Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Oil Fire! Bait and Switch.

Brass and Vinny on the prowl.
In today's Columbus Dispatch Aaron Portzline offers up the current Edmonton Oilers as a model for team rebuilding.  Tank it for several years running, harvest those number one picks, and you have stocked your team with good talent.  Pittsburgh and Chicago are offered up as examples of teams that have done that successfully.

My point here is that while Edmonton is A model, its way too premature to say its a SUCCESSFUL model.  For all their recent number one picks, the Oil stand a whopping 9 points ahead of us in the standings.  The 2011-12 Oilers came out of the gate hot, only to have a pretty cataclysmic swoon.  Those Columbus Blue Jackets fans who followed the team in 2010-11 are fully aware of what a red hot start and a December swoon look like.

I don't want to belabor this much more than to point out that the Edmonton model has yet to result in any banners hanging from the rafters.  And since only 2 of all the big Pittsburgh picks are on the ice at this point in 2011-12, its worth pointing out that one of them is a darn good goal tender, Marc-Andre Fleury.  Awesome goal tending goes a long way.  Don't we know it!  So now, in the Required Reading section, I refer you to two really good posts that go into this issue in much more detail, our own Rick here at the DBJ (and many other venues), and Jeff over at Ten Minute Misconduct, who have broken this whole thing down more thoroughly.

Don't get fooled by the flashing lights and the shiny mirrors.  The Oil still have to mature, and prove they can win consistently.  That may be just around the corner for them.  Or it may still be 5 years away.  They are VERY young.  In 2009-10 the CBJ piled the expectations on their youth, and were largely disappointed.  The Oils youth is top shelf.  Will they be able to handle those expectations?


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