When will the Edmonton Oilers’ rebuild end? It certainly didn’t look like it was nearing its conclusion while the Kings cruised to a 6-1 victory Tuesday night.
Edmonton was missing some key players in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle tonight, but the Kings were without Marian Gaborik, Trevor Lewis, and defenseman Jake Muzzin, so it wasn’t like the Oilers were the only ones hurting. Sure, it was a game that featured the defending Stanley Cup champions, but Edmonton also gave up four or more goals in regulation to Calgary and Vancouver in its previous two contests.
Perhaps the most depressing part of this game for Oilers fans was seeing the heroics of the Kings’ young players. While Edmonton has endured a series of losing seasons in an attempt to build through the draft, Los Angeles has been able to have its cake and eat it too.
The Kings had the 30th overall pick in 2012 because they won the Stanley Cup and used it on Tanner Pearson, who had two goals and an assist tonight. We’re only three games into the season, but so far he’s arguably been the league’s top rookie.
His linemate Tyler Toffoli — a second round pick in 2010 — added a goal and an assist, including this shorthanded gem:
Along with Jeff Carter, Toffoli and Pearson’s ‘That 70s line’ has been one of the best trios of the young season. Dustin Brown and Justin Williams also found the back of the net in the blowout.
Jonathan Quick came within a minute of earning a shutout, but Oilers forward Matt Hendricks managed to end his bid.
That goal might be seen by some as the silver lining for Edmonton tonight, but the bigger consolation is that the season has barely gotten started. There is still more than enough time for the Oilers to turn this around and have a respectable campaign, even if they haven’t had the start they were aiming for.