjoy my wit, sarcasm and writing style you have come to see over this year. There are going to be some great times ahead Oilers fans!
Draisaitl – McDavid – Kassian
Lucic – RNH – Rattie
Rieder – Cave – Chiasson
Gambardella – Gagner – Currie
Klefbom – Larsson
Nurse – Russell
Sekera – Benning
Gaudreau – Ryan – Czarnik
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Dube – Jankowski – Neal
Mangiapane – Quine – Hathaway
Fantenberg – Andersson
Valimaki – Stone
Kylington – Prout
4 KEYS TO VICTORY
1) L50N. It seemed unlikely that Leon Draisaitl was going to have a real chance to hit the 50 goal mark but now he needs only one more goal to reach that impressive feat. The last Edmonton Oilers player to score 50 goals were Gretzky and Kurri in 1987. Against the Sharks every time Draisaitl was on the ice, players were trying to feed him the puck. You can bet we will see the same tonight.
2) Gaudreau For 100. Johnny Gaudreau is closing in on 100 points himself and needs only 2 more points to hit that number. While Calgary should probably want to ensure they are prepared for their first playoff series, you can also bet their players want to see Johnny hit the 100 point mark. Maybe a deal can be struck between Leon and Johnny?
3) Gio for Norris. At the beginning of the year I brought up the risks of trading Dougie Hamilton and relying on GIordano to anchor a top pairing due to his age. The 35 year old defender responded with a Norris worthy season, scoring 74 points through 77 games and has not looked like he has slowed down an inch. Oilers fans might have a hard time giving props to players from the rival team but Mark Giordano is a brilliant player and deserves huge recognition for his work.
4) End On A High Note. One of the big areas that will be discussed over the summer is the Edmonton Oilers goaltending situation. Mikko Koskinen has gone from being a huge risk for an NHL deal, to a strong backup option, to potentially looking like a starter, to once again being questioned if he belongs in the NHL. One game will not erase the poor games he has played over the last month, but it could at least give the big man some confidence going into his work in the off-season.