And with a nonchalant statement the Oilers’ seemingly never ending rebuild was over.
Dallas Eakins, the Head Coach of the Edmonton Oilers for all of about 18 minutes, made a simple, straightforward statement that let the Oilers faithful know, the Rebuild is over. He said:
We are not Rebuilding, we are not a young team, we are not trying to get by.
With that, the Rebuild, which some can plausibly argue has been going on since 2007, is over.
The Oilers have been building their core almost exclusively through the draft since 2007, losing more than winning and reaping the benefits in June. Gagner in 2007, Eberle in 2008, Paajarvi (Now Perron via Trade) in 2009, Hall and Marincin in 2010, RNH and Klefbom in 2011, Yak in 2012, and Nurse in 2013.
During those years, but especially from 2010 to 2013 the mandate was to teach the kids how to play at the NHL level as much as it was to try and win. Poor Tom Renney was given the directive to play the kids no matter what. He was there to teach a team who had no business competing in the NHL how to do exactly that. For his troubles he was sacked by an incompetent GM who, himself, had no idea how to build a winner in the NHL.
Now Craig MacTavish has taken over and mopped up a mess of a lineup he didnt trust. There are no open spots for highly touted rookies like Oscar Klefbom. Surely in the Tambellini Era Dennis Grebeshkov, Anton Belov, and Philip Larsen would not have been extended contracts pushing out the young handsome Klefbom almost assuredly to the AHL. But those days are over.
The Oilers Rebuild is finished. The GM has no time to break in Rookies who dont earn their spots. The Coach is under no directive to be a babysitter to unprepared kids. The time to win is now.