After the Oilers recent struggles the mainstream media guys have been quick to point out that the Oilers are still young and inexperienced (right) because they are only in the 3rd year of their rebuild (wrong).
That seems to be the accepted number around these parts. The Oilers are in year 3 of the Tambellini and Friends rebuild. Mark Spector brings it up all the time on his and Jason Gregor’s show. Here’s John Mackinnon referring to last year as “Year 2” of the Rebuild. The official story is that this is only year 3.
But how could that possibly be?
The Oilers have been bad for a long time. They have finished WELL out of the playoffs since the 2006-2007 season. That’s 6 years plus the 7th is looking like it will be without the 2nd season as well. That’s a pretty long consecutive stretch drafting high for a team to ONLY be in the 3rd year of a Rebuild. The guy leading the Oilers in scoring today (Point per game pace C Sam Gagner) was drafted at the beginning of that stretch, so it’s hard to say those early draft picks havent been integral to the Oilers youth movement.
I’m going to suggest that the Oilers are NOT in their 3rd year of the rebuild, but that they are not in year 7 either. I believe the Oilers attempted 2 rebuilds in the past 7 years and are currently in year 4 of Rebuild 2.0.
Rebuild 1.0 “Re-Loading”
The Oilers drafted 6th in 2007 to take Gagner who immediately played on a kid line for the Oilers at 18 years old. The year leading to his draft the club had famously parted ways with Oiler icon Ryan Smyth and they held THREE picks in the 1st round. But I guess that isnt “Rebuildy” enough for the MSM to count towards what’s happening right now in yeg. Lucky for the Oilers, I guess, that Gagner managed to be procured via the draft as a result of going with youth over experience even without being part of a rebuild.
So maybe 2007-2008 didnt have that classic “Rebuild” feel. You know, the feeling like you know your team is bad and you arent doing anything about it. The Oilers put out offer sheets on a couple of players and ultimately got Penner. That said they were still acquiring young players and finished 21st in the NHL. Oh, and they drafted some plug named Jordan in the 1st round. And yet this year is a year in which the rebuildologists state most definitely that the Oilers were not rebuilding because of the team’s lack of focus on the Draft. But just look at that team. Yes, Hemsky and and Horcoff are relied upon, but its youth everywhere else. The kid-line, the newly acquired RFA prize Penner, Garon over Roli, Tom Gilbert and Grebeshkov. Heck, Edmonton traded away their aging Captain that summer for Joni Pitakanen. The Oilers may have parted ways with most of their top Draft picks that year but they lost those picks to acquire good young players to feature in their lineup. It is not that the Oil werent “Rebuilding” and more that they were simply rebuilding via a different method than what would later be deemed “The Rebuild” by the MSM.
I remember it being called “Re-Loading” at the time. It wasnt a “Rebuild” it was a “Re-Load”. Horseshit. It was rebuilding, it just wasnt rebuilding strictly through the draft. The Oilers felt that they drafted high enough the year before and had enough pieces to acquire other young talents that would bring the Oilers back into contention. It was a mis-judgement but it was still rebuilding.
2008-2009 feels like a lost year. It was MacT’s final season as Head Coach, none of the youth that the team acquired made significant steps forward, and some were sent out having barely spent any time at all with the club. If the Oilers had been rebuilding since they sent Smyth away for Magic Beans then in 2008-2009 they stopped that and started acting like they were just a few guys away from making noise in the playoffs.
They acquired veteran puck mover Lubomir Visnovsk and traded a 2nd rounder for a couple weeks worth of Ales Kotalik. The Oilers also played a shell game with Carolina in which over the course of the year they lost both Pitkanen AND Cole, walking away from the table with only Patrick O’Sullivan to show for it.
If “Rebuilding” is as much an intention as it is the act of acquiring young players at the expense of winning then 2008-2009 really is a departure from what the Oilers had been doing before. The Winning never happened, the Oilers selected in the top 10 at the NHL entry draft (Paajarvi), but it is obvious that the goal was winning and youth was not the object of trade desires. This marks the end of Oilers Rebuild 1.0. It was an absolute failure of management, who had tried to force the rebuild to take only 3 years and never at any time admitted that they were even in a Rebuild.
Like some Clandestine Government agency the Oilers and their media puppets will “Deny, Deny, Deny” that they attempted a rebuild at all. Every single person you ask will stop you in your tracks and remind you that the word “Rebuild” wasnt uttered until Katz went on the Stauffer show and said it himself. Those, of course, are lies. The Oil most definitely were rebuilding before then, they just failed at it. Even though the Oilers have been terrible since they jettisoned Smyth to the Moon I cant in good faith claim they have been Rebuilding that whole time, but only because the Oilers have been so mismanaged that they sent their 1st rebuild attempt off the rails.
Rebuild 2.0 The Fall For Hall
The Fall for Hall in 09-10 was easily the most frustrating and soul crushing Hockey I’ve ever endured in my life. Eberle was probably ready but he was kept away, Ethan Moreau had begin his descent into madness, and it was a pick your poison between Ryan Potulny and Patrick O’Sullivan. But the biggest insult that we as Oiler fans are continuing to receive from that year is that the team’s Spin Doctors have convinced everyone it doesnt count towards the Rebuild.
Just count along with me: (1) Fall for Hall, (2) Losing Options For Nugent Hopkins, (3) Fail for Nail, (4) 2013 Breaking Knuckle Bones for Seth Jones. That’s 4 years, not 3, and yet somehow the Oilers and the MSM will have us believe that we are in the 3rd year of this Rebuild. Bullshit.
And what is the Crux of this argument that somehow we are only in year 3 of a rebuild? The only one ever provided was that the Rebuild didnt begin until Katz proclaimed it so, and that was halfway through the 09-10 Season. So it has been 3 Calendar years since Lord Katz decreed Ye Olde Rebuildde.
However, Sports doesnt count time the same way we count years, no matter what the Oilers management want us to believe. As far as Sports are concerned “Years” are counted in seasons played, and the Oilers are smack dab in the middle of season 4 of this rebuild.
By throwing up the White Flag in 09-10 the Oilers dubbed that season Year 1 of the Rebuild. It doesnt matter that Tambellini & Friends didnt plan that year as a Rebuild in the Summer of 2009. They made drastic mistakes in judgement that forced them to enter the Trade Deadline and Draft day as a Rebuilding club. If a General Manager’s 3 biggest days are July 1st, Trade Deadline, and Draft day then 2/3 of the biggest days of the year were done as a rebuilding franchise.
The Oilers Management learned from Rebuild 1.0 that a short turn around was unlikely for a top to bottom rebuild. The Oilers’ cupboards were bare at the AHL level and the NHL club was held together with thumbtacks and rubber bands. They needed more time to properly rebuild the Oilers. And while I completely agree with that assessment the Spin Doctoring that is going in to make the fans believe this is only year 3 of a rebuild serves only 1 purpose. All it does is buy this incompetent management group more time at the helm of the ship they steered into the rocks.
The Oilers arent in year 3 of the Rebuild. They are in year 4. They wanted to play meaningful games in March for 2 years in a Row and despite only starting the season in January they are in serious danger of failing on their stated goals again.
Dont let them buy more time with the false argument that it is only the 3rd year of this process. It isnt. It is year 4 and there were 3 bad years with high end drafting before that.
Dont let them Spin the Truth and re-write the Past as it conveniences them.