Hey Edmonton Oilers Fans: Lay Off Jarret Stoll

Faiz-Ali VirjiCorrespondent IMarch 4, 2008

The grumblings in Oil Country (aka Edmonton Oilers fans) grew louder as trade deadline day neared:


This was the chorus many Oilers fans were singing to GM Kevin Lowe. People said Stoll is a terrible player and should be traded for whatever we can get. Fans said that he isn't as good as he seems, and that his one 68 point season in 2005-06 was a fluke. If Pronger wasn't there, he wouldn't have done as good.

The next season, Stoll notched 13 goals and 26 assists for 39 points in 51 games. What most people don't realize is that he was on pace for 21 goals and 42 assists for 63 points in an 82 game season. That's not too shabby when the team was on a steep decline.

The only problem was he got injured. He sustained a concussion after a hit from Andy Sutton of the Atlanta Thrashers, and was out for the season. He trained hard over the offseason so that he could come back this year and play at the level he knew he could.

At least, that's what everybody thought.

Stoll started the year slowly, scoring only four goals and 15 points in the first 39 games. It seemed he still hadn't completely recovered from the concussion, and was probably still a little scared to get his hands dirty in the game again.

He seemed turned it around in the new year, however, scoring four goals and eight points in 12 January games before the all-star break. He declined again, though, in February, only scoring six points in 12 games.

While his scoring may be down, his work in the face-off circle is still absolutely amazing. He has only had less than 50 percent in the faceoff circle in 24 games out of his 65, and only eight of those were below 40 percent, the average faceoff percentage in the NHL.

What people also don't recognize is his special teams contributions. The Oilers are ranked fourth in the NHL in penalty killing percentage, and Stoll is a huge part of that. He is also a big reason the Oilers powerplay has been rejuvenated.

Out of the Oilers' 44 power play goals, Stoll has scored six of them, good for second on the team behind Dustin Penner.

He gives the Oilers a legitimate shooter from the point, which they lost when Sheldon Souray went down with injury, who can also move the puck around and be creative, something Souray is not.

So while Stoll is not having the best of seasons points wise, he is still a major part of the Edmonton Oilers. And Oilers fans should not be so quick to throw him under the bus.

Everyone has their bad seasons, and Stoll is no different.

What people forget is that he is only 25 years old, and this is his fourth NHL season. Give him a couple of years, and I promise, you will not be disappointed.