Club's future is floundering

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

EDMONTON -- Don't expect the cavalry to help the Edmonton Oilers out of this mess any time soon.

The struggles on the ice are not limited to the big club.

This is an organizational problem with every team flying under the Daryl Katz umbrella currently languishing near the bottom of the standings.

It doesn't bode well for the immediate future. Not when the cupboards are bare.

The Springfield Falcons are last in their division standings heading into the weekend's play.

They are eight games under .500 with little hope of making the playoffs.

Their top three scorers, Charles Linglet, Colton Fretter and Chad Wiseman aren't even Oilers property.

The Stockton Thunder aren't faring much better.

They're currently sixth out of eight teams in their conference and don't appear to have anybody ready to crack the Oilers lineup next season.

The Oilers' best prospect Jordan Eberle is playing junior hockey in Regina with the Pats as he sits third in WHL scoring. The Oilers' first pick -- 22nd overall -- in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft had 34 goals and 34 assists in 33 games heading into the weekend's play.

Eberle, 19, is expected to play with the Oilers next year, but he's unlikely to be the team's saviour. It remains to be seen if the Regina native can transfer that scoring prowess to the NHL level.

Sam Gagner collected 118 points as a 17-year-old in the Ontario Hockey League, but has yet to register more than 49 points at the NHL level.

The Oilers are also counting on Swedes Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson and Anton Lander.

The pair were both taken in last summer's NHL Entry Draft with Paajarvi-Svensson selected in the first round, 10th overall, and Lander 40th overall.

However, the two could still be a couple of years away from even making the team, much less making a meaningful contribution at the NHL level.

That leaves the Oilers and their fans banking on this summer's draft and possibly landing one of the top-three rated prospects in Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin and Cam Fowler.

Hall, a six-foot-one, 185-pound winger who plays with the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL, is the top-rated player in the draft.

The star of Canada's world junior team was second in league scoring to Seguin with 70 points in 40 games heading into the weekend.

Seguin, a six-foot-one, 180-pound centre, had 71 points heading into this weekend's play.

Fowler, at six-foot-two, 195 pounds, is the top-rated defenceman in the draft and was a big part of the gold- medal winning U.S. team at the world juniors this year.

The Oilers have never had a top-three pick in their history. Their highest pick was fourth overall in 1994, when they selected Jason Bonsignore.

DEREK.VANDIEST@SUNMEDIA.CA


Videos

Photos