What’s wrong in Edmonton?
So what’s wrong?
I spoke with a team executive on an Eastern Conference team and this was his assessment:
- Aside from Jordan Eberle and Sam Gagner, who hasn’t played yet because of injury, he thought the team’s young forwards aren’t fully committed to becoming complete players. They’re not paying the price to play a 200-foot game. He said that’s especially noticeable on a team where the blue line, aside from Justin Schultz — whom he refers to as a “stud” — has “neither depth nor dimension.”
- He thought the Oilers were in “denial” about Devan Dubnyk, who he doesn’t believe has the goods to be a No. 1 netminder.
I disagree with the last assessment. I know Dubnyk is off to a rough start, but I thought last season he proved a lot, putting up a .920 save percentage — which was better than Kari Lehtonen, Marc-Andre Fleury, Ryan Miller, Jonas Hiller, Mike Smith, Pekka Rinne, Evgeni Nabokov, Niklas Backstrom and Cam Ward — on a team that couldn’t play defense, facing quality chance after quality chance.
I do wonder, however, what impact Edmonton’s pursuit of Cory Schneider the weekend of the NHL draft in June had on Dubnyk. Did it shake his confidence knowing the Oilers tried to trade for another starter?