Two months into the Oilers' season, the greatest hopes we had for our young guns saving us from our lonely position at the bottom of the heap have been dashed.
Sitting with just 14 points, only New Jersey and the New York Islanders can claim to be in more dire straights. It begs the question, what can the Oilers do to change things around?
I doubt there will be a coaching change. That's a personal observation. I haven't heard any rumors threatening Tom Renney's position with the club, but it's usually the coach that gets hit the hardest.
Seeing as we've seen three coaches in three years of poor point production, I'm starting to think it may not be a coaching issue.
Could a trade be a plausible alternative?
I think, ideally, Edmonton would love to see some new blood come in and fire something up. The question is, what do we have to give that we don't need ourselves? Anyone who would garner trade interest is desperately needed within the club.
Can't give up a young guy; the fans would scorn Steve Tambellini. At least I know I would. And it's time to invest in our future.
Can't give up Sheldon Souray, because no one wants him and he's prone to injuries (at least he seems prone to injuries within our system).
We may just have to get through the hard times again. Fans need to face reality: We're in our rebuilding years. I whole-heartedly believe that if we hadn't done so well in the 2006 playoffs, we may have been able to build faster. After all, 2006 was a fluke with average guys playing way, I mean way above their previously showcased skill level.
If we hadn't gone to Game 7 of the finals, we wouldn't have had inflated salaries based on two months of play. We would have had more money to invest in younger players and actual "stars" to hone the skills of our rookies.
Pittsburgh and Chicago had some tough times. I'm not saying we have someone like Sidney Crosby in our youth lineup, but with a couple years of top-five draft picks, we could definitely change the face and skill of our franchise.
Is it time to consider sending guys like Taylor Hall, Magnus Paajarvi and Jordan Eberle back down to the minors?
I understand why we want them playing in the big league. It brings in fans, it gives them some ice time and allows them to get used to playing against top quality players.
However, I wonder if there's merit to this argument: At some point, does all the losing affect how they view their abilities and really decrease their confidence? Especially when they're being touted as the saviours of the franchise?
If we aren't winning, I can imagine the pressure from the franchise and the city of Edmonton must be somewhat overwhelming for guys who should be deciding what to major in at university and not what to buy first with their million-dollar salaries.
I like the idea of letting them play on the farm team to boost their egos. However, if we send them down, who do we bring up? I'm pretty sure the average experience exhibited by players on our team is already pretty low.
It's going to be a long, tough year. Fans are just going to have to tough it out.