With the Oilers victory last night over the LA Kings the team moved one point behind the San Jose Sharks for the lead in the Pacific Division. Edmonton is also 4th in the Western Conference and owns a +10 goal differential (108 for and 98 against). The team is showing that they can compete with teams who owned them in recent memory (Arizona, LA, etc.). It is fair to say that the Oilers are finishing their most successful first half of the season in a long, long, time.
The team is bigger, meaner, and more balanced in terms of roster composition than they were during the dark ages after the 2006 cup run. They are strong down the middle, have a good starting goalie, and finally feature something actually resembling an NHL calibre defence. Of course drafting Connor McDavid is a huge plus and his presence can’t be undersold. Considering the change in the team’s fortunes how much can be attributed to general manager Peter Chiarelli? He brought in Lucic, Maroon, and Kassian to give the team size and nastiness up front. He brought in Talbot to stabilize the crease. Larsson and Russell have been either good or terrible additions on the backend given the philosophical subscription of the observer. Chiarelli also made some moves, like the Reinhart deal, which didn’t work out in the organization’s favour. He also traded Taylor Hall.
Which us to today’s poll question: