As one of the most storied clubs in the NHL, the Edmonton Oilers are in a mild state of disarray. For a team that holds such a positive reputation, their drop-off in performance over recent years means that the time for a new General Manager has arrived. Like many big clubs that stumble to find success, though, it’s easy to see that the Edmonton Oilers have found instability to be almost addictive. One could argue that for the last decade, they have been nothing like their true selves.
There is a need for immediate change at the club, but the immediacy of previous changes has meant that the cycle has continued. This time, it feels like the decision needs to be taken with a touch less pace and directness. As Bob Nicholson, the CEO of the Oilers Entertainment Group, and Vice Chair of the club said: “We have to look at all parts of this organization,”
And it’s 100% true: mass change is needed at various sections of the club. Despite a talented roster, the imbalance is easy to see and the lack of positive, clear decision making has long since held the club back from achieving its true potential. Interestingly, though, there appears to be a reticence to make too many big trades at the moment.
That might frustrate some fans, but it does make sense. For years, quick-hit trades have been made, with the long-term consequences often far outweighing the short-term benefits that it provides.
With Assistant General Manager Keith Gretzky set to take on more of an input into the club, the appointment of a new GM might just take a little longer. For a club too used to doing everything at the moment, this could be a good thing.
Star players such as Connor McDavid are set to enter their prime years, so it’s up to the Oilers to show their best talent – and their fans – that they have a long-term plan in place. This is a club that has to get its key decisions right – and if that takes a little time, it’s going to be worth it.