When we lost Rob Daum and hired Kelly Buchberger, there was some worry from the Oilers fanbase that the team was hiring all defensive guys while trying to build and all offense type of team. We felt the PP might suffer. Though elements of that worry were right, it actually turned out it was the defense that ended up suffering. Though things are starting to click in Oil Country and the team is starting to play better, I still think we need to get past the lucky 4-0 start and get back to thinking of ways to improve the team's performance on the ice. Offense and defense are intricately connected and here's why:
If a team consistently fails to gain the offensive zone, loses the puck near the blue line, or can't get a cycle going in the opposition zone, you will end up getting outshot every game. This is especially if you play every D-zone situation as if it were a penalty kill because you're having trouble leaving the zone.
So far Souray, Visnovsky, and Grebeshkov have done amiable jobs at floating the powerplay. But for a team that has over 10 million committed to special teams specialists, our team deserves better. That's why I propose...
It's time to hire Denis Savard as an assistant coach.
That's right, Denis Savard. I think the Edmonton Oilers under Daryl Katz are past days of the old boys club as evidenced by the hiring of Steve Tambellini. Denis Savard has spent a lifetime playing and coaching offense, and he did a great job bringing up the kids in Chicago last year.
Of course while MacT has a pretty good resume with developing diamonds in the rough (Brodziak, Stortini, Nilsson), he has also been known to do some roughing of diamonds in the clear (Schremp, Conklin, Rita). You could also argue that Savard's reputation was helped out by two wonderkids named Toews and Kane - but that's besides the point. If you asked someone at this point last year who would be better - Kane or Stamkos, they would've chosen Stamkos. Steve Stamkos got his first point of the season last night. And for some players it takes them longer than others. Joe Thornton, Ales Hemsky, and guys like David Vyborny took a while to live up to expectations, so developing Toews and Kane were no guarantees.
But prospect development is more in the realm of Pendergast and Truitt's responsibilities. I prefer Savard as a PP and offensive specialist and I think he would add a touch of perspective and offensive flair to this all "Oilers glory days" bench-crew.