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Oilers coach Knoblauch behind the bench
Photo credit: Edmonton Journal

Oilers coach Knoblauch calls out depth players, stops just short of blaming goalie for loss

Published February 24, 2024 at 1:26 PM

Last night against the Minnesota Wild, the Edmonton Oilers turned to Calvin Pickard. Despite keeping them in the game at times, Pickard dropped the ball with two soft goals in the third period that led to the 4-3 loss. After the game, Coach Knoblauch stopped just short of blaming the goaltending for the loss. Calvin Pickard allowed 3 goals on just 19 shots, and really the Oilers just needed one more save.

According to Knoblauch, the result of this game fell more upon the Oilers depth players. Through their win streaks and extreme highs, their top two lines are still carrying a significant load of the offence. Knoblauch called out the depth players, clearly asking them for more contributions to the scoresheet.

»You would like a little more offence from throughout your lineup. Five-on-five, you would like little more contributions from everybody. Your top two lines, as good as they are, can't produce every single night.»

Looking for one extra goal and not seeing much from the bottom two lines, Knoblauch began double shifting McDavid and Draisaitl, something he's almost never done as coach yet. That being said, it becomes necessary when trying to win games and the bottom six isn't driving play.

While imploring the bottom-six to produce more offence, it doesn't make sense then that Knoblauch is continually scratching Sam Gagner in favour of Connor Brown and Mattias Janmark. Both forwards, especially Brown, have been offensive black holes this year, and Gagner's been very successful in limited minutes. Knoblauch's comments here may be indicative of the Oilers' direction at the trade deadline to acquire more scoring, but at least for now, there's a valid replacement in the wings in Sam Gagner.
February 24   |   585 answers
Oilers coach Knoblauch calls out depth players, stops just short of blaming goalie for loss

Should Sam Gagner be a regular in the lineup?

Yes, he's proven to be effective31453.7 %
No, he's too old and not what we need11920.3 %
Get rid of Connor Brown already15226 %
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