The Edmonton Oilers are going to miss the playoffs for the eighth consecutive season. Once again the team will try to clear out some veterans for more draft picks and prospects.
Forwards Ales Hemsky and Sam Gagner are two possibilities to move on down the trail, following defenseman Ladislav Smid and goalie Devan Dubnyk out the door.
This eternal rebuilding project grinds on. A once-proud franchise is once again waiting for next season.
But general manager Craig MacTavish is still happy with the state of his team under first-year coach Dallas Eakins.
“As unfortunate as the circumstances are, I’m optimistic in what I’m seeing and the culture of the organization now,” MacTavish told reporters in Edmonton this week. “The response from the players and I’m generally very happy with the effort of this group. I know there are better times ahead.
“I know it’s a shallow sentence at this point, but the line from the bottom to the top is seldom straight. We’ve taken some hits this year, but I’m pretty happy the last three or four weeks. There’s been some good structural improvement, some good individual growth.
“We’ve added some competitive players, something we set out to do at the start of the season. When I analyze where we are from the start of the season to now, I see some good signs.”