As the Edmonton Oilers limp towards the quarter point of the NHL season, general manager Peter Chiarelli was asked for a progress report on a team that had entered the year as a Stanley Cup favourite.

His answer: look at the standings.

“We’re in second-last in the (Western Conference), so it’s obviously not satisfactory,” Chiarelli said Friday at a general managers’ meeting in Montreal. “General takeaway is general disappointment. There’s your headline. But I do believe in the critical mass of the team and I do believe that we’re still in it.”

This hasn’t been the start expected of the Oilers. Most believed the team would build on the last season’s success, when Edmonton finished second in the Pacific Division with 103 points and then came within one win in the playoffs of reaching the conference final. Instead, the mountain-high expectations seem to be weighing down the young team.

After 19 games, the Oilers have more wins than only the Arizona Coyotes and Buffalo Sabres. Connor McDavid has nine goals and 22 points, but the rest of the players have looked slow, have had difficulty scoring and cannot seem to find any consistency in their play.

In particular, the off-season trade for Ryan Strome (three goals and eight points) hasn’t been a success; going the other way to the Islanders, Jordan Eberle has seven goals and 14 points.