Talk about tough luck.
The one guy the Oilers can talk into signing a free agent contract this summer plays six games before spraining his shoulder in a fight. Now, Sheldon Souray is expected to be on the shelf for two weeks. What does this mean for Edmonton? It definitely reduces the chances its ghastly power play will get off the snide.
Who would have guessed on July 12, the day Souray signed with the Oilers, that as of late October the Montreal Canadiens would have the second-best power play in the league (26.8 percent) while the Oilers would be buried under every other team in the league in that category, having scored on just two of 40 chances.
Adding, well, injury to injury, the Oilers will also be without their other summer blueline addition, puck-mover Joni Pitkanen, for four weeks as he recovers from knee surgery.
For now, Edmonton will rely on Jarret Stoll and Denis Grebeshkov to provide offense from the point when it has the man-advantage. Nobody has a rocket quite like Souray’s from the top of the circle, but Stoll can certainly let it go with the best of them.
One thing the Oilers might consider is doing what Montreal did out of necessity; that is, make the power play more diverse. It doesn’t matter how hard a guy shoots the puck if teams anticipate the play and make sure it never gets to him. The Habs man-advantage strategy no longer revolves around setting one guy up for the big blast and the Oilers would do well to change up their approach, or at the very least, find new ways to tee it up for Stoll while he keeps Souray’s spot warm.