The Oilers are officially limping towards the finish line, after winning 3 straight the Oilers dropped back to down to – losing 4-1 to the Flyers, and 5-0 to the Capitals. It doesn’t get any better from here on out with a visit to Detroit tonight, in Pittsburgh on Sunday and finally returning home to play the Coyotes.
Sam Gagner is out for the season, he’s the latest Oiler to join the injured reserve after having surgery to repair a tendon in his hand. Sam was cut by a teammates skate during a 5-0 loss to Washington earlier in the week. This opens up a great opportunity for Andrew Cogliano, moving up the depth chart – becoming the number 2 center in Oil Country by default.
The time is now for Andrew, an expiring contract and impending RFA – needs a strong finish to the season for the Oilers to extend his contract. He’ll likely team up with Ryan Jones and Linus Omark on line two, he could even center the main power play unit.
The Oil dipped into the free agent college pool, signing 22 year old local product, defenceman Taylor Fadun out of Princeton University. He has spent the last four years in the NCAA with Princeton – previously playing with Spruce Grove & Fort Saskatchewan of the AJHL. He will report to Oklahoma City.
Now we turn to the draft lottery watch. The Oilers only scored 1 goal since my last article so it’s best to talk about something more positive – winning that all important 1st overall pick in this year’s draft. The Oilers are in the driver’s seat with a 3 point lead over Ottawa but the Senators have played one less game.
I took a look at both teams remaining games – making an educational guess as to how many points each team will end up with at the end of the season. I see the Oilers winning 4 out of their last 14 games, and losing a couple in OT – that’s 10 points to end the season with 27 wins & 64 points. From the Sens prospective I see 6 wins, and a couple of OT losses in their remaining 15 games – good for a 30 win season and 71 points.
Even though the Oilers have been overwhelming favorites to finish the season in 30th, the Avalanche continue to self-destruct – they are riding a horrendous streak to end the season losing 16 out of their last 17 games. I can’t recall the last time a team has struggled more mightily than these Avalanche have to end the season. The play-off races are intense, but the race to enter the draft lottery with the best odds is still up for grabs.