This has statistically been the worst October in 20 years for the Edmonton Oilers, who had current general manager Craig MacTavish taking faceoffs in his last season here before he was sent to the New York Rangers for an unknown college kid named Todd Marchant several months later.

Those Oilers started with a 2-10-1 record, just a hair better than the current 3-9-2 log of MacTavish’s team.

Present-day assistant coach Kelly Buchberger, goalie Bill Ranford, assistant captain Doug Weight and Jason Arnott were also on that team. It’s hard to fathom, with that cast, how they were that bad, losing eight straight games to close out the first month of the 1993-94 season. They finished 20 games under .500.

Is there a glimmer of hope for this year’s team after one month? MacTavish says there is and he doesn’t sound like he’s in denial.

He says he’s “as shocked as anybody” by the Oilers’ anemic record, but he’s not ready to make a trade today and regret it tomorrow just to pacify an angry audience. He knows the team has major blemishes and he knows he doesn’t have the right mix of players.

“I don’t see how making a bad trade helps anybody. Are we trying to do something to shore up the deficient areas? Absolutely. But I’m not doing something at all costs,” he said. “We’ve got significant pieces. Does the record really reflect the first 13 (14 games actually)? Everybody can draw their own conclusions there. And I’m drawing mine. I don’t think it’s reflective. We’re improving.”

But when big, nasty defenceman like Matt Greene, Robyn Regehr and Willie Mitchell kick butt for the Los Angeles Kings, it’s obviously an area MacTavish has to address. When six-foot-three, 210-pound James VanRiemsdyk goes to the net or Max Pacioretty, of similiar frame, does the same, this is certainly something the GM wants. He also needs somebody to grab the ball and run with it, hard, in net. Devan Dubnyk, presumably, but for all those Ryan Miller fans, Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier says there has been not one offer for the unrestricted free agent.