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INBOX: Net Traffic

by Bob Stauffer / Edmonton Oilers
Every Monday, Oilers radio colour analyst and Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer answers questions submitted by fans about the team.
  1. Always is a lot of traffic in front of our net screening our goalies, allowing cheap goals and making our goalies look bad. Do we have the right mix of Dmen with the grit or moxy to help our goalies and make it very tough for opposition forwards to play in our end of the ice? It also seems that our forwards don't get those greasy type goals at the other end of the ice? Where is our overall team GRIT that other teams win with? Maybe we have too much of the wrong type of "skill" for the past few years? — David from Calgary, AB   

 
David,
 
The Oilers goaltenders, Ben Scrivens and Victor Fasth, would be the first to admit that they need to make more saves and have not provided the team in front of them with the type of consistency in goal that the club requires.

That being said, it is fair to say that the group as a whole has to play better overall team defence and the Oilers could use a “heavier” presence on the back end.

A couple of moves of late point to this.

After playing below 20 minutes for each of the first 20 games this season, Mark Fayne has now played 20+ minutes in each of the last four games. Fayne has been the Oilers steadiest defenceman and is capable of stopping the cycle and clearing out the front of the slot.

The recall of Oscar Klefbom has also given the Oilers a “heavier” option on defence.

As for the forwards, Jaromir Jagr recently made mention of the Oilers having too many similar, smaller skilled forwards. The Oilers are dead last in scoring the Western Conference, which is not helped by a 28th-ranked power play.

While the team has become a 50.0+ Corsi team, they are not scoring, a sign they are getting more shots, but perhaps too many from the perimeter.
 
  • Why is it that the Oilers cannot make any moves up the wing, despite the speed and talent we have? It's like they are always trying to force the middle and it just causes turnover after turnover. Do you think they can fix it? — Andrew from St. Albert, AB
     
    Andrew,
     
    To me it seems that some Oilers forwards refuse to chip and chase and are obstinate in their desire to carry the puck into the offensive zone off the rush, even when the opposition team is standing them up at the blue line. Some Oilers players do not “guarantee” pucks and as a result, the Oilers are often caught in transition.

    In all honesty, I also don’t think the Oilers are overly fast. They certainly don’t play a hard, fast game. Taylor Hall and Benoit Pouliot are fast wingers and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has a burst at centre. I think in time with improved footwork Leon Draisaitl could be a horse down the middle but as whole, I think the team only has average speed at best up front.
     
  • Why isn't the team acquiring anyone from the waiver-wire? — Les from White Rock, BC  

    Les,
     
    Claiming players off of the waiver wire is often about situational fit. In my opinion, the Oilers have a little more depth on the farm than in past years that would allow them to bypass waiver pick-ups and instead the team might want to look at their own internal candidates for promotion. Need a winger? Then maybe a Tyler Pitlick or Ilro Pakarinen makes sense. At centre Anton Lander or Bogdan Yakimov are in the mix. On defence Martin Marincin, Bran Hunt and down the road even Brandon Davidson might get a look.
  • Bob Stauffer is Colour Analyst on the Oilers Radio Network and Hosts “Oilers Now” each day Noon to 2:00 PM Monday thru Friday on 630 CHED and you can follow him on Twitter at @Bob_Stauffer
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