Not sure where this rant will end up but I just want to share my feeling on what I think could be one of the Oilers issues and it goes back to the old adage that 'Size does Matter'.
I was looking at the Oilers first round draft picks since around 2001 and something was apparent to me...the Oilers draft smaller forwards then most teams. I came to this conclusion without even looking at the other teams in the NHL and their drafts so I though to myself, "naw, that can't be"..so I did some research.
Oilers biggest first round forward that has been drafter in the last 10 years and is still somewhere in the Oilers system, are you ready for this...Taylor Hall at 6'1" and 194lbs on draft day which is a pretty good size for a NHLer but the Oilers have 5 other guys with the big club that are smaller and playing...I know the Oilers have many players in the system that are bigger but the first round is where you get most of the talent..right?
To expand on this the here are the Oilers other first round forwards, drafted by the Oil and with them currently: Hemsky at a whopping 6'0" and 185lbs, Eberle was 6'0" and 180lbs draft day and is now 5'11" and 180lbs, The Nug was 6'0 and 171lbs at the draft and is now 6'1" and 180lbs...maybe needs to add another 20lbs, Sammy G was 5'11" 191 lbs and is now 204lbs and Yakker is 5'11" and 185lbs.
Now there is a ton of talent here there is no doubt about that these guys are young and will gain size and strength over the years but a bit of size would certainly help create some space for these guys who are getting smothered by 6'4", 240lb D-men.
The forwards drafted that are no longer with the Oilers...Paajarvi was 6'1" and 200lbs, Cog's was 5'10" and 188lbs, Marc-Antoine Pouliot was 6'2" 193 lbs, Jesse Niinimaki was 6'2" and 183lbs and never played in the NHL...
I know I am repeating myself but the guy in charge for most of theses years...Mr. Kevin Lowe.
It's great to have a team that shows compete and plays every second of every game but if you are under 200lbs in the NHL and have people leaning on you night after night that are 10, 20 or even 40lbs heavier then you its going to be a lot more difficult on you and easier on them when you try and push back. Not that a first line of your team had to be giants but it would help.
Just to back up some of my rant I checked out 8 other NHL teams to see what they have done for the decade plus. Ducks, Leafs, Bruins, Hawks, Avs, Preds, Canucks and the Sens have all seen recent success and over the last decade plus have drafted a total of 59 first round forwards. Out of those 59 forwards there were only 8 players under 6 foot tall. (Matt Duchene and Patrick Kane were two of these eight)
Leafs, Ducks and Preds drafted no one under 6 foot tall.