Turnover

The idea that the Oilers need to make significant roster changes seems firmly ensconced in the minds of both the media and Oilers fans. One example is Adam Proteau's latest piece in the Edmonton Metro News:

What I will be fault [Oilers fans] for is continued faith this summer that the current group of Oilers management and players will guide them out of the muck and toward consistent Stanley Cup contention. Miss the playoffs one year, and perhaps you can blame bad luck for it. Miss the playoffs two straight years, and maybe you can add "key injuries" to the list of excuses as to why you just weren’t good enough. However, miss the playoffs three straight years, and you’ve officially got an overestimated collection of players on your hands. And no amount of text messages, tweets, or carrier pigeon notes sent by owner Darryl Katz can convince me otherwise.


A team that misses the playoffs three straight years without changes, is simply not good enough - that seems like a fair assertion to me. Proteau continues with his vision of the Oilers' work this summer:

Now, that’s not to say they should "blow it up" and start from scratch. Nevertheless, if at least 25 per cent of Edmonton’s roster hasn’t been reshaped significantly by the team’s next training camp, you can expect the Oilers to finish next season the same way they finished this year.


This is all based on a false premise, though - the notion that the Oilers who missed the playoffs this season are the same Oilers who missed the playoffs in 2006-07. Let's revisit that roster, and note how it's changed (players ranked by total points, only players with 10+ games included):




Ryan Smyth - gone
Petr Sykora - gone
Ales Hemsky
Shawn Horcoff
Jarret Stoll - gone
Raffi Torres - gone
Joffrey Lupul - gone
Fernando Pisani
Marc-Andre Bergeron - gone
Marty Reasoner - gone
Steve Staios
Patrick Thoreson - gone
Toby Petersen - gone
Daniel Tjarnqvist - gone
Marc-Antoine Pouliot
Jason Smith - gone
Ladislav Smid
Matt Greene - gone
Brad Winchester - gone
Jan Hejda - gone
Tom Gilbert
Peter Nedved - gone
Dwayne Roloson
Mathieu Roy - in the minors
Zack Stortini
Danny Syvret - gone
Bryan Young - gone
Jussi Markkanen - gone
Jean-Francois Jacques

So, of the 29 players to appear in more than 10 games with the Oilers in 2006-07, how many are not currently on the roster? 19.

That means that since 2006-07, 66% of the roster - two out of every three players - has been turned over. That's not just 25% change; that's 33% change every year! In other words, the idea that this Oilers team has been static and needs to change that pattern is manifestly false.

Of course, the Oilers will likely make significant roster changes this summer, but I'm not convinced that they are necessary - this is a team with a young, talented core that will continue to get better. I'm not arguing for the status quo, but I think some incremental change is probably the best course of action at this point. When 2 out of every 3 players are gone from a team in just two years, the time for massive overhauling should be over.

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