We asked you to order the Oilers' priorities. Here's what you said. 1. Play Scrivens until he’s out of gas to see what he's made of 2. Deal Sam Gagner 3. Make a bold move — Deal one of the young, core players 4. Find a way to compete in the Pacific Division 5. Bring up a bunch of OKC Barons — Oscar Klefbom, Tyler Pitlick, etc. — to give them a head start 6. Keep their first draft pick 7. Someone from the Oklahoma City Barons just needs to step up An eighth year out of the playoffs means another stretch drive to nowhere for the Edmonton Oilers. But while the points don’t matter, aside from determining draft-lottery positions, there are still some very important issues that need to be addressed and examined over the final six weeks of the season. With 22 games and a trade deadline left on the schedule, here are a few things to look for that might suggest the organization is moving in the right direction. 1. An Exhausted Ben Scrivens The Oilers need to play Scrivens until he’s out of gas. If there are 22 games left in the season, give him 18 starts. Let’s see what he’s got. By the time this season is over, the Oilers need to know for sure if he’s their guy going forward. None of this splitting the starts like they always did with Devan Dubnyk, who never played more than 47 games in a season for an Oilers management team that spent five years wondering what it had. The Oilers also need to let Scrivens, who’s a UFA this summer and just wants to be a starter somewhere, know that they are committed to him. If he’s for real, this is a huge piece of the puzzle going forward. If he’s not, at least they’ll know for sure. 2. A Better Fit For Sam Gagner Gagner is a very good player who still has some unexplored upside, but he simply isn’t the right fit for Edmonton, and vice versa. No team this small up the middle on the top two lines is going to succeed in the Pacific Division. MacT needs to take him aside and say “it’s not you, it’s us,” and give Gagner a chance to succeed in a more conducive environment. It sucks for Gagner because he’s been here a long time and is committed to the city and the team, but Andrew Cogliano didn’t want to leave, either, and he’s loving it in Anaheim now. Gagner needs the same opportunity — to play on a big team with big wingers who’ll give him more room to flourish. And the Oilers need to stop humming and hawing over whether Gagner is the guy and start searching hard for the big second-line centre who’s vital to their progress.
Oilers need to take a number of steps — sorry, Sam Gagner — to show they're on the right track
Edmonton Sun | Feb 20