The Edmonton Oilers as a whole have been extremely disappointing thus far in the 2013-14 NHL season. A season that started out with quite a bit of promise has ultimately yielded the same mediocre results, as the Oilers once again find themselves as one of the worst teams in the league.
There are quite a few reasons why Edmonton is in this familiar position. From poor goaltending to an overall lack of defensive prowess, should the Oilers continue at this pace they will once again find themselves in the lottery come draft time.
Here are the most disappointing Edmonton Oilers so far in 2013-14.
There hasn't been much to celebrate for Nail Yakupov this season.
Nail Yakupov’s 2013-14 season has been nothing short of disappointing for a variety of reasons, namely the circus that surrounded the former No. 1 draft pick and his agent Igor Larionov concerning Yakupov’s playing time and role with the Oilers.
Yakupov has struggled mightily under new coach Dallas Eakins, who to be fair has also struggled to properly utilize his system.
There have been glimpses of the offensive spark that Yakupov demonstrated last season, but they have been too few and far between.
The most disappointing aspect this season has been his abhorrent play in the defensive zone. Often Yakupov can be seen skating aimlessly in his own zone looking for a breakout pass instead of marking his man on the ice.
This has led to a miserable minus-17 rating and further questions about Yakupov’s future in Edmonton.
Devan Dubnyk is the biggest disappointment for the Oilers this season.
Devan Dubnyk has been nothing short of terrible this season in net for the Edmonton Oilers.
If there was a question of whether or not Dubnyk could shoulder the load as a true No. 1 goaltender in the NHL entering the season, the question has been answered with a resounding “No.”
It appears that Dubnyk has completely lost all of his confidence on the ice, as he has given up far too many “soft” goals.
Dubnyk's shaky play has also had a negative effect on the team as a whole because his teammates have little reason to believe the goaltender can keep the Oilers in a game.
Perhaps the Oilers expected too much from the signing of Andrew Ference.
Andrew Ference has been somewhat of a disappointment so far for Edmonton, and it’s mainly due to the fact that he was the only big defensive addition brought in during the summer.
Due to this fact, Ference was automatically assumed to be a top-line guy in Edmonton—a fact that highlights the team’s deficiencies rather than its strengths.
Ference is at best a third-pairing defenseman and the fact that he was named captain right after joining the team doesn’t really help the situation.
Ference may be doing and saying the right things off of the ice, but his play on the ice hasn’t really amounted to anything. At times Ference can often go unnoticed for large periods of time during games, which is a big problem for Edmonton.
The Oilers need Sam Gagner to step up his consistency.
Since suffering a broken jaw during a preseason game, Sam Gagner has had a tough time finding the consistency that made him one of the most reliable Oilers last season.
In 17 games, Gagner has only managed to net three goals and six assists for a subpar nine points. Beyond his lack of scoring touch, Gagner has struggled mightily in the faceoff circle, which has been a serious problem for the Oilers as a whole this season.
A 41.8 faceoff percentage is not good enough for a second-line center and Gagner will have to step it up sooner rather than later if he is to truly cement himself as a part of the Oilers future.